One in Two Americans Are Worried About Gun Violence

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Need to Know from SafeWise
  • This weekend marks the ninth annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Gun violence prevention advocates will wear orange all weekend.
  • Monday is National SAFE Day, which recognizes household education around gun ownership and protection.
  • There have been 268 mass shootings in 2023, with 333 people killed and another 1,070 injured due to firearms.
  • Many lawmakers and gun rights organizations object to gun control and have focused on expanding firearm access.

Gun violence in the U.S. is a growing problem, with over 1 in 2 Americans telling SafeWise they are “highly concerned.” The worry comes as Americans witness over 12 mass shootings per week this year and try to make sense of shootings targeting random people across the country.

Gun violence does not just include mass shootings. “In the last year alone, we’ve lost more than 40,000 Americans to gun violence,” President Joe Biden (D) said in a National Gun Violence Awareness Day statement.

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The Pew Research Center found that 30% of U.S. adults own a gun, and 40% say they live in a household with a gun.

As gun ownership levels rise across the U.S., guns must be secured and stored safely. Nearly one in three households own a gun, and National SAFE Day encourages parents to discuss the dangers of firearms and ensure any gun in the house is kept secure.

Americans are worried about gun violence

Over 50% of Americans are “highly concerned” about gun violence in the U.S., with adults aged 35-54 the most concerned, according to a SafeWise survey for the annual State of Safety report. Last year, 40,000 Americans lost their lives to gun violence, and six states recorded over 30 mass shootings.

“I hear gunshots two to three times a week in my neighborhood,” a survey respondent from South Carolina told SafeWise, and nine out of 10 Americans expressed anxiety or fear about guns or gun violence. Nationwide, 1 in 10 survey respondents reported a personal experience with gun violence in the past year.

Teens and young adults reported the most experience with gun violence (17%). According to data from Sandy Hook Promise, one out of every 10 gun deaths is people 19 years old or younger, and “guns are the leading cause of death among American children and teens.

Gun violence continues to worry Americans, and the cause for concern is rising among respondents.

Lawmakers debate gun control

Federal lawmakers passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which closes the ‘boyfriend loophole’ and enhances background checks, among other things. However, state legislatures have proposed or passed over 1,700 bills in the past year to expand firearm access and limit gun control. 

Federal lawmakers like Representative Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D-Fla.) and Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) continue to advocate for strong gun violence prevention in the U.S. 

In the press release, Frost said, “Gun violence is a daily event in this country, so, at the federal level, we must work on this issue every single day until we end this epidemic and establish this as a national priority– an Office of Gun Violence Prevention is the right first step.”

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers insist that gun control measures won’t help and are promoting legislation to increase accessibility to guns. “We’re not looking at gun restriction laws in my administration right now,” Governor Bill Lee (R-Tenn.) said last year. “We can’t control what they do.”

However, gun violence has killed 333 people this year and injured over 1,000. In Tennessee, a mass shooting at an elementary school in March killed seven. Tennessee has a permit-less gun carry law and has proposed bills to arm teachers and allow college students to carry weapons.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) does not believe gun control measures work and says, “Criminals, by definition, do not obey the law. Gun control laws only affect law-abiding people who go through legal avenues to obtain firearms.” However, the shooters in Nashville, Buffalo, and Uvalde legally purchased the firearms used in the mass shootings that killed 38 people.

Since 2020, nine states have passed laws allowing the permit-less carry of handguns, bringing the total to half of U.S. states.

“That has been the most rapid expansion of gun rights at the state level that we have seen,” Jacob Charles, an associate professor specializing in firearms law at the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, told the New York Times.

Household gun safety

June 4 is National SAFE Day, which aims to educate households about gun ownership and protection. With one in three households having a firearm, it’s essential that the gun is stored safely and that family members—especially children—are educated about the danger of firearms. 

The Brooklynn Mae Mohler Foundation began National SAFE Day to recognize the life of 13-year-old Brooklynn, who was accidentally shot and killed by her friend when playing with a gun in 2013.

The foundation notes four ways to recognize National SAFE Day:

  • Secure all firearms in the home
  • Ask the question about unsecured guns in the homes your child visits
  • Frequently talk to your children about the dangers of firearms
  • Educate and Empower others to be SAFE

Household guns that are not properly stored have contributed to school shootings, suicides, and family members’ deaths, according to Sandy Hook Promise data. 

While many Americans keep firearms in their home for recreation or safety, it’s essential to always practice safe gun ownership.

Alex Kerai
Written by
Alex Kerai
Alex began writing for student newspapers and has managed to turn that into a career. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he wrote about small businesses for Biz2Credit and Before that, he spent time in communications for higher education institutions, created marketing materials for nonprofits, and worked for entertainment companies in Los Angeles. Today, he reports on emerging consumer trends and his work can be seen on The Penny Hoarder, SafeWise,,,,,,, and When he's not writing, Alex watches too much TV, plays guitar, reads and writes fiction, and goes on nature walks.

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