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The Knowledge Gap

Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Gun Violence in America?

Polls underscore a paradox when it comes to Americans and gun violence: Even before the horrors of Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas, surveys showed that mass shootings leave many of us feeling scared and concerned. But research also reveals a wide gap between the facts about guns in America and the public’s knowledge of the issue. In one October poll, less than 10 percent of Americans were able to answer seven out of 10 questions on gun violence correctly.

How much do you know about gun violence in America? Test your knowledge by taking our quick quiz below, then challenge your friends and family to do the same.

Please click here to take the quiz.
About how many people in America are shot each year?
1,000
10,000
50,000
100,000
An average of 115,000 people were shot each year from 2011 to 2015, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.
Of those shot in the United States annually, how many people are killed?
350
3,500
35,000
350,000
More than 38,000 people died by firearms in 2016, preliminary CDC reports indicate, and the rate of gun deaths increased to 12 per 100,000 people. In 2015, there were 36,000 gun fatalities, and about 33,500 annually from 2012 to 2014.
How many guns are there in the United States per 100 people?
8 guns per 100 people
32 guns per 100 people
88 guns per 100 people
175 guns per 100 people
With 88 per 100 people, the United States has more guns than any other country. Yemen, with 54.8 guns per 100 people, is second.
The number of guns in America has increased over the last 20 years.
True
False
There are an estimated 265 million firearms in American households, an increase of 70 million from two decades before, one survey found. In 2015, there were approximately 55 million gun owners, compared with approximately 44 million in 1994. But because of population increases, the share of Americans who owned guns over the same period actually dipped slightly, from 25 percent to 22 percent.
What is the most common type of firearm in America?
Handgun
Shotgun
Rifle
A recent survey estimated that 42 percent of all firearms were handguns, most of them acquired for self defense. That reflects a big shift: two decades ago, the most common gun owned by Americans was a hunting rifle.
What kind of firearms are most commonly used in homicides?
Handgun
Shotgun
Rifle
Handguns are used in homicides more than twice as often as other types of firearms, according to the Department of Justice.
What percentage of gun deaths are the result of mass shootings?
1.5%
15%
30%
50%
Mass shootings account for less than 1.2 percent of annual gun deaths, the New York Times estimates, using figures from the nonprofit, nonpartisan Gun Violence Archive.
Most gun deaths in the United States are homicides.
True
False
About a third of the 35,000 gun deaths recorded annually are homicides; 60% are suicides. Unintentional shootings make up another 1 percent.
About what percentage of reported suicide attempts carried out with a gun result in a death?
20%
40%
60%
80%
Suicide attempts by firearms have an 82.5 percent fatality rate, one study found. Guns are not the most common means of suicide attempt, but they result in more deaths than every other method combined.
About how many children are shot each day in America?
5
10
15
20
Nineteen children are shot in the United States every day. Three die, on average, a study released this year in the journal Pediatrics found.
Every gun buyer undergoes a background check, whether purchasing from a store or a private seller.
True
False
Federal law requires that gun buyers undergo a background check only when purchasing a weapon from a licensed firearms dealer. Fewer than 20 states require checks on sales between private parties. In an estimated 22 percent of gun transfers, the person acquiring the gun is not vetted by law enforcement, research shows.
Chicago has the highest homicide rate in America.
True
False
Chicago has the most homicides in raw numbers. But on a per-capita basis, the city’s homicide rate is lower than seven other cities, including New Orleans, St. Louis and Buffalo, New York.
Households with guns are more likely to experience a fatality from crime, accident or suicide than households without guns.
True
False
Polls show that a majority of Americans believe a gun makes a household safer, but crime and violent injury data suggest the opposite. One study found that, “For every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides.”
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