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What Can the Government Do to Make You Feel Safer?

We asked men and women on the street to tell us what the U.S. government could do to allay some of the fears they have.

In the wake of the terror attack in San Bernardino, California — as well as other attacks and shootings around the country and world — Americans have ideas about how the U.S. government could make them feel safer at home.

"If there was one thing the U.S. government could do to make me feel safer it would be to increase our budget for national defense," Texan Stephanie Casco, 24, said in New York's midtown. "The best defense is a strong defense, so that would make me feel safer every day."

President Obama touched on continued national defense efforts in his prime-time address Sunday, which laid out his plan to tackle the “broader threat of terrorism” and keep America safe, stating that the U.S. military will “continue to hunt down terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary” and that airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria will continue.

In the speech, the President pointed out that the face of terrorism has evolved from more large-scale attacks, like 9/11, to less complicated acts such as mass shootings, which blur the lines between hot political topics such as terrorism and gun control.

A recent MSNBC/Telemundo/Marist poll showed that 36 of Americans say a terrorist attack is their biggest worry, while 31 percent said it was gun violence in general. Another 17 percent said their biggest worry is being a victim of police brutality.

Kelly Harvell,24, from Brooklyn, N.Y., sympathizes with the complexities of fighting terrorist acts that are homegrown.

"I think to be honest they (the U.S. government) are doing the best they can. Unfortunately, I think with what’s going on in the world today a lot of it, especially in the U.S., is becoming more internal," she said.

The question of terrorist attacks committed by U.S. citizens raises the question of how much the U.S. government should focus its efforts on issues at home versus abroad and how those efforts might affect second amendment rights.

“We’re not for everyone walking around carrying sidearms, that’s not going to do it, because the truth is if a vigilante wants to do you in, there’s nothing you can do to stop it.” Floridian Gilbert Cuadro, 61, said. “Sure, presence of police officers around is really a deterrent, no doubt about it, but the second thing in my mind is don’t restrict me from being able to protect myself as well.”

While the debate over gun control and Muslim immigrants has figured in both President Obama’s address on terror and the 2016 presidential debate, some Americans think perhaps the answer to their safety is not political at all.

“I think if the U.S. government would be accepting of more cultures and tell the world that this is a place for everybody then maybe more religious cultures wouldn’t hate us so much,” Constance Mims, 42, said. “And perhaps we wouldn’t have as much terrorism.”