Record High Number of Americans Fear They'd Be a Victim of a Mass Shooting

Mass shootings in the United States seem to happen nearly weekly. In fact, by one count there have been 279 mass shootings in 2019 already. The tragedies are so frequent that Americans are bombarded by reports on television, the internet and radio. People have become so worried that almost half of Americans believe they will be victims.

A new poll from Gallup shows that fears have jumped over the past four years. People were asked, “How worried are you that you or someone in your family will become a victim of a mass shooting?” The number who answered “very worried” or “somewhat worried” totaled 48%. When the question was asked in 2017, the figure was 39%. Back in 2015, it was 38%.

The most recent poll was conducted from August 15 to 30. This was just after the Dayton and El Paso shootings. The 2017 poll was taken just after the Las Vegas shooting that killed 58 people. The 2015 poll was taken after the San Bernardino shooting, which took 14 lives. Here is a list of the deadliest mass shootings in the United States since Columbine.

The results were different based on gender, age and gun ownership. Fifty-eight percent of women were worried, compared to 38% of men. Fifty-four percent of people ages 18 to 34 were worried. Of those over 55, the figure was 44%. Among gun owners, the number was 30%, compared to 58% of people who do not own a gun.

Gallup researchers were surprised that so few people do what they can to protect themselves from shootings. Gallup lists these as follows:

  • Avoiding public places like stores, restaurants or churches
  • Avoiding events with large crowds, such as concerts, festivals or sporting events
  • Purchasing a gun or other weapon
  • Purchasing special products to protect them in the event of a mass shooting

Thirteen percent of those who were asked have purchased a gun. Twelve percent avoid places with large crowds. Only 6% avoid stores or buy protective devices.

Gallup’s takeaway is that as more mass shootings occur, Americans likely will take more precautions due to worry about their own safety. That will keep more people out of crowds and perhaps add to the number of gun owners in the United States.

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