Although most Americans think the number of gun crimes has risen, the U.S. gun homicide rate has actually stabilized somewhat in recent years.
The public continues to overwhelmingly support making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks, as well as laws to prevent people with mental illness from purchasing guns.
In December 2014, the balance of opinion flipped: For the first time, more Americans say protecting gun rights (52%) is more important than controlling gun ownership (46%).
Surveys have found a shift in gun policy attitudes over time. Here's a look at how public opinion on the subject is measured.