20 percent of Americans know a victim of gun violence, new study - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

20 percent of Americans know a victim of gun violence, new study says


A new national study shows startling numbers about just how many Americans are affected by gun violence.

The results show 20 percent of Americans have some connection to a person lost to gun violence, but for the African American community that number is much higher.

It's been almost four years since Andrea Long, a Charlotte mother,  lost not one but two of her sons to gun violence -- in one night. Since then, not a day goes by without her thinking about the lives they will never get to lead.

"It was a thing where I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't pull myself together," she recalled. "Your child is somebody you feel gonna bury you."

It's a reality that's become all too familiar for so many in this country.

The new study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, found one in five Americans has a close connection to a victim of gun violence. A family member, friend, neighbor or co-worker -- someone they know. The number doubles for African Americans, nearly half surveyed had close ties to a victim.

Long isn't surprised by the new statistics especially the higher numbers among minorities. She points to the urban community's deeply entrenched "no snitching" policy as one of the reasons why.

"I heard people say cause it's a "white community" -- that's not the reason," she believes. It's because the community will not tolerate certain issues in the community."

Issues Long says are compounded by the ease at which anyone can get a gun.

"We are too lenient in this country on gun violence," she said.  

Violence that leaves families forever changed. Families like Long's -- even now, years later.

"They should come and talk to us when their birthdays come around or the day they died come around and we can't do anything but hold a picture and moan," she said.

The study also looked at how many Americans fear they could become a victim of gun violence. 4 in 10 surveyed said they were afraid they will die of gun violence.

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