One in five Americans (19%) have experienced the trauma of losing a relative to gun violence, according to a new study.
The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) survey found that about the same number (21%) of US adults said they were personally threatened with a gun.
And one in six American adults (17%) have directly witnessed someone being shot, according to the survey.
The poll was released a day after five people were killed – including a close friend of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear – and nine others were injured when a Louisville bank employee armed with an AR-15-style rifle opened the fire at his workplace on Monday morning.
“Tommy Elliott helped build my law career, helped me become governor, gave me advice on how to be a good father,” Beshear said during a news conference Monday night. “He IS one of the people I talked to the most in the world and we very rarely talked about my work. He was an incredible friend ”.
The shooter, identified by police as Connor Sturgeon, 25, had told a friend before the attack that he wanted to “kill everyone”.
He legally purchased the weapon a week earlier and live-streamed the attack on his Instagram page, before being shot dead by officers. It was the 15th mass homicide in the United States in the first 100 days of 2023.
There have been at least 147 mass shootings so far this year, in which four or more people have been killed, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
A mass shooting at Nashville’s Covenant School last month that left three nine-year-old boys and three teachers dead also hit Tennessee Governor Bill Lee near his home.
Cynthia Peak, a 61-year-old substitute teacher killed in the March 27 attack, was a close friend of Mr. Lee’s wife Maria, the governor said.
“Maria woke up this morning without one of her best friends,” Mr. Lee said the next day, according to the Associated Press. Peak was supposed to have dinner with Ms. Lee the day she was killed, the governor added.
According to the KFF survey, one-third of black adults (34%) reported losing a family member to gun violence, double the number of whites (17%) or Hispanics (18%). The figure includes deaths from homicide and suicide.
After the latest shooting, UofL Health chief medical officer Jason Smith pleaded with lawmakers to take action to prevent further killings.
“For 15 years I have cared for victims of violence and gunshot wounds. And people say, “I’m tired,” but I’ll be honest, he’s more than tired. I’m tired,” Dr. Smith said.
Healthcare professionals have long insisted that gun violence be treated as a public health concern, a topic also covered in the KFF survey. About one in seven respondents (14%) said they were asked by a healthcare professional whether guns were kept in the home.
Four out of ten adults reported living in a household where firearms are stored.
The survey of 1,271 adults was conducted in English and Spanish from March 14 to 23.