A new poll from Pew Research found that most Americans believe demonstrably false things about some of the core data behind the gun control debate.
Since 1993, firearm homicide deaths have decreased substantially:
In many ways, this is a symptom of declining crime and homicides overall:
However, most Americans don't recognize this.
Admittedly, most of the decline in gun homicides was during the nineties.
S ince the beginning of the decade, the death rate has remained relatively stagnant, occasionally rising.
Still, only 12% of Americans said that gun homicides have decreased since 1993, which it certainly has, while 82% of Americans gave the wrong answer, and 6% admitted they didn't know.
One potential source of this disparity between what people think they know and reality is the coverage of gun homicides in the media.
According to Pew, crime accounted for 17% of the time devoted to news on local television in 2012. That's down from 29% in 2005.
"Crime trails only traffic and weather as the most common type of story on these newscasts," the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism said.
Given the disproportionate coverage of crime, it's not unexpected that Americans have inaccurate views when it comes to making judgements about homicides.
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