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U.S. Youth Attitudes on Guns

July 25, 2023

More than 3,500 children and teens are shot and killed each year, 15,000 are shot and injured and an estimated 3 million are exposed to shootings (CDC, 2021; Everytown for Gun Safety, 2021a; Everytown for Gun Safety, 2021b). But there has been very little research exploring how young people feel about guns, what level of access they have to firearms and what shapes their attitudes toward gun ownership and gun violence. Given what we know about the nexus between gun violence and extremist ideologies (Everytown for Gun Safety, 2021c) and the staggering increase in gun sales during the COVID-19 pandemic (Miller, Zhang, & Azrael, 2021), understanding young people's views about the role of guns in society and their lives is of great importance.To explore these topics and more, Everytown for Gun Safety, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Polarization & Extremism Research & Innovation Lab (PERIL) came together to study youth attitudes through: 1) a mixed-methods coding and analysis of online gun-related content in order to assess prominent gun narratives; 2) a quantitative survey using a U.S. national sample of 4,156 youth aged 14-30 and 3) an ongoing (as of January 2023, n = 38) qualitative phase of focus groups/interviews with people aged 14-30 recruited from the survey. We asked more than 4,100 young Americans between the ages of 14 and 30 questions abouttheir access to guns, how safe they feel, their experiences with gun violence, their political views, the media they consume and how they think about male supremacy, racial resentment and the Second Amendment, among other topics. We are conducting ongoing focus groups to further explore how all of these attitudes combine to form the prism through which young people view our country's gun violence crisis.The result is the following report, which provides groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind insights into how young Americans think about and use guns and the ways in which some come to view guns as a "socially imaginable" (Blanchfield, 2022) solution to everyday grievances and frustrations.

Inside the Gun Shop: Firearms Dealers and their Impact

July 6, 2023

Illegal guns don't start out that way. Most firearms are produced by a licensed manufacturer and shipped to a licensed dealer. Nevertheless, some very quickly end up trafficked, used in crime, or in the hands of individuals prohibited from possessing a firearm. That means dealers play an important role in stopping the flow of guns from legal to illegal markets. Understanding who is licensed to manufacture and sell guns is vital to ensuring licensed gun dealers play their part in building safe communities.In 2022, there were nearly 78,000 licensed gun dealers in the United States—more than all McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, and Wendy's locations combined, and twice the number of US post offices. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is the federal agency charged with regulating licensed dealers and inspecting them for compliance with federal law. Though limited, the data that the ATF makes available about these dealers offers important insights. This report spells out the basic facts about licensed dealers and the relationship between these dealers and gun crimes. It concludes with a set of key legislative measures that, if enacted, would make vital contributions to improving public safety and reducing the supply of illegal guns.

Promising Approaches for Implementing Extreme Risk Laws: A Guide for Practitioners and Policymakers

May 30, 2023

Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) laws create an opportunity to intervene and prevent firearm violence when there are warning signs that an individual poses a risk of harm to self or others. While ERPO laws are relatively new, a growing body of research demonstrates the potential for these laws to prevent firearm violence, particularly firearm suicide, and multiple victim/mass shootings. Interest in ERPO laws has increased in recent years, with 16 states having enacted these laws between 2018 and 2023. Implementation varies widely across and within states. As a result of strong ERPO implementation efforts in some jurisdictions, more information is now available for state and local leaders about how to implement and adapt ERPO laws for their own communities. In addition, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022 included $750 million in new federal grant funding for states, some of which is designated to support ERPO implementation.To meet this moment, the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund and the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions have partnered to compile this guide of the best available practices and promising approaches to effective implementation of extreme risk laws. These recommendations are informed by conversations with individuals who are pioneering ERPO implementation, in addition to the best practices shared at a December 2022 convening of ERPO leaders from around the country.

Beyond Measure: Gun Violence Trauma

May 17, 2023

When we think about gun violence as a public health epidemic, we often think about the numbers: Every day in the United States, 120 people are killed with guns and more than 200 are shot and wounded. But what are the experiences behind these metrics? How do survivors and their communities cope in the aftermath of gun violence? What are the immediate and lasting impacts of trauma from gun violence? An understanding of these questions cannot be gained with numbers alone. Far less attention has been dedicated to understanding the experiences of gun violence on survivors. For this reason, this study fills a critical gap in research by focusing on trauma from gun violence by listening to the voices and experiences of those directly impacted.This report is divided into six sections. We discuss the aftermath of gun violence, the impacts of trauma on safety and fear, the ripple effects of gun violence and trauma in communities, support services to cope with trauma, post-traumatic growth, and recommendations to better support survivors of gun violence. We hope to honor the power of the voices of gun violence survivors by elevating their experiences, their stories, and their journeys.

At the Forefront of Gun Safety: Removing Illegal Guns

November 16, 2022

In February 2019, five people were shot and killed and six were wounded at their workplace in Aurora, IL. It was yet another horrific mass shooting in an endless saga of gun violence that has shocked the country—and it is also an instructive example about the limits and the promise of good policy. Indeed, in this case our system of laws nearly worked to prevent this tragedy. The killer was legally barred from having guns after a felony conviction. Illinois officials had been able to easily find that felony record and deny his application for a concealed carry permit in 2014. At the time, they even revoked the permit that allowed him to have guns in his home. But unfortunately the system failed to take the next step to remove any weapons he already possessed at home. The future shooter was never pressed by law enforcement to sell or otherwise get rid of his Smith & Wesson handgun. He remained armed, in violation of the law—and was able to kill five people several years later.After the shooting, Illinois officials took a close look at their suite of gun laws and highlighted what was needed: a strong program to protect the public by proactively tracking and confiscating illegal guns after a felony, a domestic violence conviction or restraining order, a long-term mental health commitment, or any other incident that bars a person from being armed. The legislature took action, and the Illinois governor signed a robust gun removal program into law in 2021. New York lawmakers followed suit in the summer of 2022, strengthening the Empire State's gold-standard policy.This paper, the first in an Everytown series of profiles of innovation in the gun violence prevention movement, details this groundbreaking policy. These gun removal programs, often based on "rap back" technology, build and capitalize on several other foundational laws. While gun violence continues to spike across the country, and even as some state lawmakers have endangered their constituents by repealing core laws regulating public carry, the growth in cutting-edge efforts like removal programs provides real hope about progress on new solutions to our intransigent gun violence problem.

Shooting Straight: What TV Stories Tell Us About Gun Safety, How These Depictions Affect Audiences, and How We Can Do Better

September 29, 2022

On average, 110 people are killed by guns every day in the United States, with Black Americans disproportionately impacted. Young Black men are 20 times more likely to be killed by a gun than young white men, and between 2019 and 2020, deaths by guns increased by 39.5% among Black people. In 2021, for the first time, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared gun violence a "serious public threat."Firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens, increasing by 29% from 2019 to 2020 alone. School shootings receive disproportionate media and policy attention and are a major source of fear, but 85% of child victims of gun homicide die in their homes, and over 80% of child gun suicides involve a gun owned by a family member. In addition, myths persist, such as the belief that gun violence is primarily caused by mental illness, or that a civilian "good guy" can intervene in an active shooting and save lives if they are allowed to carry a loaded gun.The prevalence and impact of gun violence in entertainment media has been the subject of extensive research. Little is known, however, about how often gun safety and prevention measures are portrayed or discussed, in what contexts, or the impact of such portrayals on audiences. To address this gap, the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center's Media Impact Project (MIP) conducted a research project with support from Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. This included:-A content analysis of popular, scripted television dramas from the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons.-An experimental study examining the impact of two major gun safety storylines on audiences' knowledge, beliefs, and policy support.

Gun Suicide in Cities: The Lesser-Known Side of City Gun Violence

September 8, 2022

Gun violence often looks different in cities than it does in rural areas. In particular, gun homicides are notably high in cities, with a rate 80 percent above the national average, and 130 percent above rural counties. Today especially, the nation is rightfully focused on addressing the rise in gun homicides that has plagued cities across the country since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the impact of gun violence on cities is larger than this narrow framing leads us to believe. Rates of people who die by gun suicide in cities are also on the rise, impacting far more diverse populations than ever before—but, until now, a dearth of city-level data on this topic leaves it often overlooked.The following analysis by Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund (Everytown) and New York University Grossman School of Medicine (NYU), uses new city-level data compiled and made publicly available on NYU's City Health Dashboard. While rural communities disproportionately experience high rates of people who die by gun suicide, this analysis unveils the unique and growing prevalence of gun suicides in cities and highlights the need to broaden the concept of city gun violence to recognize, prevent, and solve this pressing public health concern.

When the Shooting Stops: The Impact of Gun Violence on Survivors in America

February 3, 2022

This report is divided into five sections discussing bereavement and grief from gun death, healing after gun injuries, living in fear of gun violence, the impact of persistent gun violence, and recommendations for how to better support survivors and prevent violence.We strive to center the experiences of survivors, and through this work we hope to honor them by providing a deeper understanding of who they are, what they have experienced, and how we can better support them.

A More Complete Picture: The Contours of Gun Injury in the United States

November 2, 2021

Nonfatal gunshot wounds account for an enormous portion of the gun violence epidemic in America but they have not been an integral part of the conversation. This is, in part, because there is no centralized system for tracking nonfatal firearm injuries and no place to look up the number, type, and location of these injuries as a basis to analyze the data and use it to shape effective responses. Everytown has filled this critical gap with data and analysis using several federal datasets that are not readily available to the public.

How Can We Prevent Gun Violence in American Schools?

September 20, 2021

This fact sheet lays out research-backed approaches for creating safer schools and ending gun violence. School leaders and policymakers must cultivate school environments that foster openness and safety for all students. This includes supporting and implementing strong gun safety laws and school-based interventions that can work to intervene in problems before shootings happen.

Preventable Tragedies: Findings from the #NotAnAccident Index

August 30, 2021

This report provides a deeper understanding of where, when, and how unintentional child shootings occur. And while the statistics are deeply distressing, the report also outlines the clear, effective steps we can take to save children and teen lives. This includes secure gun storage practices, public awareness campaigns, and laws proven to reduce unintentional injuries and deaths. 

Armed Assembly: Guns, Demonstrations, and Political Violence in America

August 23, 2021

This collaboration between the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) and Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund (Everytown) presents quantitative research on demonstrations in the United States during the 18-month period from January 2020 through June 2021, documenting 560 events where demonstrators, counter-demonstrators, or other individuals or groups were present and carried or brandished firearms. While most demonstrations in the country have remained peaceful, analysis of the data reveals clear patterns and characteristics that raise the risk of violent or destructive activity during public gatherings, including easy access to firearms.