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U.S. National Attitudes Concerning Gun Carrying

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Publication Date: January 2001

Publisher(s): Injury Prevention

Author(s): David Hemenway, PhD; Deborah Azrael, MS; Matthew Miller, MD, MPH, ScD


Special Collection: The Joyce Foundation

Topic: Culture and religion (National characteristics)
Human rights (Human rights promotion and violations)
Social conditions (Safety and security)

Keywords: Gun Control; Public safety; Nation

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


Many state legislatures have passed laws making it easier for United States citizens to carry concealed firearms, not only on the street but into various locations, including churches and government buildings. This study reports on the results of random digit dial telephone surveys conducted in 1996 and 1999 that asked questions concerning the public's feelings of safety as more people in their community carry firearms, and whether respondents believe “regular” citizens should be allowed to carry guns into public or government buildings.
It finds that by a margin of 5 to 1, Americans feel less safe rather than more safe as more people in their community begin to carry guns. Also, by margins of at least 9 to 1, Americans do not believe that “regular” citizens should be allowed to bring their guns into restaurants, college campuses, sports stadiums, bars, hospitals, or government buildings.
Further, it concludes that the public believes that increased gun carrying by others reduces rather than increases their safety. Overwhelmingly, the public believes that in many venues gun carrying should be prohibited.