Aug 23, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Poll: 4 in 10 Americans fear being a victim of gun violence

People visit a memorial in Port Clinton Square where seven chairs hold pictures of the victims on July 10, 2022,

Visitors pause at a memorial for the victims of a mass fatal shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Ill. Photo: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A majority of Americans say gun violence is increasing and want stricter laws in place, per a poll by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Driving the news: 8 in 10 Americans said that gun violence is increasing in the U.S., with about two-thirds saying it's increasing in their state, the poll found. Less than half of respondents believe gun violence is increasing in their communities.

  • Three-fourths of Americans say gun violence is a major problem and 71% say gun laws should be stricter, per the poll.
  • 21% of Americans also say that either themselves, a family member or a close friend has had an experience with gun violence in the last five years — and twice as many, about 4 in 10 Americans, say it is likely they will be a victim of gun violence in the next five years.

The big picture: The poll was conducted between July 28 and Aug. 1, following a spate of deadly mass shootings, including at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, and a July 4 parade in Illinois.

  • The poll was also conducted after President Biden signed a bipartisan gun safety bill, which includes enhanced background checks for individuals under 21, funding for mental health and school safety and incentives for states to implement "red flag" laws, among other things.

State of play: "The poll highlights that gun violence has touched the lives of many Americans, especially Black and Hispanic Americans, and there is significant public concern about this," Jens Ludwig, a professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, said in a statement.

Methodology: The poll of 1,373 adults was conducted July 28-Aug. 1 NORC's probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is ±3.8 percentage points.

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