Deadly but protective: Americans’ unique perception of weapons

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Deadly but protective: Americans’ unique perception of weapons

Category: Behavior, Defensive Gun Use, International|Journal: Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology|Author: A Baka, A Gomez, A Rivera-Rodriguez, F Martel, J Rottman, S Cros, S Syropoulos|Year: 2021

Global levels of violence are declining, yet gun violence and other instances of instrumental violence still occur. While previous research has examined motivations for owning firearms, cognition about firearms—and in particular, perceptions of weapons as affording safety or as affording danger—has remained largely unexplored. We conducted a cross-national mixed-methods investigation involving the United States and three European countries (France, Spain, and Greece). Our findings indicated that Americans perceived weapons (assault rifle, handgun, hunting rifle, combat knife) as more protective and less dangerous than their European counterparts. These differential perceptions have implications for understanding variations in worldwide rates of violence.

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