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.
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