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How Gun Violence Affects U.S. Families

April 11, 2023

About one in five American adults report that they had been personally threatened with a gun or had a family member killed by a gun, according to a national survey released today.

The latest report from the Kaiser Family Foundation focuses on Americans’ experiences with gun-related violence. The survey, conducted last month, tracks trends in gun-related incidents, as well as the public’s understanding of gun violence in the U.S.

“Despite the ubiquitous news of gun violence in this country and that so many people have experienced gun-related incidents, the public is largely unaware of the extent to which guns are responsible for the deaths of young people and the cause of death in many suicides,” the report notes.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Significant toll:  A majority (54%) of U.S. adults said they (or a family member) had at least some connection to a gun-related incident, such as witnessing a shooting, being threatened by gun, or being injured or killed by a gun.
  • Across demographics:  Black adults (34%) were about twice as likely as white (17%) or Hispanic (18%) adults to say that they have a family member who was killed by a gun.
    • About a third of Hispanic (33%) and Black (32%) adults say they worry daily or almost daily that a family member will become a victim of gun violence. For white adults, the rate (10%) was nearly three times lower.
  • Public health issue:  About 55 percent of the deaths in the country involving guns are suicides, per the CDC.
  • Safety concerns:  More than half (52%) of adults with guns in their home say that the gun is stored in the same location as ammunition.
    • More than four in 10 say that a gun is kept in an unlocked location, and 36 percent report that a gun is stored loaded.
  • Health care perspectives:  About 26 percent of parents reported a pediatrician had asked them about guns in the home, and 8 percent say they talked about gun safety.

The survey was conducted from March 14–23 among a representative sample of U.S. adults. The survey is available to review online.

Pennsylvania hospitals continue to focus on initiatives to address gun violence in their communities. This includes a commitment to hospital-based intervention programs that can make a difference and new approaches focused on prevention.