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Racism linked with gun ownership and opposition to gun control in white Americans

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Posted November 4, 2013

A new study has found that higher levels of racism in white Americans is associated with having a gun in the home and greater opposition to gun control policies.

 

The research, published in PLoS One, was led by Dr Kerry O’Brien from The University of Manchester and Monash University and used data from a large representative sample of white US voters.

After accounting for numerous other factors such as income, education and political ideology, the 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.

Each one point increase in symbolic racism (a modern measure of anti-black racism) was also associated with a 27 percent increase in the odds of opposing bans on hand guns in the home. After accounting for those who already had a gun in the home, the odds were reduced to a non-significant 17 percent increase. However, the authors note that this reduction is unsurprising as opposition to bans on guns equates to self interest on behalf of those who already own a gun and do not wish to give it up. And racism was already strongly associated with having a gun in the home.

The research was stimulated by gun control debates in the US after mass shootings such as the Sandy Hook tragedy, and research showing that with all things being equal black Americans are more likely to be shot than whites. The most recent figures show that there are approximately 38,000 gun related deaths in the US each year. With other research suggesting that having a gun in the home is related to a 2.7 and 4.8 fold increase in the risk of a member of that home dying from homicide or suicide, respectively.

Read more at: Phys.org

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