While most Americans beileve it's on the rise, gun violence is as low as it has ever been since the 1960s, a new study finds.

The study, performed by the Pew Research Center, found that gun-related homicides and crime are have declined over the last two decades.

Gun homicides went up in the 1960s, gained in the 1970s, peaked in the 1980s and early 1990s, and then dropped dramatically and leveled out.

"Despite national attention to the issue of firearm violence, most Americans are unaware that gun crime is lower today than it was two decades ago," researchers said.

A Pew study performed in March found that 56 percent of Americans believed that gun-related crime is higher than it was 20 years ago. Only 12 percent believed it was lower, 26 percent believed it was the same, and 6 percent reported they did not know.

The all-time peak for gun violence occurred in 1993, with 7 deaths per 100,000 people.

By 2010, that figure was 49 percent lower, with gun-related violence including assaults, robberies, and sex crimes 75 percent lower than the 1993 rate.

The study presented no explanation for the drop in gun violence.

"Researchers have studied the decline in firearm crime and violent crime for many years, and though there are theories to explain the decline, there is no consensus among those who study the issue as to why it happened," according to researchers.

The U.S. has higher rates of homicide than other developed countries, according to the study, as well as a higher rate of gun ownership.