Skip to main content

New Research: 1 out of 5 Americans Believe Their Chances of Encountering an Active Shooter Have Increased Since 2019

The survey, commissioned by Evolv Technology, quantifies the mental toll gun violence takes on Americans

  • More than half of Americans are willing to go through weapons detection screening at everyday locations, such as the grocery store, workplace or movie theater
  • One third (31%) report increased anxiety when going into a large gathering
  • 28% feel they are likely to encounter an active shooter in their lifetime
  • Nearly one third (29%) have been in a location where someone unexpectedly opened fire


Evolv Technology (NASDAQ: EVLV), the leader in weapons detection security screening, today announced the findings of a study – Guns in America: A Survey on Public Violence, Anxiety, and Threats – it commissioned with market research firm Equation Research that reveals the mental toll gun violence takes on Americans across the country.

Key findings:

  • Nearly 8 out of 10 (77.8%) Americans think gun violence is a problem in America.
  • Nearly half (44.9%) of Americans report being anxious (extremely / moderately) about gun violence in America.
  • At the type of locations where high-profile mass shootings have taken place, Americans routinely check the exits and/or review their mental plan in case of an active shooter, as well as report higher levels of anxiety:
    • In a movie theater (Aurora, CO – 2012): 62.6% check exits/review mental plan; 28.6% report some level of anxiety (extreme or moderate)
    • In a grocery store (Boulder, Colorado; Collierville, TN - 2021): 49.1% check exits/review mental plan; 28.4% report some level of anxiety (extreme or moderate)
    • In a bar / night club (Orlando, FL – 2016): 29.7% report some level of anxiety (extreme or moderate)
  • 15.3% of Americans feel they are at higher risk of encountering an active shooter based on their religious affiliation.

    • Among members of the Jewish religion, 49.1% believe they are more at risk. Those identifying as Muslims: 43.6%, Orthodox: 36.8% and Roman Catholic: 15.9%.

  • Of those who have been in a location where someone unexpectedly opened fire, 18% were in a bar/night club

“The United States is awash in guns and gun violence, but far from being numb to the violence, the survey results indicate that the American public is filled with more anxiety than ever, and that anxiety is slowly eroding any sense of trust that we can go about our daily lives safe from harm,” said Peter George, CEO, Evolv Technology. “We believe our research demonstrates that the most effective way to alleviate this nationwide anxiety is to democratize access to security for all public spaces, so that the public can feel confident when they gather and venues can take appropriate measures to meet their duty to keep their visitors safe.”

Regional differences

While the findings reveal that Americans everywhere feel an impact from shootings and terrorist incidences, there are some notable disparities in the level of anxiety and perception of gun violence based on where they live.

  • Americans who live in the South (75.3%) are more worried about shooting and terrorist attacks than other regions of the country.
    • Northeast: 72%
    • West: 68.2%
    • Midwest: 66.5%
  • 82% of those who live in the Northeast think gun violence is a problem in the U.S. vs. 71% of those who live in the West.

    • Likewise, 81.2% of those who live in urban areas [think it’s a problem] vs. 73% of those in rural areas.

  • Nearly 4 out of 10 (37.5%) Americans believe they are less at risk of encountering an active shooter based on where they live.

    • Nearly half of those who live in a rural area (47.9%) feel they’re at less risk of an active shooter vs. 28% of those who live in an urban area.

  • When asked who Americans believe is most responsible to keep them safe, the answers differ based on where they live:

    • More Americans in the Northeast (30.5%) believe the local police are responsible than the rest of the country (West: 26% / South: 24.5% / Midwest: 24.4%)

    • On the contrary, less Americans in the Northeast (33%) believe they are responsible for their own safety (Midwest: 39.6% / South: 41% / West: 42%)

All places are not created equal

It’s clear that Americans are concerned about the risk of shootings in everyday locations, but for many, some carry more – and elicit higher levels of anxiety – than others.

  • More than 3 out of 10 (31.3%) Americans list “large gatherings” as the top answer when asked where they have increased anxiety as a result of gun violence and/or terrorist activity.
    • Bar/night club: 28.8%
    • Movie theater: 28.5%
    • Mall: 26.4%
    • School: 16.4%
    • Places of worship: 12.6%
  • When attending large events, Americans are most concerned with:

    • COVID-19: 46.2%

    • Large crowds: 37.2%
    • Active shooter/shooting: 30.9%
    • Long lines: 28.6%
    • Terrorist attack: 20.6%

What Americans will do for safety

The pervasive feeling of anxiety and worry carries over into what Americans are willing to do in order to reduce the threat of a terrorist attack or mass shooting. When asked whether they would be willing to go through extra steps [to reduce those threats] at everyday locations, such as the grocery store, workplace or movie theater, they answered:

  • Go through weapons detection screening: 56.7%
  • Have bags checked: 46.4%
  • Check guns at the door: 43.6%
  • Be patted down by a security professional: 37.4%
  • Only 21.5% would not be willing to go through these extra steps

“What the data overwhelmingly reveal is that a mass shooting or terrorist incident has rippling effects across the U.S. population; it doesn’t just affect the people that were there,” said Joel Dvoskin, PhD, ABFP, clinical and forensic psychologist. “We have an epidemic of national trauma from the violent events that have already taken place, and don’t appear to be stopping, which I predict will only add to the trauma quantified by these findings. And most troubling, we now have a population that is demonstrating significantly increased rates of rage and instability as a result of lockdowns and isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We could be seeing an increased reason for Americans to be anxious, which explains their willingness to take extra steps to reduce threats. Evolv’s sponsored research has quantified the below-the-surface anxiety so many Americans live with, which is critical for us to start addressing the root cause – and begin taking steps towards a solution.”

Click here for the full report.

Survey Methodology

Evolv Technology commissioned Equation Research to conduct the survey, which ran from October 20 to October 28 2021. The survey captured responses from a broad distribution of 2,015 adults in the U.S. aged 18 and older.

About Evolv Technology

Evolv Technology (NASDAQ: EVLV) is a leader in weapons detection for security screening, securing the world’s most iconic venues and companies. Its mission is enabling a better experience and better security for venues, creating a safer world to work, learn, and play by transforming physical security to make everywhere safer. It gives sports fans, theme park visitors, concertgoers, shoppers, employees, students, and others peace of mind so that they can gather without fear of violence. Its security screening has scanned more than 100 million people, second only to the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States, and its technology combines powerful, advanced sensors with proven artificial intelligence (AI), security ecosystem integrations, and comprehensive venue analytics to reliably detect threats 10 times faster than traditional metal detectors.

Evolv Technology, Evolv Express®, Evolv Insights™, and Evolv Cortex AI™ are registered trademarks or trademarks of Evolv Technologies, Inc. in the United States and other jurisdictions.

For more information, visit

Forward-looking Statements

Certain statements in this press release may constitute “forward-looking” statements and information, within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that relate to our current expectations and views of future events. In some cases, these forward-looking statements can be identified by words or phrases such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “aim,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “potential,” “continue,” “is/are likely to” or other similar expressions. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions, some of which are beyond our control. In addition, these forward-looking statements reflect our current views with respect to future events or our Company’s performance and are not a guarantee of future performance. Actual outcomes may differ materially from the information contained in the forward-looking statements as a result of a number of factors, including, without limitation, the risk factors set forth in our prospectus, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on September 3, 2021, and other documents filed with or furnished to the SEC. These statements reflect management’s current expectations regarding future events and operating performance and speak only as of the date of this press release. You should not put undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot guarantee that future results, levels of activity, performance and events and circumstances reflected in the forward-looking statements will be achieved or will occur. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.


Data & News supplied by
Stock quotes supplied by Barchart
Quotes delayed at least 20 minutes.
By accessing this page, you agree to the following
Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.