Gun Owners and Gun Control: Shared Status, Divergent Opinions

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Gun Owners and Gun Control: Shared Status, Divergent Opinions

Category: Firearm Policies|Journal: Sociological Inquiry (full text)|Author: A Burton, C Jonson, F Cullen, J Pickett, M Logan, V Burton Jr.|Year: 2021

After each mass public shooting, an inevitable debate surrounding the tools used to carry out the attack ensues. This debate is marked by two sides: those who endorse controlling access to firearms and those who oppose restrictions to the Second Amendment. Implicit in this dialogue is the assumption that gun owners are a homogenous group who stand in opposition to the gun control legislation. Using a national sample of American gun-owning adults, we examine gun control attitudes among those who share the gun owner-status and uncover divergent views split down political lines. Political partisanship and values are a major source of gun owners’ policy preferences. Republican gun owners and those with rightward political values are more likely to oppose gun control measures. Gun control, it seems, is politicized even among those who own guns, which suggests guns are political symbols with a meaning that extends beyond mere self-interest in protecting ownership status.

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