The report by researchers at Australia’s Monash University and Britain’s Manchester University looked at how racism among whites and gun ownership is linked. The report used data from the American National Election Study and scored people based on their ‘symbolic racism,’ which is used to measure anti-black sentiments. Besides keeping a gun at home, they were also more likely to oppose gun control reforms.
By Erik Ortiz
That’s the finding of an international study released Thursday that says the two are linked. More specifically, odds are greater that a racist white American also keeps a gun at home and opposes gun control regulations.
The conclusion wasn’t too surprising for researchers at Australia’s Monash University and Britain’s Manchester University, which sought to better understand American gun culture.
“There had already been research showing that ... blacks are more likely to be shot, so we thought there must be something happening between the concept of being black and some whites wanting guns,” Monash researcher Kerry O’Brien said in an email to the Daily News.
He also found that political leanings and geography play a part into firearm ownership.
“It is particularly noteworthy that the relationship between symbolic racism and the gun-related outcomes was maintained in the presence of conservative ideologies, political affiliation, opposition to government control and being from a southern state, which are otherwise strong predictors of gun ownership and opposition to gun reform,” said the study, published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.
By David Ferguson
The study analyzed data from a large swath of white U.S. voters and was spurred by the vehemence of the gun control debate in this country in the wake of the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in New Town, Connecticut. O’Brien and his team mainly hail from the U.K., New Zealand and Australia and were curious about U.S. attitudes toward gun ownership.
“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. 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? So we decided to examine what social and psychological factors predict gun ownership and opposition to gun control.”
After accounting for income, political ideology and education, researchers found “that for each one point increase (on a scale from one to five) in symbolic racism there was a 50 percent increase in the odds of having a gun in the home and a 28 percent increase in support for policies allowing people to carry concealed guns.”
Comment: For more on gun control and racism, see Why White Men Worship Guns and Gun Nuts Fear "Race War."