Sustainability Facts: New shocking statistics about guns and gun violence in the US

The February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sparked protests across the country. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

By Alliance President Terry Gips

A new shocking study released April 11 by authoritative Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) shared a long list of deeply disturbing survey findings about the widespread, horrific and deleterious health, psychological and entire way of life impacts from guns and gun violence in America. This is far and away the most comprehensive, damning evidence against guns. Please read it all, weep, share and join us in calling for action. Here’s the bottom line:

54% of US adults have either personally or had a family member who has been impacted by a gun-related incident, such as witnessing a shooting, being threatened by gun, or being injured or killed by a gun.

  • 21% of Americans say they have personally been threatened with a gun
  • 19% say a family member was killed by a gun (including death by suicide – About 55% of deaths in the US involving guns are suicides)
  • 17% have personally witnessed someone being shot
  • 4% have personally shot a gun in self-defense
  • 4% have been injured in a shooting
  • 54% of all U.S. adults say they or a family member have ever had one of these experiences.
  • Gun-related injuries and deaths, as well as worries about gun violence, disproportionately affect people of color in the US.
  • 31% of Black adults have personally witnessed someone being shot, as have 22% of Hispanic adults
  • 34% of Black adults have a family member who was killed by a gun, twice the 17% share of White adults who say the same
  • 32% of Black adults and 33% of Hispanic adults say they worry either “every day,” or “almost every day” about themselves or someone they love being a victim of gun violence (compared to one in ten White adults).
  • 20% of Black adults and 18% of Hispanic adults feel like gun-related crimes, deaths, and injuries are a “constant threat” to their local community, more than double the 8% among White adults
  • 84% of US adults say they have taken at least one precaution to protect themselves or their families from the possibility of gun violence, including 58% who have talked to their children or other family members about gun safety, and more than four in ten who have purchased a weapon other than a gun, such as a knife or pepper spray (44%), or attended a gun safety class or practiced shooting a gun (41%)
  • 35% have avoided large crowds, such as music festivals, or crowded bars and clubs to protect themselves or their families from the possibility of gun violence
  • 29% have purchased a gun to protect themselves or their family from the possibility of gun violence. 23% have avoided using public transit, 20% changed or considered changing the school that their child attends, 15% have avoided attending religious services, cultural events or celebrations and 15% have moved to a different neighborhood or city
  • 14% of adults say a doctor or other health care provider has asked if they own a gun or if there are guns in the home
  • 26% of parents with children under 18 say their child’s pediatrician has asked them about guns in the home
  • Only 5% of adults say a doctor or other health care provider has ever talked to them about gun safety
  • 41% of adults report living in a household with a gun with 52% of them saying there is at least one gun in their home stored in the same location as the ammunition (52%), 44% saying a gun is stored in an unlocked location, and 35% say a gun is stored loaded
  • 75% of adults living in households with guns say any of their guns are stored in one of these ways, representing 31% of overall adults
  • 44% of parents of children under age 18 say there is a gun in their household, with 32% saying a gun is stored loaded and 32% saying it is stored in an unlocked location
  • 61% of parents say any gun in their homes is stored in the same location as ammunition

If you’re upset by the above, you should also know that, “In the state of Kentucky, firearms confiscated by law enforcement CANNOT be destroyed, even if they’re used in heinous crimes,” as the NAACP points out. “Instead, the state auctions them off, putting these dangerous weapons back onto the streets. This is unacceptable and worsens the vicious cycle of gun violence and heartbreak. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. These deadly laws cannot stand. If extremist state lawmakers in Kentucky and beyond won’t put our lives ahead of their pro-gun agenda, it’s time to fight for nationwide change!”

Please join with the Alliance in Taking Action by signing the NAACP’s Petition to Congress calling for common sense legislation to address gun violence.

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