In this study, we examine how attitudes about race, as well as ethno-racial identities, influence support for various gun regulation policies. Drawing on the Racial Resentment and identity politics literature, we argue that attitudes about gun control are not simply driven by ideological, partisan, or demographic factors, but are often influenced by attitudes about race and identity, and region.
Using data from a 2016 national survey of White, African American, and Hispanic/Latinx respondents, along with a comparable southern sample, we test for the effects of ethno-racial identity, Racial Resentment, evaluations of the Black Lives Matter movement, and feelings about African Americans on individuals’ attitudes about background checks and banning assault weapons. Using the 2016 American National Election Study, we test the generalizability of these findings in the presence of additional controls.
Overall, we find that attitudes about race, ethno-racial identities, and in some cases regional variations, help explain support for gun regulation policies.