Immigrants living in California are less likely to have a gun at home, more likely to fear gun violence

  • California has the nation’s seventh-lowest gun death rate, but some segments of the population are particularly concerned about the dangers of gun violence.
  • Findings from a new UCLA report reveal that immigrants living in California are much less likely than others to have a gun in their home — just 7.7% of immigrants had a firearm in 2021 versus 22.2% of all U.S.-born adults in California. But 24.0% of immigrants report being "very worried" about being a victim of gun violence, while 12.9% of the adult population overall said they were very worried.

    The data are included in a new fact sheet on firearms in the home and perceptions about gun violence, and the findings are drawn from the 2021 California Health Interview Survey, which is conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

    The survey also found that 17.6% of the state’s adults, about 5.2 million Californians, kept a firearm at home in 2021. Of those who kept a gun at home, 7.7% kept the weapon loaded and unlocked. Among military veterans who kept guns in their home, 13.9% reported that their firearms were loaded and unlocked.

    "California has some of the toughest gun laws in the country," said Sean Tan, a senior public administration analyst at the research center. "Yet our findings still suggest there is a need for improvements to our laws given continuing concerns over gun violence in the state."

    Researchers segmented the findings to assess trends among Californians who are disproportionately affected by gun violence and gun safety issues, including young adults (ages 18 to 24), veterans, immigrants and LGBTQ individuals.

    "Although California has the seventh-lowest gun death rate in the country, our findings indicate that particular segments of the state’s population are greatly concerned about being victims of gun violence," said Ninez Ponce, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and principal investigator of the California Health Interview Survey said.

    Among the other findings:

    13.8% of lesbian, gay and bisexual adults reported keeping a gun at home, and of that group, 9.3% said their guns were loaded and unlocked. Meanwhile, 13.2% of transgender or gender-nonconforming adults keep a gun at their home.

    The fact sheet also presents data on how concerned Californians are about the threat of firearms in their lives. Overall, 12.9% of respondents said they were "very worried" about being a victim of gun violence. In addition to the contrast between immigrants and U.S.-born Californians, the survey found:

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