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Quantitative Survey Findings Report and Preliminary Qualitative Focus Group Findings U.S. Youth Attitudes on Guns July 2023


Since 2020, guns have been the leading cause of death in the United States for children and teens, according to the CDC. While the proliferation of gun access and gun violence often dominate national, state and local headlines, little has been done to understand the views young people have on these pervasive issues.

To address this gap, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, the Polarization & Extremism Research & Innovation Lab (PERIL) and SPLC came together to study young people’s access to guns, experiences with gun violence, feelings of safety and mental wellbeing, as well as their views on male supremacy, racial resentment and the Second Amendment.

Through mixed methods research, our U.S. Youth Attitudes on Guns Report provides groundbreaking insights into young people’s experiences with and views on guns and gun violence. Published in July 2023, this first report contains findings from a nationally representative survey of 4,156 Americans aged 14 to 30 and preliminary analysis focus groups interviews with 38 young people. 

Since July 2023, we have conducted focus group interviews with an additional six young people, bringing our total number of qualitative study participants to 44. Published in February 2024, U.S. Youth Attitudes on Guns: Final Qualitative Focus Group Findings contains the complete analysis of our partnerships’ qualitative research. This complementary report offers unique and valuable insights into young Americans’ beliefs about when, where and for whom gun ownership is acceptable, as well as the environmental and societal factors that underpin feelings of uncertainty and fear.


The nature of these findings are unsettling but also provide a pathway to prevent and protect young people from those spreading harmful and manipulative narratives. The organizations highlighted in our accompanying resources have long been at the forefront of efforts to curb gun violence and provide care for impacted communities and individuals.

For more information on guns in the U.S., visit Everytown.

For more on building resilience to supremacist ideologies, visit PERIL.

You hear sometimes, now that we know the sordid details of the lives of some of our leading figures, that America has no heroes left.

When I was writing a book about the Wounded Knee Massacre, where heroism was pretty thin on the ground, I gave that a lot of thought. And I came to believe that heroism is neither being perfect, nor doing something spectacular. In fact, it’s just the opposite: it’s regular, flawed human beings choosing to put others before themselves, even at great cost, even if no one will ever know, even as they realize the walls might be closing in around them.

It means sitting down the night before D-Day and writing a letter praising the troops and taking all the blame for the next day’s failure upon yourself, in case things went wrong, as General Dwight D. Eisenhower did.

It means writing in your diary that you “still believe that people are really good at heart,” even while you are hiding in an attic from the men who are soon going to kill you, as Anne Frank did.

It means signing your name to the bottom of the Declaration of Independence in bold print, even though you know you are signing your own death warrant should the British capture you, as John Hancock did.

It means defending your people’s right to practice a religion you don’t share, even though you know you are becoming a dangerously visible target, as Sitting Bull did.

Sometimes it just means sitting down, even when you are told to stand up, as Rosa Parks did.

None of those people woke up one morning and said to themselves that they were about to do something heroic. It’s just that, when they had to, they did what was right.

On April 3, 1968, the night before the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by a white supremacist, he gave a speech in support of sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. Since 1966, King had tried to broaden the Civil Rights Movement for racial equality into a larger movement for economic justice. He joined the sanitation workers in Memphis, who were on strike after years of bad pay and such dangerous conditions that two men had been crushed to death in garbage compactors.

After his friend Ralph Abernathy introduced him to the crowd, King had something to say about heroes: “As I listened to Ralph Abernathy and his eloquent and generous introduction and then thought about myself, I wondered who he was talking about.”

Dr. King told the audience that, if God had let him choose any era in which to live, he would have chosen the one in which he had landed. “Now, that’s a strange statement to make,” King went on, “because the world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land; confusion all around…. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars.” Dr. King said that he felt blessed to live in an era when people had finally woken up and were working together for freedom and economic justice.

He knew he was in danger as he worked for a racially and economically just America. “I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter…because I’ve been to the mountaintop…. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life…. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!”

People are wrong to say that we have no heroes left.

Just as they have always been, they are all around us, choosing to do the right thing, no matter what.

Wishing you all a day of peace for Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2024.

Image of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., by Buddy Poland

For Dr. King's final speech, click below.


When they cast ballots in primary elections this March and select their presidential preference in November, Wilson Community College students can show their student identification cards at the polls to verify their identity under North Carolina’s voter ID law.

The N.C. State Board of Elections approved 21 student and government ID cards to be used for voting purposes in 2024, the board announced in a news release last week. The additions follow initial approval of 100 student and employee IDs last summer ahead of municipal elections.

WCC joins seven other community colleges, two county and two town governments, a private liberal arts college, a charter school and a K-12 school system as the 15 institutions receiving state elections board approval. Six institutions had multiple types of ID cards approved for voting. Pitt Community College in Winterville, for example, submitted its student and employee IDs for review.

“We appreciate all colleges and universities and local governments that have applied to have their IDs approved,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “We urge all North Carolina voters to ensure they have an acceptable ID for voting purposes ahead of the 2024 primary election on March 5.”

The elections board sought applications from eligible educational institutions and government employers from Nov. 13 through Dec. 15. The board’s staff reviewed submissions for compliance with voter ID criteria in state law and recommended the 21 ID card types for approval. The five-member board unanimously agreed.

North Carolina’s voter ID law took effect with the 2023 municipal elections. Voters are now asked to present photo identification at the polls when they receive their ballot. Most voters show their driver’s license; a complete list of acceptable IDs is available at

Voters without an acceptable photo ID card can get one for free from their county board of elections or from the state Division of Motor Vehicles. Visit or to learn more.

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