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Gun Violence in America: A Survey on Americans’ Anxiety

In November 2021, we launched our inaugural report to look at the impact gun violence has on Americans’ lives. We wanted to understand whether a shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado impacted someone on the other side of the country; to measure Americans’ collective anxiety around the pervasive gun violence; and to determine whether gun violence is on people’s minds when they perform everyday tasks, like going to the grocery store. While we expected a certain level of anxiety, the numbers that came back shocked us. But twelve months later, our second-annual report paints an even bleaker picture, one of a citizenry that is exhausted and frustrated, and willing to alter their behavior in order to create safer places. Our neighbors and fellow citizens want to be safe when they go to the grocery store, to see a movie, visit a theme park and go to school.

  • Of the Americans who own a gun and report carrying it with them, two-thirds say they are doing so more today than in 2021.
  • 36% of Americans believe they (or someone they love) are extremely/likely to encounter an active shooter in their lifetime. That is up from 29% in 2021.
  • A large majority of Americans – 88% – believe their chances of encountering an active shooter have increased in 2022.
  • Nearly 3 out of 10 Americans have thought about moving out of fear of gun violence against themselves or their family. This is up from 12% in 2021.

America’s gun violence is taking a significant toll on educators

For this year’s report, in addition to the general population, we collected insights from educators in an effort to understand how the nation’s gun violence is impacting them. The results are sobering and reveal the significant toll it is taking on our teachers.

  • 1 in 3 educators report that they have experienced a shooting at work/in a school setting, and 51% believe they are likely or extremely likely to encounter an active shooting at work in their lifetime.
  • Nearly 4 in 10 teachers report they are considering looking for another job because they don’t feel safe at work. Of those, 82% would like to change jobs within the next six months.
  • 26% have been threatened directly by at least one of their students.
  • 3 out of 10 educators say they have to take more mental health breaks in order to cope with their increased levels of anxiety.

Our director of education and former assistant superintendent of safety and school operations for Oxford Community Schools, Jill Lemond, said:

“These findings highlight a need for us, as a country, to do better for our educators. Unfortunately, we haven’t equipped schools to deal with the anxiety, fear, and trauma students are bringing into the classroom. As a result, those on the frontlines – most of whom haven’t been trained in mental health – are bearing the burden of this national crisis. We are asking too much of them, and this research reveals the toll that is taking.”

As a father whose daughter walks into a school building every day to teach second graders, these findings hit very close to home. We need to recognize that a nation without healthy, happy and supported teachers cannot be a place where new ideas thrive and innovation is cultivated.

While this year’s report does not offer a solution, it does help us understand the toll gun violence is taking on all Americans, not just those who have been directly affected by it. It is my hope that with this better understanding, we can begin to work together to find solutions that reduce the amount of violence, lower Americans’ anxiety and retain the freedoms and liberties we have come to love in this country.

Peter George Headshot
Peter George
Chief Executive Officer

Peter G. George is a 30+ year leader in the security, software and networking industries.  As President and Chief Executive Officer of Evolv, he is a member of the Evolv Technology Executive Leadership Team. Prior to joining Evolv, Peter served as President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Fidelis Cybersecurity for over a decade, helping to structure and lead parts of the Global Executive Team, and increasing customer acquisition and retention. Prior to Fidelis Cybersecurity, he served as President and CEO of Crossbeam Systems, repositioning the company for market success through technology innovations and strategic partnerships in the security space. His experiences took him abroad as well, working for companies such as Nortel Networks, Bay Networks, and Wellfleet Communications in France. Peter serves on the Board of Directors of Corero Network Security PLC (LON: CNS). He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the College of the Holy Cross.

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