70-75 percent of the public since at least as far back as 1959 (Table 6.30). The rising crime rate and corresponding shifts in fear and punitiveness have had no impact on support for gun control because attitudes toward gun control are not primarily shaped by attitudes toward crime. Similarly the drop in gun ownership reflects a decline of the hunting culture as urban and suburban life-styles replace rural ways of life, and is not a reaction to crime (6.26-29).
In sum, public policy preferences on crime have been shaped largely by objective shifts in the level of criminal activity. Items such as gun control and approval of interpersonal hitting that do not follow a similar pattern are actually not closely linked to criminal matters. These attitudes are shaped by different cultural and personality factors than those that form attitudes about crime.
Rankin Joseph H. 1979. "Changing Attitudes Toward Capital Punishment". Social Forces, 58:194-211.
Smith Tom W. 1976. Trend Analysis of Attitudes Toward Capital Punishment, 1936-1974. In James A. Davis, ed., Studies of Social Change Since 1948, Vol. II. NORC report 127B. Chicago: National Opinion Research Center.
Smith Tom W. 1980. "The 75% Solution: An Analysis of the Structure of Attitudes on Gun Control, 1959-1977". Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 71:300-316.
Stinchcombe Arthur L., Rebecca Adams, Carol A. Heimer, Kem Lane Scheppele , Tom W. Smith, and D. Garth Taylor. 1980. Crime and Punishment: Changing Attitudes in America. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
United Nations. 1987. Demographic Yearbook, 1985. New York: United Nations.
Wright James D., Peter H. Rossi, and Kathleen Daly. 1983. Under the Gun: Weapons, Crime, and Violence in America. New York: Aldin
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Trends in Public Opinion:A Compendium of Survey Data. Contributors: Richard G. Niemi - Author, John Mueller - Author, Tom W. Smith - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1989. Page number: 133.