The Legal Effect of a Record of Delinquency Adjudication on Firearm Access: A Typology of State Statutes and Policies

33 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2023 Last revised: 8 Mar 2023

See all articles by Brett O. Gardner

Brett O. Gardner

University of Virginia School of Law

Richard J. Bonnie

University of Virginia School of Law

Katharine M. Janes

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Michele Easter

Duke University - Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Duke University School of Medicine

Jeffrey W. Swanson

Duke University - Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

Date Written: February 20, 2023

Abstract

Gun-related violence and suicide in the United States are serious public health problems that are concentrated among young adults, especially those under age 30. The small subgroup of young people with a history of juvenile delinquency and crime are at even higher risk of firearm injury and mortality, due to trauma experience, substance abuse, and other determinants of violence and self-injurious behavior that tend to correlate with early justice involvement. In this light, state policy makers have grappled with the question of whether, and to what extent, a record of juvenile crime or delinquency should restrict an adult’s legal eligibility to purchase and possess firearms. State laws vary widely in minimum age of lawful firearm access, types of juvenile offending that may preclude or delay such access, and available mechanisms to regain firearm access. This article presents an exploratory typology of state statutes clarifying the variation in legal approaches to this important problem and grouping states with similar laws affecting firearm access for juveniles who have been adjudicated delinquent or convicted of a crime. Associations between these patterns and relevant state characteristics are explored.

Keywords: gun-related violence, firearms, regulation, delinquency adjudication, juvenile mental health, state statutes

Suggested Citation

Gardner, Brett O. and Bonnie, Richard J. and Janes, Katharine M. and Easter, Michele and Swanson, Jeffrey W., The Legal Effect of a Record of Delinquency Adjudication on Firearm Access: A Typology of State Statutes and Policies (February 20, 2023). 55 Texas Tech Law Review, Forthcoming, Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2023-16, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4365099

Brett O. Gardner

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

Richard J. Bonnie (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

Katharine M. Janes

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ( email )

230 Park Ave.
New York, NY 10169
United States

Michele Easter

Duke University - Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences ( email )

8 Searle Center Drive
Durham, NC 27710
United States

Duke University School of Medicine ( email )

Jeffrey W. Swanson

Duke University - Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27715
United States

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