1. In this study, only a few adults correctly identified the most frequent cause of firearm-related violent deaths.
2. A higher number of firearm-related suicides than homicides occurred in every U.S. state from 2014 to 2015.
Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)
Study Rundown: Media coverage and personal experience can vastly affect public perceptions related to frequency and causes of deaths due to firearms. The authors of this study aimed to evaluate public perceptions of firearm-related deaths. They postulated that increasing the accuracy of public perceptions related to violent deaths might increase safety within homes related to firearm possession and storage. Generally, they found that Americans underestimate the relative frequency of deaths caused by firearms. Limitations of this study included that the study data was taken from 2014 to 2015 and may not accurately reflect today’s media climate.
In-Depth [brief report]: The authors of this study utilized data from the National Firearms Survey to assess public perceptions of causes of death related to gun violence. They characterized survey respondents based on ability to correctly rank the frequency of violent death in their state by both intent and means of death. A total of 3811 survey respondents answered the question as to the most frequent cause of violent death. The authors observed that only 13.5% (95% CI, 11.5% to 15.8%) of U.S. adults in involved in the survey correctly identified suicide as the most common cause of violent death. Furthermore, 25.9% (CI, 23.2% to 28.8%) of participants correctly identified the most frequent intent of violent deaths involving firearms. The authors did not observe that correct responses related to participants’ firearm ownership status.
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