September 29, 2022
On average, 110 people are killed by guns every day in the United States, with Black Americans disproportionately impacted. Young Black men are 20 times more likely to be killed by a gun than young white men, and between 2019 and 2020, deaths by guns increased by 39.5% among Black people. In 2021, for the first time, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared gun violence a "serious public threat."Firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens, increasing by 29% from 2019 to 2020 alone. School shootings receive disproportionate media and policy attention and are a major source of fear, but 85% of child victims of gun homicide die in their homes, and over 80% of child gun suicides involve a gun owned by a family member. In addition, myths persist, such as the belief that gun violence is primarily caused by mental illness, or that a civilian "good guy" can intervene in an active shooting and save lives if they are allowed to carry a loaded gun.The prevalence and impact of gun violence in entertainment media has been the subject of extensive research. Little is known, however, about how often gun safety and prevention measures are portrayed or discussed, in what contexts, or the impact of such portrayals on audiences. To address this gap, the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center's Media Impact Project (MIP) conducted a research project with support from Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. This included:-A content analysis of popular, scripted television dramas from the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons.-An experimental study examining the impact of two major gun safety storylines on audiences' knowledge, beliefs, and policy support.