Gun violence ‘terrifying’ young parents in the US

Gun violence is “terrifying” two young parents who said it was the main issue concerning them as Americans. The sentiment echoed by several other American voters who, when asked by, rated it as their main concern for the country.

A recent Gallup Poll showed the government had pushed aside inflation as the number one concern for Americans following Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified documents and Kevin McCarthy’s battle with his own Republican Party to become elected Speaker of the House after 15 rounds of voting. However, when speaking to Americans, the issue of gun violence came up again and again.

Following several deadly mass shootings in California, gun violence has never left the headlines. This issue has sparked 647 mass shootings in 2022 and caused more than 44,000 gun-related deaths in the US, according to the Gun Violence Archive which tracks gun-related violence. Already there have been 52 mass shootings in the US this year, according to the website.

Jess Taylor, 26, a new mother from New Jersey pointed to the shootings as her biggest concern for the country, particularly surrounding violence in schools.

She told “I don’t follow politics too much, but, as a new mum, the biggest thing that worries me about this country is the number of shootings. It feels like every time I open my phone there is a new mass shooting.

“I think about it a lot, I might not even send my kid (who is not yet of school age) to school, I might do home schooling because it’s terrifying.”

Her husband, Anthony, 28, echoed her concerns but also cited inflation and racism as big concerns for him.

He said: “My biggest concerns, as an American, are probably the inflation rate and the growing gun violence, especially as it pertains to schools and children. As a new parent this is incredibly terrifying.”

Anthony also cited “racial discrimination” in the “blue collar”, or working class, jobs as a concern. He works as operations manager at an environmental company. He said that although discrimination is rife among the “older generations”, it would likely become less prominent with time.

Other Americans seconded the concerns, when asked about Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents and Kevin McCarthy’s battle with his own party to become elected Speaker – they pointed to gun violence.

Hailey Kay, 29, from Charleston South Carolina, said that Biden’s handling of classified documents “hadn’t bothered people much”, particularly as he was cooperating with authorities and investigations into the issue.

She contrasted the incident with former president Donald Trump, who refused to return documents to the National Archives and whose Mar-a-Lago home was then raided by the FBI.

A much more pressing issue, according to Ms Kay, is gun violence highlighted by the multiple deadly mass shootings which occurred in California last month.

She also said many of the discussions she had with friends centered around gun violence as well as police violence particularly after Tyre Nichols was allegedly beaten to death by five police officers in Memphis, Tennessee last month.

When Chris Stephens, 30 also from Charleston, was shown the Gallup Poll showing Americans were more concerned with Government than other issues, he called it “flawed”.

He told “Honestly that’s kind of a flawed poll, wouldn’t you think? I mean, the government and poor leadership is kind of causing all these other problems right?

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“The government could pass legislation about gun control, or at least attempt to: violence is my number one concern out of those categories after all of these mass shootings.”

He added: “Honestly, everyone I know just kind of laughed about the Republicans and their 15 Speaker’s votes, but it shines a light on a very real problem, which is the increasing polarization of our two party system and a seemingly utter refusal to compromise .”

However others were unbothered by the leadership battle in Congress.

Bill, 60, from Edisto, SC about an hour’s drive south of Charleston, said that he had “no problem” with the 15 House Speaker votes to elect Kevin McCarthy adding: “That’s the way government is supposed to be, no one is supposed to be able to ram anything they want through.”

“The Republicans had to compromise with each other, and hopefully they will compromise with the Democrats and get some things done,” he said.

Bill, a retired teacher who sometimes still fills in, said that inflation was a big issue, particularly among his students and co-workers.

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He said: “Inflation is a big worry, especially among the kids I’ve taught recently, and among other teachers. They were saying how things were so expensive nowadays.”

The Gallup Poll in question surveyed 1,011 American adults (18+) between January 2 and 22. It has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

It showed that government was a top concern for 21 percent of Americans, up from 15 percent at the end of last year. Inflation ranked second with 15 percent labeling it a top concern.

Although gun violence and mass shootings were not specifically mentioned in the poll, crime/violence was a main concern for just four percent of Americans.

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