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Research is at the core of our process and campaigns at Project Unloaded. From who our campaigns reach to where our campaigns live and what they say, research backs our every step. And not only do we conduct research with partners – our Youth Council conducts their own research too. Below you’ll find some of the data that backs our work and inspires us every day.

Understanding Teen Views on Guns and Gun Ownership

In 2019, our partners at Influence SG led a research initiative to explore young people’s knowledge, attitude and behaviors toward guns. They found that the vast majority of young people believed the myth that having a gun would make them safer and most were open to owning a gun in the future. But there’s hope: About half of these teens said they’d benefit from knowing more about the benefits and risks of gun ownership. And in later research, teens moved against the idea of guns increasing safety after exposure to facts about gun risks.

Gen Z Gun and Culture Insights Report

In 2022, Project Unloaded partnered with Global Strategy Group to survey 1,000 Americans, ages 13 through 25, to understand how young people, particularly Gen Z, think about guns and gun violence. The resulting report, Gen Z Gun and Culture Insights, details the findings, including:

The survey echoes past research showing that most young people believe that having a gun makes them safer. But after reading simple messages on the risks of using guns, young people shifted away from the notion that guns make them safer by nearly 20 points. The magnitude of the shift is not seen in surveys of older populations. This change happened across all demographics – even young people in homes with guns shifted their views.

The survey highlights how deeply gun violence impacts young people and how willing they are to listen to the facts and change their views based on the data. By empowering young people with the facts on guns, we can correct the widespread myth that guns make us safer and reduce rates of gun ownership among future generations, which will save countless lives.

of teens and young adults have experienced gun violence personally and another quarter (24%) have a friend or family member who has.
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School shootings and mass shootings are top of mind for young people, heightening perceptions that they are unsafe.

Half of young people (50%) report thinking about mass shootings at least weekly, while another 48% say they think about school shootings as often.
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Movies, television and video games are key sources of information about guns.

More than half (51%) of young people cite movies and television as a source for learning about guns, and 37% said they learned about guns from video games.
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Black youth are more likely to say that they learned about guns from television and movies (62% of Black youth) than white youth, who cite friends and family as the most prevalent source of information about guns.
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Understanding Multicultural Urban Teens’ Views and Experiences with Guns

In 2023, Project Unloaded partnered with the research firm AHZUL to understand how multicultural teens in communities often impacted by violence view guns and safety issues where they live. Through both qualitative and quantitative rounds of research, we worked to understand how fact-based messaging could impact teens’ views of guns and the likelihood they would own or carry them in the future. We found a significant opportunity to intervene before young people have made up their minds on guns and help them shift against using guns by sharing the facts.

Teens in neighborhoods with the highest rates of gun violence spend nearly all their time indoors according to our qualitative research.

of teens surveyed said they’d done little to no research on the risks of gun ownership, according to our quantitative research. Most said they were interested in learning more.
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After seeing facts about gun risks, teens were more likely to believe that guns make people less safe, and they were less likely to say they would own or have a gun in the future.

Youth Council-Led Research on Gun Use on Television

In fall 2023, it was clear that primetime television lineups would change because of the ongoing labor disputes in Hollywood. Project Unloaded’s Youth Council sought to understand how the messages TV sends about guns may shift as a result of more unscripted content hitting the airwaves. To answer that question, the Youth Council reviewed 154 hours of content – half from the last week of September in 2022 and half from that same week in 2023. The result was a report titled, “Gun Smoke,” which demonstrates that while gun use on primetime network TV fell in the fall of 2023, ratings did not – proving that guns weren’t necessary to making profitable television.

The report was released via an exclusive in Variety and earned additional stories in ScreenRant and MovieGuide.

Help Stop Gun Violence

To turn the page on gun violence, we must tell a different story about guns. With your help, we can grow our work and save lives.