Guns

Study: Race And Gender Impact Views On Whether Someone Should Own A Gun

White Republicans were more likely to be supportive of gun ownership overall — except if the person with a gun is a Black man.
 

New research from Rice University found that race and gender play a role in whether white people think someone has a right to own a gun.

Researchers asked white Republicans and Democrats about who has the right to own a firearm. White Republicans were more likely to be supportive of gun ownership overall — except if the person with a gun is a Black man.

Rice researcher Matthew Hayes said he wasn’t surprised by the finding, pointing to the history of gun control laws in the United States.

“The earliest modern gun control laws were passed by Republicans in California in response to the Black Panther Party’s open carry of firearms,” Hayes said. “For a long time in this country the idea of Black men with guns as being a threat has been integral to the early enactment of gun control laws.”

In the study, white Democrats did not single out Black men — but they did favor women’s gun ownership.

“What we find is more of a gender effect where Democrats are more supportive of Black women and white women owning guns than they are of men of either race,” he said. “And they're most supportive of white women owning guns.”

Hayes said he hoped the research would serve as a reminder to policy makers that their constituents may support certain policies because of who they impact — not the policies themselves.

“In the present political moment it’s important to keep in mind that ordinary citizen support for what we would think of as sacrosanct rights are not that firm,” Hayes said. “So it’s important for us to reinforce these rights than rather to infringe on them.”

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Elizabeth Trovall

Elizabeth Trovall

Immigration Reporter

Elizabeth Trovall is an immigration reporter for Houston Public Media. She joined the News 88.7 team after several years abroad in Santiago, Chile, where she reported on business, energy, politics and culture. Trovall's work has been featured on NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Marketplace, Here and Now, Latino...

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