The twentieth century was a time of many political assassinations and
violent shootings. A nation in shock mourned the deaths of President
John Kennedy and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. At the end
of the twentieth century the nation endured rising rates of violent
crime, with young people frequently involved as victims and
perpetrators and often armed with guns. Between July 1992, and June 30,
1999, there were 358 school-associated violent deaths in the United
States, including 255 deaths of school- aged children, or about 51 such
violent deaths each year. (Schmitt Rot, 2003)
Time after time, public opinion polls have shown that crime and
violence are among the most important concerns troubling Americans, if
not the most important. But do these concerns translate to changes in
public support for federal gun control measures? I will focus on public
attitudes toward gun control over both the short and longer terms.
Some Americans ar...