Violence, Values, and Views on Guns

With the increase of violent attacks since 9/11, many Americans have experienced a change in their perceptions on guns and gun laws. But these perceptions vary across race and gender.On September 11, 2001, the United States experienced terrorism on its own ground for the first time. Americans were shaken by this event, and it opened many of their eyes to the violence that could happen, and would happen in the years to follow.

Since that day, Americans’ perceptions of guns have changed, most likely due to the increase in violent attacks after it occurred. In May 2000, about a year before the 9/11 attack, 57 percent of the population supported gun control, while 38 percent supported gun rights, according to Pew Research. As of August 2016, those percentages seem to be almost neutralized with 46 percent supporting gun control and 52 percent supporting gun rights. These statistics seem to imply that violent acts are causing more people to feel as though they need to protect themselves in some way or another.

Over a timeline of around twenty-five years, there has been a change in American’s perceptions revolving around crime and actual crime rates. Americans who worried about crime rates tended to favor stricter gun control in the past, whereas now those same Americans prefer gun laws to stay the same or to be loosened.
While ISIS is ranked among leading international dangers, according to Pew Research, terrorist groups are not the sole reasoning behind how polarized the U.S. is on the perception of guns. Today, 54 percent of Americans say that stricter laws will reduce the number of deaths that are caused by mass shootings.

Perceptions of guns and gun control have shifted as a result of these violent acts, and those changes can be seen in more than one area of our everyday lives.

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