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Age-specific Arrest Rate Trends
Q: What is the trend for age-specific arrest rates for weapons law violations?
A: Weapons law violation arrest rates in 2020 were below the rates in 1980 for juveniles and adults younger than age 30.
Note: 2020 was the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, which may have impacted policies, procedures, and data collection activities. Additionally, stay-at-home orders likely impacted the volume and type of law-violating behavior that came to the attention of law enforcement in 2020.
  • The peak year for juvenile weapons law violation arrest rates was 1994. Between 1980 and 1994, arrest rates for youth ages 15-17 increased an average of 148%. The rates increased considerably less for adults in their thirties. More specifically, the rates increased 16% for adults ages 30-34 and just 3% for those ages 35-39.
  • Between 1994 and 2020, weapons law violation arrest rates declined for all age groups, but the declines were somewhat greater for juveniles than for adults. More specifically, the rates dropped 82% for youth ages 15-17, compared with 50% for adults ages 18-24, 19% for those ages 25-29, and 5% for those ages 30-39.
  • Overall, weapons law violation arrest rates declined for all age groups between 1980 and 2020, but the declines were generally greater for juveniles than for young adults. The rates dropped an average of 56% for youth ages 15-17, while the rates fell 27% for young adults ages 18-20 and 11% for young adults ages 21-24.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: Released on July 08, 2022.

Data source: Arrest estimates for 1980-2014 developed by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and disseminated through "Arrest Data Analysis Tool." Online. Available from the BJS website.

Arrest estimates for 2020 developed by the National Center for Juvenile Justice based on the FBI’s 2020 Arrest Master File of 12-month reporting departments available from the Crime Data Explorer (, retrieved June 14, 2022).