The Psychosocial Ecology of Gun Ownership in the United States: Examining Factors that Affect People’s Willingness to Buy or Own Firearms

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The Psychosocial Ecology of Gun Ownership in the United States: Examining Factors that Affect People’s Willingness to Buy or Own Firearms

Category: Behavior|Journal: Athens Journal of Social Sciences (full text)|Author: A Avdija|Year: 2019

This research study examines the effects of environmental factors (e.g., location of residency), psychological factors (e.g., fear of crime, fear of victimization), and social factors (e.g., parents gun ownership status, income, education) on gun ownership and the decision to buy guns in the United States. It also examines the typical reasons for owning firearms, and provides an estimate of firearms in American households. The analyses are based on two data sets: one from a national representative sample of 2568 private gun owners and non-gun owners in the United States, and one from a sample of 317 household representatives in the State of Indiana. The research findings that emerged from this study show that the strongest predictor of gun ownership in the United States is farm-country location of residency, indicating that the respondents who lived in the farm-country were almost 4 times more likely to own guns and 3 times more likely to buy guns compared to other residency locations (e.g., large cities). The second strongest predictor is parents gun ownership status, indicating that if the parents of the respondents owned guns, then they were almost 3 times more likely to own guns and 2 times more likely to buy guns compared to other counterparts. The decision to buy guns is strongly influenced by the veteran status and respondents’ race. This study shows that whites own more guns than blacks and Hispanics, but blacks and Hispanics are more willing to buy guns compared to whites. The primary reason for owning guns, on the other hand, is for hunting. Selfdefense comes second, and owning guns for sports is ranked third on the list of reasons. In terms of an estimated number of firearms in American households, this study show that 90.3% of household reported having at least one firearm in their homes, and 71.2% of household reported having multiple firearms (6 or more) in their homes.

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