Gun Control

Americans Who Favor Stricter Gun Control Believe Gun Crime Has Increased

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According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 64 percent of Americans who favor stricter gun control laws in the United States also have the misperception that gun crime has gone up in the past 20 years. A plurality (43 percent) of those who oppose stricter gun control say gun crime has decreased.

Interestingly, 54 percent of Democrats think gun crime has increased in the US over the past 20 years, compared to 29 percent of Republicans and 25 percent of Independents.

Recent reports from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Pew Research Center shows gun crime has significantly declined since the 1990s. NPR writes:

"Firearm-related homicides dropped from 18,253 homicides in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011," according to a report by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, "and nonfatal firearm crimes dropped from 1.5 million victimizations in 1993 to 467,300 in 2011.

There were seven gun homicides per 100,000 people in 1993, the Pew Research Center study says, which dropped to 3.6 gun deaths in 2010. The study relied in part on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49 percent lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation's population grew," according to the Pew study. "The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75 percent lower in 2011 than in 1993."

Although gun crime has significantly decreased since the 1990s, few Americans are aware of it. A Pew Research Poll found only 12 percent of Americans think gun crime is lower and 56 percent say crimes involving guns are higher. Women (65 percent) are significantly more likely than men (46 percent) to think gun crime has increased.

Pew has cited several statistics related to gun crime: