US public opinion on carrying firearms in public places

Julia A. Wolfson, Stephen P. Teret, Deborah Azrael, Matthew Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objectives. To estimate US public opinion, overall and by gun ownership status, about the public places where legal gun owners should be allowed to carry firearms. Methods. We fielded an online survey among 3949 adults, including an oversample of gun owners and veterans, in April 2015. We used cross-tabulations with survey weights to generate nationally representative estimates. Results. Fewer than 1 in 3 US adults supported gun carrying in any of the specified venues. Support for carrying in public was consistently higher among gun owners than among non-gun owners. Overall, support for carrying in public was lowest for schools (19%; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 16.7, 21.1), bars (18%; 95% CI = 15.9, 20.6), and sports stadiums (17%; 95% CI = 15.0, 19.5). Conclusions. Most Americans, including most gun owners, support restricting public places legal gun owners can carry firearms. These views contrast sharply with the current trend in state legislatures of expanding where, how, and by whom guns can be carried in public. Recent state laws and proposed federal legislation that would force states to honor out-of-state concealed carry permits are out of step with American public opinion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)929-937
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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