1 in 5 U.S. adults say they’ve had a family member killed by a gun, new study finds

Nearly one in five American adults say they have had a family member who was killed by a gun, including suicides, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Roughly the same number (21%) said they have been personally threatened with a gun, the study found.

People of color were more likely to report witnessing gun violence or having family members who were killed by guns. More than one-third of Black adults said they had a family member who was killed by a gun, compared with 17% of White respondents and 18% of Hispanic adults who participated in the study.

Three in ten Black adults and one in five Hispanic adults said they had personally witnessed someone being shot, according to the study. A little more than one in five (22%) of Hispanic adults said they had seen someone being shot.

Black adults were also more likely to report feeling unsafe in their neighborhoods.

“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%),” KFF said in a statement announcing the results of the study. “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.”

Black (32%) and Hispanic adults (33%) were also a little more than three times more likely to report worrying daily or almost daily that a family member will become a victim of gun violence than White adults (10%).

The study found that 41% of all adults said they lived in a household with guns. Of those with guns in the home, 75% said the guns were “stored in ways that don’t reflect some common gun-safety practices,” KFF said. 

“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 a third (36%) say that a gun is stored loaded,” KFF said.


If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or a suicidal crisis, you can reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988. You can also chat with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline here.

For more information about mental health care resources and support, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. ET, at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email [email protected].


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