A fascinating new study finds a strong link between a subject’s racism and the chance they have a gun at home, and the more racist the subjects were, the more likely they were to have a gun in the home.
The study, “Racism, Gun Ownership and Gun Control: Biased Attitudes in US Whites May Influence Policy Decisions,” examined political party identification, gun ownership, opinions on gun control, anti-government sentiment, and symbolic racism — “a modern measure of anti-black racism” — in white Americans.
It also finds the degree of racism is linked to the degree of opposition to gun control — those who were the most racist were the most opposed to gun control.
It’s important to note there was no mention in the study to suggest the reverse is true. Gun owners are not automatically racists.
The researchers, who are not from the U.S. but from the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand, “found that for each 1 point increase in symbolic racism there was a 50% increase in the odds of having a gun at home.”
“Coming from countries with strong gun control policies, and a 30-fold lower rate of gun-related homicides, we found the arguments for opposing gun control counterintuitive and somewhat illogical,” the researchers explain in a press release. “For example, US whites oppose gun control to a far greater extent than do blacks, but whites are actually more likely to kill themselves with their guns, than be killed by someone else. Why would you keep them?”
They also found that “Blacks are disproportionately represented in US firearm homicides (14.6 per 100,000), and would benefit most from improved gun controls. Opposition to gun control is considerably stronger in whites than blacks, with whites also reporting twice the rate of personal gun ownership and having a gun in the home, than is reported by blacks.”
Unsurprisingly, the report finds that “stronger republican [sic] identification, being from a southern state, and anti-government sentiment were associated with opposition to gun-control policies.”
“The statistics on firearm-related suicides and homicides in the US might reasonably be expected to convince US citizens that action on reducing gun ownership and use would be beneficial to their health,” the researchers concluded. “Yet, US whites oppose strong gun reform more than all other racial groups, despite a much greater likelihood that whites will kill themselves with their guns (suicide), than be killed by someone else.”
And they find whites’ “anti-black prejudice” a stronger motivator.
“Black-on-black homicide rates would benefit most from gun reform, and, quite logically, blacks support these reforms even if whites do not. Symbolic racism appears to play a role in explaining gun ownership and paradoxical attitudes to gun control in US whites.”
Researchers also point to Americans’ “illogical racial biases” on guns, and note “the reasons for owning a gun and opposing gun reform (i.e., self-protection, safety, fear of crime) are not supported by the evidence on gun-related harms.”
“Gun-related deaths in the US are a significant public health concern, representing a leading cause of death, and are particularly prevalent from ages 15–54. Attitudes towards guns in many US whites appear to be influenced, like other policy preferences, by illogical racial biases.”
Hat tip: The Raw Story
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