Experiences with gun-related incidents are common among U.S. adults. One in five (21%) say they have personally been threatened with a gun, a similar share (19%) say a family member was killed by a gun (including death by suicide), and nearly as many (17%) have personally witnessed someone being shot. Smaller shares have personally shot a gun in self-defense (4%) or been injured in a shooting (4%). In total, about half (54%) of all U.S. adults say they or a family member have ever had one of these experiences.
The number of children and teens killed by gunfire in the United States increased 50% between 2019 and 2021, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the latest annual mortality statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, there were 1,732 gun deaths among U.S. children and teens under the age of 18. By 2021, that figure had increased to 2,590.
The gun death rate among children and teens – a measure that adjusts for changes in the nation’s population – rose from 2.4 fatalities per 100,000 minor residents in 2019 to 3.5 per 100,000 two years later, a 46% increase.
Both the number and rate of children and teens killed by gunfire in 2021 were higher than at any point since at least 1999, the earliest year for which information about those younger than 18 is available in the CDC’s mortality database.