Gun violence is taking a toll on Americans, resulting a dramatic increase in anxiety — and changes in behavior as a result — over the past 12 months, according to a recent study by Evolv Technology. The AI-based weapons detection security screening provider commissioned the study – Gun Violence in America: A Survey on Americans’ Anxiety – with market research firm Equation Research.
Key findings of the second-annual report include:
- 85% believe gun violence is a problem in America (vs. 78% in 2021)
- More than one-third believe it is likely they will encounter an active shooter in their lifetime (vs. 28% in 2021)
- Nearly 3 in 10 Americans have thought about moving [from their current home/location] out of fear of gun violence (vs. 12% in 2021)
- 22% believe they are more at risk of encountering an active shooter based on their religious affiliation (vs. 15.3% in 2021)
- Nearly half (47%) of gun owners say they are carrying their guns with them more today due to the increase in gun violence
- 1 in 5 non-gun-owning Americans say they plan to buy a gun; more than half indicating it’s as a result of America’s increase in gun violence
“We believe this research demonstrates that, as Americans, we are all suffering collectively,” said Peter George, CEO, Evolv Technology. “Rather than becoming numb to the rise in gun violence, people are reporting that their anxiety levels are on the rise – and impacting other areas of their lives. It is making them reconsider the way they live their lives.
“It’s imperative that we learn from these findings and identify ways to address these rising levels of fear so we can all live, work, learn and play safely – without paralyzing levels of anxiety.”
— Peter George, CEO, Evolv Technology
“The study shows increases in the number of people who have thought about moving and those who report higher levels of anxiety when they go to the movies and into a grocery store,” he continued. “It’s imperative that we learn from these findings and identify ways to address these rising levels of fear so we can all live, work, learn and play safely – without paralyzing levels of anxiety.”
Anxiety High Among Parents
- Following school shootings in Uvalde, Texas (May 2022) and Oxford, Michigan (November 2021), the research reveals that anxiety among people with children is high.
- Half of the households with children have considered homeschooling their children out of fear of gun violence
- 1 out of 2 have purchased, or are considering purchasing, “gun safety” materials, such as bulletproof backpacks
- Of those, 1 out of 4 did so because their children asked for them
- 3 out of 4 parents indicate that their child(ren) has some anxiety about school shootings
- 54% report their child(ren)’s anxiety has increased since 2020
Large Gatherings, Bars/Night Clubs Elicit Higher Anxiety
- The findings highlight that Americans are concerned about the risk of shootings in everyday locations, but for many, some places provoke higher levels of anxiety than others.
- Thirty-seven percent (37%) of Americans list “large gatherings” as the top answer when asked where they have increased anxiety as a result of gun violence and/or terrorist activity (vs. 31% in 2021)
- Americans report increased levels of extreme/moderate anxiety at the following everyday places:
- Bar/night club: 71% (vs. 68% in 2021)
- Work: 60% (vs. 53% in 2021)
- Places of worship: 60% (vs. 58% in 2021)
- Movie theater: 64% (vs. 61% in 2021)
Americans Willing To Do More For Safety
The pervasive feeling of anxiety and worry carries over into what Americans are willing to do in order to reduce the threat of a mass shooting. When asked whether they would be willing to go through extra steps [to reduce those threats] at everyday locations, such as the grocery store, workplace or movie theater, they answered:
- Go through weapons detection screening: 67% (vs. 57% in 2021)
- Have bags checked: 59% (vs. 46%)
- Check guns at the door: 48% (vs. 44%)
- Be patted down by a security professional: 46% (vs. 37%)
- Only 12% would not be willing to go through these extra steps (vs. 22% in 2021)
- 3 out of 4 report feeling safer at places that screen for and do not allow weapons inside
“When we conducted this research last year, we were surprised by the level of anxiety Americans are carrying around as a result of gun violence and the ways that anxiety has impacted behavior,” George continued. “My hope is that by shedding more light on the impact gun violence is having, we can continue finding ways to help Americans feel and be safer as they go about living their lives.”
Read the full report here.
Read the full article "Americans’ Anxiety About Gun Violence Is Impacting Behavior" on Facility Executive Magazine.