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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


A nationally representative poll of U.S. adults in March 2023 asked:

“Do you have a family member who has ever been killed by a gun, including death by suicide?”

The results: 19% said yes, 73% said no and 8% said don’t know.

The poll by KFF, formerly Kaiser Family Foundation, was done online and by phone in English and Spanish. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

In 2022, 56% of the 48,187 U.S. gun deaths were suicide, according to provisional data as of Aug. 14, 2023, from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Homicide accounted for 41% of gun deaths in 2022.

More than twice as many suicides by firearm in 2020 occurred in states with the fewest gun laws, relative to states with the most laws, KFF reported in 2022.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


KFF Health Tracking Poll

Google Docs 2022 US firearm deaths total, by type

KFF Do States with Easier Access to Guns have More Suicide Deaths by Firearm?

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Tom Kertscher joined as a Wisconsin Watch fact checker in January 2023 and contributes to our collaboration with the The Gigafact Project to fight misinformation online. Kertscher is a former longtime newspaper reporter, including at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who has worked as a self-employed journalist since 2019. His gigs include contributing writer for PolitiFact and sports freelancer for The Associated Press.