Only 11% Recognize That Largest Cause of Gun Deaths is Suicide

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of all gun-related deaths in the United States are the result of suicide. However, a national survey found that only 11% of voters recognize that most gun deaths are the result of suicide.

Forty-one percent (41%) of voters mistakenly believe gang violence results in more gun deaths than anything else. While gang violence takes a significant toll, it accounts for approximately one-out-of-five gun related deaths. That’s one-third the number of gun deaths by suicide (see question wording and crosstab results).

Twenty-seven percent (27%) mistakenly think mass shootings are the primary cause of gun deaths. While these shootings are horrific and receive a tremendous amount of coverage, they account for less than 1% of gun deaths each year.

This national survey of 999 Registered Voters was conducted August 12-13, 2018 for by HarrisX, a leading research company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology and the Demographic profile of our sample). The Margin of Error is +/- 3.1 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

Related data released earlier shows that 38% of voters believe background checks and waiting periods will significantly reduce the number of gun deaths. Additionally, 43% believe that permission from the government should be required before anybody can purchase a gun.

A column I wrote last year explained that, at its core, the debate about gun control is not about guns. Everyone agrees on the need to reduce gun violence. Ultimately, therefore, the gun debate is about trust. Those who defend the Second Amendment trust everyday Americans far more than they trust the government and government officials. The reverse is true for those who want to ban or strictly regulate guns.

This data is presented to further the mission of to enhance the public dialogue through data-driven analysis that explores the underlying currents of public opinion (read About Us). Receive the latest insights each day by signing up for Scott Rasmussen’s Morning Update

Neither Scott Rasmussen nor has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).

Posted in Poll Results

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