Experiences with gun-related incidents are common across the country, with about one in five adults saying that they have personally been threatened with a gun (21%) or had a family member killed by a gun, including by suicide (19%), finds a new KFF survey about Americans’ experiences with gun-related violence and incidents. One in six (17%) say they personally witnessed someone being shot.
Smaller shares say that they have shot a gun in self-defense (4%) or personally been injured by one (4%). In all, slightly more than half (54%) of all adults say they have a connection to at least one of these gun-related incidents.
Black adults (34%) are 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. They are also about twice as likely as White adults to say they witnessed someone being shot (31% v. 14%), with Hispanic adults in between (22%).
Among the public overall, the vast majority say they worry at least “sometimes” that they or someone in their family will become a victim of gun violence. This includes small but important shares who say they worry about it “every day” (8%) or “almost every day” (10%).
About a third of both Hispanic (33%) and Black (32%) adults say they worry daily or almost daily that a family member will become a victim of gun violence, three times the share of White adults (10%).
Parents of children under age 18 are more likely than other adults to say they worry daily or almost daily (24% v. 15%).
While most adults overall say they feel either “very” (41%) or “somewhat” (41%) safe from gun violence in their neighborhoods, significant shares say they feel “not too safe” (13%) or not safe at all (5%). One in six Black adults (17%) don’t feel at all safe in their neighborhoods, far greater than the share of White (2%) or Hispanic (9%) adults.
About four in 10 adults (41%), and a similar share of parents with children at home (44%), say that they live in a household with guns.
Among all adults with guns in their homes, three in four (75%) say that the guns are stored in ways that don’t reflect some common gun-safety practices.
Specifically, about half (52%) say that a gun in their home is stored in the same location as ammunition; more than four in 10 (44%) say that a gun is kept in an unlocked location; and more than third (36%) say that a gun is stored loaded.
Among parents in gun-owning households, about a third (32%) store a gun in an unlocked location, and the same share (32%) say a gun is stored loaded. Most (61%) store a gun in the same location as ammunition.
Small Shares Say Their Doctor or Child’s Pediatrician Talked to Them About Guns or Gun Safety
Amid a push for health professionals to treat gun safety as a public health issue, one in seven (14%) adults say that a health care provider has ever asked them if there were guns in their home, and 5% say that they talked about gun safety.
Among parents, a quarter (26%) say a pediatrician has ever asked them about guns in the home, and 8% say they talked about gun safety.
Designed and analyzed by public opinion researchers at KFF, the survey was conducted from March 14-23, 2023, online and by telephone among a nationally representative sample of 1,271 U.S. adults, in English and in Spanish. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the full sample. For results based on other subgroups, the margin of sampling error may be higher.