This page includes data about different facets of gun violence in America, as well as valuable resources Everytown can provide for showrunners, producers, directors and other media content creators, during all stages of production—from the early writing and development stages through post-production and final promotion.
Since our founding, Everytown for Gun Safety has worked closely with the creative community to harness its power to take the message of gun safety and responsibility to bigger audiences and bring even more Americans into the gun violence prevention movement.
The data and resources gathered here are intended to be used by showrunners, writers, directors, producers along with other creators to inform your storytelling work, calls to action and media appearances.
The members of our Cultural Engagement team are available to collaborate at each stage of your project’s development, from research and scriptwriting to production, post-production, and final promotion.
Services for the Industry
Everytown’s Cultural Engagement department can provide:
Story Development Consultation
Collaborate with producers, directors, and writers to advise on incorporating gun safety advocacy messages into television and film scripts.
Offer legislative information, guidance on gun laws in all 50 states, and other relevant background briefings.
Answer specific questions about and provide briefing books on a full range
of current and historical gun violence-related topics.
Educate production teams on local gun laws and concealed carry states for aid in selecting and operating in specific locations.
Review concepts and scripts for accuracy in depictions of gun violence, its causes and aftermath.
Connect content creators and artists to key movement leaders, activists and survivors.
Furnish talking points and context on gun safety issues.
Offer public and social media engagement opportunities.
A Snapshot of Gun Violence in America
Who Does Gun Violence Affect?
The majority of Americans have been impacted by gun violence. An astonishing 58% of American adults or someone they care for have experienced gun violence in their lifetime.
Every day, more than 100 Americans are killed with guns and twice as many are shot and wounded.
Every year, nearly 38,000 Americans are killed with guns. More than one-third of gun deaths are homicides.
3,000 children and teens are shot and killed every year and another 13,000 are shot and wounded.
Nationwide, a Black man is twelve times more likely than a white non-Hispanic man to be shot to death.
Black people in America are nearly 3 times as likely to be shot and killed by the police than white Americans.
Black males are 16x more likely than white males to be shot and injured in assaults involving guns.
Women in the U.S. are 21 times more likely to be killed by guns than women in other high-income countries.
Black women are twice as likely to be fatally shot by an intimate partner compared to white women.
Every month, an average of 53 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner.
Children and Teens
Approximately three million American children witness gun violence every year.
Over 100 children and teens die by unintentional gunshot every year.
Black children and teens are 14 times more likely than white children and teens of the same age to die by gun homicide.
Access to a gun increases the risk of death by suicide by three times.
The U.S. gun suicide rate is 8 times higher than that of other high-income countries.
Over 80% of child firearm suicides involved a gun belonging to a family member
Anti-LGBTQ bias motivated 19 percent of reported hate crimes in 2018.
3 out of 4 homicides of trans people are with a gun.
Where Does Gun Violence Happen?
In 2015, half of all U.S. gun homicides took place in just 127 cities containing less than 25 percent of the country’s population.
92 percent of non-fatal firearm assaults occur in cities.
In the Home
Access to a gun doubles the risk of death by homicide.
4.6 million American children live in homes with at least one gun that is loaded and unlocked.
Access to a gun makes it five times more likely that the abusive partner will kill his female victim.
On School Grounds
In incidents of gunfire on school grounds, up to 80 percent of shooters under 18 obtained the gun(s) they used from their home or the homes of relatives or friends.
In 54 percent of mass shootings, the shooter exhibited dangerous warning signs before the shooting.
Although Black students represent 15 percent of the total K-12 school population in America, they make up 25 percent of K-12 victims of gunfire at school.
In Public Places
- In recent years, the gun lobby has promoted a state legislative agenda that would ultimately allow anyone to carry a gun anywhere. As a result, legislators have considered bills that remove any and all limitation on gun carrying, which would allow guns in some of society’s most vulnerable spaces, like schools, public parks, and bars, and would let anyone carry a concealed handgun in public without a permit, even if they have a violent criminal record and haven’t undergone any training.
- In fact, many states that have passed legislation that allows people to carry concealed guns without a permit or safety training have seen a substantial increase in firearm violence.
How Does Gun Violence Manifest?
Nearly 2/3 of all gun deaths in the US are suicides.
The firearm suicide rate in the US is 10x higher than in other high-income countries.
The U.S. gun homicide rate is 25 times higher than that of other high-income countries.
Women in the U.S. are 21 times more likely to be killed by guns than women in other high-income countries.
In an average year, over 600 American women are shot to death by an intimate partner, and many more are injured.
Nearly 1 million women alive today have reported being shot or shot at by intimate partners.
- Everytown defines mass shootings as incidents in which four or more people were shot and killed, not including the shooter.
- Since October 2017, the U.S. has seen three of the five deadliest mass shootings in modern American history: At the Walmart in El Paso, Texas, the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas; and the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas.
Gun Violence by Police
Every year, police in America shoot and kill more than 1,000 people.
95 percent of the deaths of civilians caused by police are with a firearm, and Black people are the victims at a disproportionate rate—they are nearly three times as likely to be shot and killed by police than white people.
Solutions to Gun Violence
Learn more about these solutions on our Research & Policy site.
- Alert Local Law Enforcement of Failed Background Checks
- Background Checks on All Gun Sales
- Block Concealed Carry Reciprocity
- Block Silencer Deregulation
- Close the Charleston Loophole
- Disarm Hate
- Educate Gun Owners of Risks
- Extreme Risk Laws
- Gun Dealer Reform
- Gun Owner Safety Training
- Keep Guns off Campus
- Prevent Gun Trafficking
- Prohibit Assault Weapons
- Prohibit Bump Stocks and Other Conversion Devices
- Prohibit Guns in Sensitive Areas
- Prohibit High-Capacity Magazines
- Prohibit Open Carry
- Prohibit People With Dangerous Histories From Having Guns
- Reconsider Active Shooter Drills
- Repeal Gun Industry Immunity
- Repeal Restrictions on Gun Trace Data
- Repeal Stand Your Ground Laws
- Report Lost and Stolen Guns
- Require Permits to Carry Concealed Guns in Public
- Require Prohibited People to Turn in Their Guns
- Secure Gun Storage
- Smart Guns and Gun Safety Features
- Stop Arming Teachers
- Stop Downloadable Guns
- Strong Standards for Carrying Concealed Guns in Public
- Threat Identification and Assessment Programs in Schools
- Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Assistance Funding
- Violence Intervention Programs
- Waiting Periods
Myths and Facts About Gun Violence in America
Over the last four decades, the leaders of the National Rifle Association (NRA) have steered the organization away from advocating on behalf of sportsmen and hunters and towards lobbying for the most extreme policies and opposing virtually all gun safety legislation. They’ve also successfully propagated a mythology around guns and gun violence in America that supports their radical agenda.
Criminals will always find a way to get their hands on guns.
No law can stop all dangerous behavior, but laws such as background checks on all gun sales stem the easy flow of guns to prohibited people.
This claim is unsubstantiated by any legitimate evidence. In fact, scientific research—and basic common sense—show the opposite is true: more guns make us less safe. A growing body of research shows that when it is easier for people to carry guns in public, violent crime rates go up. When states passed laws allowing concealed carry for the first time or limiting law enforcement discretion in issuing carry permits, violent crime rates rose by 13 to 15%. And when Arizona repealed its concealed carry permit requirement entirely in 2010—allowing people over the age of 21 to carry concealed guns in public without a permit—the result was an 11% increase the rate of gun injuries and deaths and a 24% increase in the likelihood that a person involved in a violent crime would be shot and killed.
It’s about mental health, not guns.
Suggesting that mental health is a driving factor of this country’s gun violence crisis is inaccurate and ignores existing research that points to other root causes. Research has shown that most people with mental illness are not violent; in fact, they are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violence.
The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
In addition to the chaos it creates for law enforcement, the scenario rarely plays out in reality. Successful defensive gun use by private citizens is EXTREMELY rare. Research shows that unarmed civilians are far more likely to stop active shooters as compared to armed civilians. And one study of personal contact crimes showed that victims using a gun were just as likely to be wounded after taking protective action than victims using other forms of protective action.
Guns make women safer from sexual assault and domestic violence.
Domestic violence and sexual assault affect millions of women across the country, and guns in the hands of domestic abusers can turn abuse into murder. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation—regardless of whose gun it is—makes it five times more likely that the woman will be killed. Indeed, if guns made women safer, we’d be the safest country in the world—but when it comes to gun violence against women, research shows that the US is the most dangerous country among other high-income countries.
Suicide by gun is not a form of gun violence.
Nearly two-thirds of firearm deaths in the U.S. are suicides. Dismissing these tragedies discounts the disproportionate effect of guns in suicides—most people who attempt suicide do not die unless they use a gun. Across all suicide attempts not involving a firearm, 4 percent will result in death. But over half of suicide deaths are with firearms—and dismissing these tragedies prevents us from finding solutions to help prevent over 23,000 firearm suicides in an average year.
Writers’ Room Considerations
When developing a storyline that involves gun violence, consider investigating these questions:
- If a gun is present on screen or in a plotline, where did it come from? Was it obtained legally or illegally, and why is it accessible?
- Is the depiction of gun violence divorced from its physical and emotional consequences? That is, does the shooter feel the impact of pulling the trigger? Is the physical impact of a gunshot realistic?
- Is there room in the plotline for the experiences of survivors—those who have been shot and have survived, as well as loved ones who have lost someone to gun violence?
- If the content is intended to be reflective of current United States laws, is the action taken with the gun possible in that location? (For instance, open and concealed carry laws vary significantly from state to state.)
- Does the storyline promote inaccurate tropes (i.e. good guy with a gun and other myths)?
- Are firearms depicted as being stored securely (by responsible characters)?
- Is there an opportunity to include a content warning for audience members?
How to Depict Secure Storage of Firearms
- It is always the gun owner’s responsibility to prevent unauthorized access
- Hiding a gun in a closet, under a bed, on top of the refrigerator or anywhere else is not responsibly storing a gun. Unloaded ﬁrearms should be stored in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault or storage case. The storage location should be inaccessible to children.
- Gun locking devices render ﬁrearms inoperable and can be used in addition
to locked storage. If ﬁrearms are disassembled, parts should be securely stored
in separate locations.
- Ammunition should be stored in a locked location separate from ﬁrearms.
- Thoroughly double check ﬁrearms to conﬁrm that they are unloaded when you remove them from storage. Unintentional shootings could occur if a family member borrows a gun and returns it to storage while still loaded.
Everytown for Gun Safety
Everytown is the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country with nearly six million supporters including moms, students, mayors, survivors and everyday Americans who are fighting for public safety measures that respect the Second Amendment and help save lives. At the core of Everytown are Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and the Everytown Survivor Network. Learn more at www.everytown.org and follow us @Everytown on social media.
The Everytown Creative Council
Partnership with the creative community is a critical driver of Everytown’s ongoing success, particularly in the arena of cultural change. By joining forces with a wide range of artists, we enhance our power to amplify the movement to end gun violence in our country, drive recruitment of volunteers and supporters and achieve victories that will save lives.
In 2015, Julianne Moore founded the Creative Council, and continues to chair it. It has grown to comprise almost 200 actors, musicians, writers, fashion designers and artists who pledge to help create more awareness through their creative platforms—this helps engage new supporters and fuel Everytown’s mission of reducing and preventing gun violence.
The Council partners with Everytown on an ongoing basis. Some recent activations include:
- Every year, the Council amplifies National Gun Violence Awareness Day, in connection with the Wear Orange campaign, including Creative Council chair Julianne Moore and members such as JJ Abrams, Laura Dern, Daveed Diggs, Samantha Bee and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
- Everytown has recently offered background research and development support for projects by NBC, CBS, Disney, MTV, Showtime, Seth Meyers, Hasan Minhaj, This is Us, The Daily Show, Full Frontal, HBO and Epix, among many others. Production companies and talent agencies have hosted Everytown staff for briefings and question and answer sessions, to educate and engage their organizations.
- More than 50 Council members including Debra Messing, Don Cheadle, Natalie Morales, Jason George, and Ashley Nicole Black lent social support to the effort to update background checks in early 2019.
- Directors have also helped produce videos in moments of urgency. In May 2019, Bart Freundlich produced a video featuring council members and other influencers, urging Americans to imagine a world without gun violence featuring Amy Schumer, Jason George, Keegan-Michael Key and more. In March 2018, Steven Levitan, co-creator of Modern Family, released this video in response to the Parkland shooting. The video, which features the cast of Modern Family, showed support for the youth-led March for Our Lives movement and encouraged people to find a march near them.
Some of the terminology that is deployed when talking or writing about gun violence is
imbued with weighted political or cultural meaning. For this reason, Everytown recommends alternatives for these commonly encountered terms:
|Avoid: ‘Gun Control’||Use: ‘Gun violence prevention’ or ‘Gun sense’ |
The gun lobby has worked for decades to tie together the term “gun control” and the idea that gun violence prevention organizations want to “take your guns away.” Everytown is part of the gun violence prevention movement; we support the Second Amendment and know that it goes hand-in-hand with common-sense gun laws and a culture of gun safety. We are not anti-gun, we are anti-gun violence and pro-gun safety.
|Avoid: “Lost to gun violence”||Use: “Shot and killed”|
The hard truth is that gun violence victims will not be found. We speak factually and directly about these terrible tragedies.
|Avoid: “Committed suicide”||Use: “Died by suicide”|
Tragically, two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides. Someone who died by gun suicide or shot and killed himself/herself is a victim of gun violence too. The term “committed”, a word used to describe crimes, can stigmatize and silence suicide survivors, and shame those whose loved one died by suicide.
|Avoid: ‘Anniversaries of shootings’||Use: A phrase that indicates the passage of time, i.e. one-year mark|
The term “anniversary” is for happy things. For a somber instance like a remembrance day of a shooting, talk about how it has been the “one-year mark” or “one year since” a particular instance of gun violence.
|Avoid: ‘Gun-free zones’||Use: ‘Keeping guns out of sensitive places’|
We fight to keep guns out of sensitive places, like the places we take our families and children and places that serve alcohol. These are not “gun-free zones.” The gun lobby likes to claim that people in areas where guns are prohibited are “sitting ducks” in so-called “gun-free zones,”
but that isn’t true. In fact, when more people are allowed to carry guns in public, violent crime rates rise.
College campuses and schools are places in which law enforcement officers—armed and trained for emergencies—are responsible for keeping us safe and they overwhelmingly agree that armed citizens would make their jobs harder. The gun lobby likes to claim that criminals and bad guys target places where guns are prohibited—that’s not true. Research shows that mass shootings don’t happen more often in places where guns aren’t allowed.
|Avoid: ‘Accidental Shooting’ (by children)||Use: Unintentional shooting|
When a child shoots someone, it’s not an accident, it’s an unintentional shooting and a preventable tragedy. When a child has access to a gun, it’s often because an adult gun owner didn’t store their gun responsibly. The NRA wants the public to believe that children can be trained to ‘do the right thing’ when they encounter a gun, but studies show that no matter what they’re told, children are likely to pick up and play with a gun. The responsibility is always on adults to store guns responsibly. These are preventable tragedies, not accidents.
Partner Organizations By Category
- National Urban League: nul.iamempowered.com
- The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights: https://civilrights.org/
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice: https://www.advancingjustice-aajc.org/
- Congressional Black Caucus Foundation: https://www.cbcfinc.org/
- Congressional Hispanic Caucus Association: https://chci.org/
- Prosecutors Against Gun Violence: prosecutorsagv.org
- Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America: https://iava.org/
- Generation Progress
Storyline Partners is a diverse collection of organizations that collaborate with the entertainment industry to promote authentic, accurate and equitable cultural narratives in television and film. Everytown for Gun Safety is a founding member of Storyline Partners, which includes the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), National Domestic Workers Alliance, Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE), Caring Across Generations, Define American, Harness, Color of Change, Illuminative, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) and Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) Hollywood Bureau. Connect with Storyline Partners at storylinepartners.com.
EveryStat (everytownresearch.org/everystat) brings the most recent available data on gun deaths within instant reach. EveryStat breaks down gun deaths by state, county, intent, gender, race and ethnicity, and it includes key statistics on:
- Homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings
- Domestic violence
- Gun deaths among children and teenagers
- Shootings by law enforcement
- Shootings of transgender and gender non-conforming Americans
Gun Law Navigator
The Gun Law Navigator (gunlawnavigator.org) is the largest historical database of modern U.S. gun laws, drawing on Everytown for Gun Safety’s survey of state gun laws back to 1991. The Navigator allows you to compare the strength of state gun laws, track trends over time, and identify gaps in the gun laws in any state. This tool has a direct application for location scouts and managers, production planners, security coordinators, and writers.
Senior Director of Cultural Engagement
Director of Cultural Engagement
Senior Manager of Cultural Engagement
Key Dates 2020
These dates correspond to commemorations of major shootings, or significant awareness-raising campaigns and cultural touchstones. Please note that this list is not comprehensive, and consult the Everytown team with questions about any specific timeframes.
National Stalking Awareness Month
January 8 Commemoration of the 2011 mass shooting involving Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona
Black History Month
Dating Violence Awareness Month
February 1-8 Gun Violence Survivors Week
February 14 Commemoration of the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida
February 23 Ahmaud Arbery shot and killed in Brunswick, Georgia (2020)
February 26 Trayvon Martin shot and killed in Sanford, Florida (2012)
Women’s History Month
March 13 Breonna Taylor shot and killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky (2020)
March 31 Nipsey Hussle shot and killed in Los Angeles, California (2019)
Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April 16 Commemoration of the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia
April 20 Commemoration of the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School near Littleton, Colorado
May 18 Commemoration of the 2018 mass shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas
May 23 Commemoration of the 2014 mass shooting in Isla Vista, California near the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara
May 25 George Floyd killed by police by kneeling on his neck in Minneapolis, Minnesota (2020)
LGBTQ Pride Month
Gun Violence Awareness Month
June 2 Birthday of Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed in Chicago in 2013; Hadiya’s friends and family created the Wear Orange movement in Hadiya’s honor
June 4 National Gun Violence Awareness Day and Wear Orange Weekend (June 4-6, 2021)
June 12 Commemoration of the 2016 mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida
June 17 Commemoration of the 2015 mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina
July 20 Commemoration of the 2012 mass shooting at the film “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado
July 23 Commemoration of the 2015 shooting at the film “Trainwreck” in Lafayette, Louisiana
August 3 Commemoration of the 2019 mass shooting at Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Texas
August 4 Commemoration of the 2019 mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio
August 5 Commemoration of the 2012 mass shooting at the gurdwara (Sikh temple) in Oak Creek, Wisconsin
August 9 Michael Brown shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri (2014)
August 23 Jacob Blake shot and wounded by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin (2020)
August 25 Two protestors shot and killed and one wounded during protests following shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin (2020)
August 26 Commemoration of the 2015 on-air shooting of correspondent Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward in Moneta, Virginia
National Suicide Awareness Month
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October 1 Commemoration of the 2017 mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada
October 27 Commemoration of the 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
November 5 Commemoration of the 2017 mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas
Commemoration of the 2009 mass shooting at the military base in Fort Hood, Texas
November 7 Commemoration of the 2018 shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California
November 22 Tamir Rice shot and killed by police in Cleveland, Ohio (2014)
November 23 Jordan Davis shot and killed at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida (2012)
December 2 Commemoration of the 2015 mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California
December 14 Commemoration of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut