According to a new survey released by the Pew Research group, “44% of U.S. adults say they personally know someone who has been shot.” The survey revealed that almost half of U.S. adults know someone who has been either accidentally or purposely shot. Another quarter, (23%) reported that someone in their family, or they themselves, had “been threatened or intimidated by someone using a gun.”
The study found that most Americans have been exposed to guns. Whether they personally own one or not, 72% say they have fired a gun. Around two-thirds reported that at some point in their lives, they’d lived in a household where there was a gun.
The study also found that 36% of U.S. adults say they would consider owning a gun, while only 30% of adults responded that they couldn’t see themselves owning one.
Not surprisingly, the report found a partisan divide regarding gun ownership and policy, “and these differences remain even after controlling for gun ownership.”
According to the report: “Republican gun owners are much more resistant than Democratic gun owners to creating a database to track gun sales and banning assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines. On the flip side, Republicans are also more open to proposals that would expand gun rights. A prime example: 82% of Republican gun owners favor expanding concealed carry laws to more places, compared with 41% of their Democratic counterparts.”
Of those that reported that they personally knew someone who had been shot, the instances were highest in the black community, with 57% of black adults saying they know someone who has been shot. For white respondents, that number was 43% and for Hispanics, only 42%.
73% of black respondents say gun violence is a major issue in their communities. Only 44% of white respondents noted gun violence as a major issue.
The public is very divided over gun ownership. Around 35% think gun ownership leads to higher crime rates, and 33% said the opposite. 32% say it has no effect. The study did indicate that most American adults support stricter gun laws, with 89% agreeing that people with mental illnesses should not be able to purchase guns, 83% supporting a ban on firearm purchases for anyone on federal watchlists, and 84% supporting background checks for private gun sales and firearms shows.
Only 33% of gun owners feel that gun violence is “a very big problem,” compared to 59% of those that don’t own them seeing guns as an issue. Overall, 50% of Americans felt that guns are a problem.
The Pew survey polled 3,930 U.S. adults between March 13 to 27 and April 4 to 18, 2017. It has a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.
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