ASPPH logo


Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Finds That Nearly Every American Will Know Victim of Gun Violence

Nearly all Americans are likely to know a victim of gun violence within their social networks during their lifetime, indicating that citizens are “closer to gun violence than they perceive,” according to a new study from Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) and Boston University School of Medicine.

In a study in the journal PreventiveMedicine, the research team used fatal and non-fatal gun injury data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and estimates of the number of social relationships a person accrues during his or her lifetime to gauge the likelihood of Americans knowing a gun violence victim.

Overall, the likelihood within any given personal network was 99.85 percent; it was higher for Blacks (99.9 percent) and Hispanics (99.5 percent) than for non-Hispanic Whites (97.1 percent). The likelihood of knowing a gun violence victim who died (rather than being injured) was 84.3 percent overall, with Blacks and non-Hispanic Whites having the highest likelihood.

“We found that the probability of never knowing someone who experiences gun violence over a lifetime is very small,” the authors wrote. “Leaving aside constitutional debates about approaches to controlling gun violence, it might inform our national conversation to recognize that nearly all Americans, of all racial/ethnic groups, will know a victim of gun violence in their social network.”

To read more about the study, go to: