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1 in 5 adults in the U.S. have been threatened by guns, survey finds

Nearly 20% of the survey respondents also reported having family members who'd been killed by guns, including by suicide.

More than half of U.S. adults recently surveyed said they or a family member have experienced a gun-related incident, according to data published Tuesday by KFF, a nonprofit research organization formerly known as the Kaiser Family Foundation.

That includes "witnessing a shooting, being threatened by gun, or being injured or killed by a gun," KFF's report said.

Around 1 in 5 adults, or 21%, said they had personally been threatened by a gun, while 19% said they had a family member who was killed by a gun.

Of those surveyed, 17% said they had personally witnessed someone being shot.

The findings come amid a recent wave of gun violence in the U.S. On Monday, a gunman opened fire at the Old National Bank in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, killing at least five people and injuring nine others, authorities said.

Last week, six people — mostly minors — were shot when a high school senior skip day turned violent on a South Carolina beach. And six people, including three kids, were killed last month when a shooter entered a Christian school in Nashville and began firing.

There have been at least 145 mass shootings in the U.S. so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Within the first 24 days of 2023, the country saw at least 39 mass shootings.

The KFF survey found that 4% of adults reported being injured in a shooting.

Experiences with gun violence are especially common among people of color, the report showed.

"While many factors, such as income, education, age, gender, and where they live can play a role in people’s experiences with gun-related incidents and worries about gun violence, race and ethnicity consistently is one of the strongest demographic predictors of both," the authors of KFF's report wrote.

They added: "Larger shares of Black and Hispanic adults compared to white adults say they frequently worry about themselves or someone they love being a victim of gun violence."

According to KFF's survey, approximately one-third of Black and Hispanic adults said they worried daily or almost daily about themselves or a loved one being a victim of gun violence. By comparison, just 10% of white adults said the same.

Black and Hispanic adults were also more likely to have witnessed a shooting: 31% and 22%, respectively, compared to 14% of white adults. Black adults were twice as likely to report having a family member who was killed by a gun — 34% relative to 17% of white adults.

A vast majority of respondents, 84%, said they take "at least one precaution to protect themselves or their families from the possibility of gun violence," including talking to family members about gun safety.

Around 35% of those surveyed said they avoid places with large crowds, including music festivals, bars and clubs, to protect themselves and their loved ones from a risk of gun violence. Nearly a quarter said they’ve avoided public transit for the same reason.

Meanwhile, 29% said they bought a gun for protection from gun violence, while 44% said they have purchased a weapon other than a gun for that purpose — items such as a knife or pepper spray.

Around 41% of those surveyed said their household has a gun. Of that group, three-quarters said at least one gun in their house is "stored in the same location as ammunition, in an unlocked location, or loaded."