Most Americans think a mass shooting is very or somewhat likely to happen in their own community

Linley SandersData Journalist
May 18, 2023, 9:33 PM GMT+0

Most Americans have heard about the recent shooting at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas that resulted in the deaths of eight people and left others injured.

The latest Economist/YouGov poll shows that Americans have become especially conscious of the possibility of a mass shooting occurring in their own communities. Most Americans (59%) say a mass shooting is very or somewhat likely to happen in their own community in the future — including majorities of Democrats and Republicans, as well as gun owners and non-owners.

Roughly one in 10 U.S. adults (13%) say they have already been affected by a mass shooting in their own community. Democrats (20%) are more likely than Republicans (12%) and Independents (8%) to say a mass shooting has affected their community, and younger adults are more likely than older adults to report being affected.

In the wake of another mass shooting, more Americans now say it's important to protect people from gun violence (38%) than to preserve the right of people to own guns (15%); 44% say these are equally important priorities.

A majority of Americans want to make handgun laws more strict (57%) — with Democrats (79%) and Independents (52%) being more likely than Republicans (38%) to desire stricter laws. About one-quarter of Americans (24%) want laws around handgun sales to remain unchanged, and 12% think that they should be less strict.

— Carl Bialik and Taylor Orth contributed to this article

See the toplines and crosstabs from the Economist/YouGov poll conducted on May 13 - 16, 2023 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens.

Methodology: Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to November 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.

Image: Adobe Stock (Richard Johnson)

Explore more data & articles