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40 Percent Of Americans Know Someone Who Was Killed By A Gun

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 8/10/2015 Ariel Edwards-Levy
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Forty percent of Americans know someone who was fatally shot or who committed suicide using a gun, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll shows.

In 2013, 11,208 people were the victims of gun homicides, according to the CDC , while another 21,175 used a gun to kill themselves. Those numbers, however, may understate exactly how entrenched gun violence has become in American society -- and how widely its effects are felt.

Twenty-two percent of American adults say they personally know someone who was killed by another person with a gun, with 6 percent saying the victim was someone in their family.

Twenty-nine percent of American adults, meanwhile, know someone who used a gun to commit suicide, including 7 percent who said a family member had committed suicide that way.  

Both sets of results are pretty much consistent regardless of how old people are, which part of the country they live in, which political party they belong to or how much money they earn.

But they're not consistent when it comes to race. Forty-seven percent of black Americans say they know someone who was fatally shot by another person, and 19 percent have lost a family member. In comparison, just 18 percent of white Americans said they know a victim of gun violence, and just 3 percent have lost someone in their family.

Despite Americans' intimate familiarity with gun violence, and their tendency to overestimate rises in crimes, they generally underestimated the number of annual gun deaths in the country.

Asked how many people are killed by a gun in the U.S. each year, including murders, suicides and unintentional shootings, 48 percent of respondents weren't able to hazard a guess. Those who did largely undercounted the problem: the median response was just 5,000 people.

 Still, a majority of Americans, 55 percent, say gun violence presents a very serious problem, with 69 percent of those who knew a shooting victim calling it very serious.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Oct. 6-7 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here . More details on the polls' methodology are available here .

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov's reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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