Mass shootings account for less than one percent of all gun deaths, a new survey reveals nearly a third of Americans think they are the leading cause, calling into question just how badly the mainstream media have misinformed the public.
The survey by APM Research asked Americans for their views on a wide range of gun issues, including what they believe are the leading causes of gun deaths.
Gun death data from 2017, the latest data available, show suicides account for around 60 percent of gun deaths, with murders outside of mass shootings accounting for 35 percent.
Mass shootings account for only 0.8 percent of gun deaths, and that figure is mostly gang-related shootings of more than four people.
But thanks to breathless media coverage of isolated incidents, 25 percent of Americans told the survey they believe mass shootings are the leading cause of gun deaths in the United States.
Thirty-three percent said they thought murder was the leading cause, which is also incorrect. Only 23 percent correctly identified suicide as the leading cause of gun deaths.
While the poll found Republicans were more than twice as likely as Democrats to own a gun, there wasn’t much difference in knowledge of gun deaths, with only 21 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of Democrats correctly identifying suicide as the leading cause of death.
“Gun owners are more likely than those who do not own a gun or those who live with someone who owns a gun to know that suicides are the leading cause of death (29% compared to 20%),” the survey notes. “Those without a gun in their household are most likely to think that mass shootings are the leading cause of gun deaths.”
Men are somewhat more aware than women that suicide is the leading cause of gun deaths; 28% of men compared to 18% of women answered the question correctly,” the survey also found. “Parents with children living at home are somewhat more aware that suicide is the leading cause of gun deaths than those who are not parents of children living at home (30% compared with 21%).”