You shouldn’t have a gun until you are 25, research suggests.

When I was 16, some friends and I snuck out of school at lunchtime to go to McDonald’s on a rainy day. We had less than an hour to accomplish our mission, so I was rushing — and frustrated to find myself behind a slow-moving car. Even though I knew the treads on the tires on my dad’s sedan were worn, with all my six months’ experience on the road, I tried to pass on a two-lane road. We hydroplaned at 55 mph and hit an oncoming car. My dad’s car was totaled, as was the car we hit. Everyone was wearing seat belts, and remarkably, no one was severely injured, although my best friend’s head cracked the window, and I think I lost consciousness for a couple of minutes. But had things gone differently, my poor judgment and impulsive act could have killed several people. Whereas many of us know the dangers posed by young drivers, a key risk factor that has received too little in discussions of gun violence is age. People between the ages of 17 and 24 constitute just over a quarter of the population in the United States, but they commit more than 55 percent of the murders — and most use firearms. The pattern of murder offenses by age shows a clear arc: It rises sharply in the late teens, peaks between the ages of 20 and 24, and then begins to decline. There are developmental reasons people in their late teens and […]

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