Survey on Guns, Racist Beliefs 'Silly' to Some; Answers Tallied about Attitudes toward Black People

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 6, 2013 | Go to article overview

Survey on Guns, Racist Beliefs 'Silly' to Some; Answers Tallied about Attitudes toward Black People


Byline: Andrea Noble, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Are gun ownership and racism linked?

Researchers have found that the more racist beliefs held by a white person, the more likely the person is to own a gun - conclusions that have rankled gun rights advocates.

A team led by Kerry O'Brien, of Monash University in Australia and The University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, examined white Americans' negative perceptions about blacks and compared the rates of both gun ownership and opposition to gun control to discover the correlations.

Researchers based their conclusions on the results of a multiple-choice questionnaire that measured responses to a series of statements about attitudes toward black people. The more strongly a person agreed with a statement, the more points they accumulated.

The total points were then averaged to come up with a score between one and five that determined symbolic racism. Researchers found that the more points a person accumulated, the greater their chances of owning a gun and of opposing gun control.

The report, published in the peer-reviewed online publication PLoS One, said that for each one-point increase 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.

While symbolic racism, which is a subtle but modern measure of anti-black racism, was associated with higher rates of gun ownership, researchers also attempted to identify signs of overt racism, which did not appear to have any correlation to gun ownership.

The study used data collected through the American National Election Studies - an academically run survey of U.S. voters - but only sought to measure white respondents beliefs, since whites have been found far more likely than blacks to oppose gun control measures. …

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