How Anxious Are Americans About Gun Violence?
From a shooting reported on the news to grieving a loved one gone too soon, many Americans have experienced the impacts of gun violence. It can take a severe toll on anyone, even if they are not directly affected. It’s why psychologists will study gun violence, and folks will be offered guidance by counselors for ages to come.
At CounselingPsychology.org, we understand the emotional impact gun violence can have, so we decided to learn which parts of the country experience the most concern. To determine this, we surveyed Americans in each state, asking them to rate their level of concern, along with several other questions regarding their experiences with gun violence.
- 39% of Americans think about gun violence weekly.
- Louisiana, Texas, and Alabama residents are most concerned about gun violence.
- Maine, Idaho, and West Virginia residents are least concerned about gun violence.
- New Orleans, LA, Albuquerque, NM, and New York, NY, residents have the highest level of concern about gun violence.
- Milwaukee, WI, Oklahoma City, OK, and Washington, D.C., residents have the lowest level of concern about gun violence.
- 1 in 5 Americans say they know a victim of gun violence.
- 85% of Americans don’t think the government is doing enough to prevent gun violence and mass shootings.
- Nearly 1 in 4 parents think about their child’s safety in terms of gun violence daily.
The States Most Concerned with Gun Violence
Fear and anxiety are common effects of gun violence. In our study, we asked respondents to rate their level of gun violence concern on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 marking the most concerned.
Coming in first with the highest level of concern on average is Louisiana, where 1 in 4 residents know a victim of gun violence. According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, Louisiana has experienced the most shootings per capita in the U.S. from 2014 to 2022, with about 263 per 100,000 residents.
The second is Texas, with a 7.46 out of 10 on the concern scale. Our study found that 93% of the Lone Star State's residents think the government has not done enough to prevent gun violence.
Following closely behind Texas is Alabama, with a 7.44 out of 10 on the gun violence concern scale. From 2014 to 2022, Alabama recorded the fourth most shootings per capita in the U.S., which may contribute to the higher level of concern among residents.
On the other end of the scale is Maine, with the lowest level of concern. We want to note that this survey was conducted before the events in Lewiston, Maine, on October 25, 2023. At the time of the study, however, residents of the Pine Tree State ranked their level of concern as 5.51 out of 10, on average.
The second for the least concerned is Idaho, where 1 in 12 residents say they never think about gun violence. Third is West Virginia, with a 5.61 out of 10 on the concern scale, where a majority of residents think about gun violence monthly, compared to the 39% of Americans who think about gun violence weekly.
The U.S. Cities With the Highest Level of Gun Violence Concern
Zooming in further, we wanted to examine which cities are most concerned. First is New Orleans, LA, with an 8.06 out of 10 on the concern scale. On average, 1 in 5 residents of the city think about gun violence daily.
The second is Albuquerque, NM, where the city has the highest percentage of residents who know a victim of gun violence. In third for concern is New York, NY, where 1 in 6 residents have experienced stress or anxiety due to gun violence.
For parents, gun violence can be an even scarier topic. Children are exposed to many dangerous things throughout their lives, and unfortunately, school shootings are an all-to-real fear for many parents across the country. As if school children didn’t have enough to worry about already. There is a dire need for more qualified school counselors.
As part of our study, we asked parents about their concerns and how or if they talked to their children about it. We found nearly 1 in 4 parents think daily about their child's safety in terms of gun violence. In addition, almost 2 in 5 parents say they have talked with their children about gun safety.
Some parents would prefer their child never to own a gun. Our study found that 40% of parents say they would oppose their child holding a gun once they reached a legal age to purchase one.
Parents may not be alone in the sentiment, though, as 4 in 10 Americans say they are less in support of gun ownership now due to recent gun violence in the U.S. Gun ownership can play a role in views, however, as Americans who currently own a gun are less concerned about gun violence in their city than those who do not own a gun.
Whether or not they have been personally impacted, many Americans still experience stress and anxiety when it comes to gun violence. While you may not have the ability to change gun laws, you can be there for those who have struggled due to gun violence through your career.
In this study, we surveyed Americans in every state to determine the level of anxiety across the country about gun violence. Survey questions included rating respondents’ level of concern regarding gun violence, if they have been impacted by gun violence, their views on how government officials have handled gun violence, and more.
To determine where Americans are most concerned with gun violence, we asked respondents to rank their concerns regarding their city and the U.S. on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most concerned. We then took the average ratings by state for each question. Finally, we took the average of the two scores together to calculate an overall level of concern.
In addition to the survey, we researched gun violence data over recent years to determine if there was any correlation between Americans’ level of concern and recent gun violence. States not included due to lack of responses include Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.
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