Apr 11, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Survey: 1 in 6 Americans have witnessed a shooting

Illustration of gun barrels getting longer forming an upward trending bar chart.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As gun violence remains on the uptick in the U.S., experiences with gun-related incidents are also rising, according to a KFF survey.

What they found: One in five U.S. adults said they've personally been threatened with a gun, and one in six have personally witnessed someone being shot, per the survey.

  • 19% of people reported that a family member was killed by a gun (including death by suicide).
  • In total, more than half (54%) of all U.S. adults said they or a family member have had such an experience with gun violence.
Credit: KFF

By the numbers: There were 20,200 gun violence related deaths last year, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive.

  • That’s up from 14,943 such deaths in 2018.
  • In 2023 so far, there have already been 11,653 deaths as a result of gun violence, per the archive.

Zoom in: People of color in the U.S. are disproportionately affected by gun-related injuries and deaths, as well as worries about gun violence, according to the survey.

  • 31% of Black adults said they have personally witnessed someone being shot, as did one-fifth of Hispanic adults (22%).
  • One-third of Black adults have a family member who was killed by a gun — that's twice as many as white adults.
  • One-third of Black adults (32%) and Hispanic adults (33%) said they worry either "every day," or "almost every day" about themselves or a loved one becoming a victim of gun violence. That compares to one in 10 white adults.

Of note: Gun deaths among America’s kids rose 50% in the last two years, according to a Pew Research Center report.

  • More children and teens were killed by guns in 2021 than in any year since 1999, the first year the CDC began tracking the data, Axios' Erica Pandey writes.

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