In the wake of the Las Vegas and Parkland shootings, Americans’ desire for stricter gun laws has reached levels not seen since December 1993. The first time Gallup asked this question in September 1990, a record-high 78% wanted stricter gun laws. In the early 1990s, the violent crime rate in the U.S. was at an all-time high — something the public was well aware of, with more than eight in 10 U.S. adults saying there was more crime in the U.S.
In the mid-1990s, the crime rate began to fall, and Americans’ perceptions of crime followed suit. In 1993, the federal government passed the Brady Bill, and it passed an assault weapons ban in 1994. From 1995 to 2011, the percentage of Americans wanting stricter gun laws decreased from 62% to 43%. After the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, 58% of Americans preferred stricter gun laws, though that spike soon subsided. Since 2014, there has been a 20-point increase in support for stricter gun laws, with most of that increase occurring in the past six months.