Gun crime has plunged in the United States since its peak in the middle of the 1990s, including gun killings, assaults, robberies and other crimes, two new studies of government data show.
Yet few Americans are aware of the dramatic drop, and more than half believe gun crime has risen, according to a newly released survey by the Pew Research Center.
In less than two decades, the gun murder rate has been nearly cut in half. Other gun crimes fell even more sharply, paralleling a broader drop in violent crimes committed with or without guns. Violent crime dropped steeply during the 1990s and has fallen less dramatically since the turn of the millennium.
The number of gun killings dropped 39% between 1993 and 2011, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in a separate report released Tuesday. Gun crimes that weren’t fatal fell by 69%. However, guns still remain the most common murder weapon in the United States, the report noted. Between 1993 and 2011, more than two out of three murders in the U.S. were carried out with guns, the Bureau of Justice Statistics found.
The bureau also looked into non-fatal violent crimes. Few victims of such crimes -- less than 1% -- reported using a firearm to defend themselves.
Despite the remarkable drop in gun crime, only 12% of Americans surveyed said gun crime had declined compared with two decades ago, according to Pew, which surveyed more than 900 adults this spring. Twenty-six percent said it had stayed the same, and 56% thought it had increased.
Americans overwhelmingly say the nation’s immigration policy is in need of sweeping changes. Overall, 75% say immigration policy needs at least major changes, with 35% saying it needs to be “completely rebuilt”—among the highest of seven policy areas tested.
Yet the broad public agreement that immigration policy should be revamped is not matched by consensus on how to deal with illegal and legal immigration.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted May 1-5 among 1,504 adults, finds that 73% say there should be a way for illegal immigrants already in the United States who meet certain requirements to stay here. But fewer than half (44%) favor allowing those here illegally to apply for U.S. citizenship, while 25% think permanent legal status is more appropriate.
Few Americans want the U.S. military to get involved in the conflict in Syria, even those who think Syria has used chemical weapons against its people, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.
Only 5 percent of respondents said they would support sending ground troops to Syria, while 68 percent said they were opposed. And support for the military providing weapons to rebel fighters was only barely higher: respondents opposed doing so 51 percent to 12 percent. Conducting air strikes saw 49 percent opposed to 16 percent in favor. Opposition to each type of intervention crossed party lines, with Democrats, Republicans and independents largely in agreement that the U.S. should not intervene.