Are Gun Owners More Racist?

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If there’s a gun in your house, you’re more likely to be racist, a new study suggests.

And if you support legislation to carry concealed weapons, you’re also more likely to be racist, researchers said in their work published in PLoS One.

Researchers decided to delve into the issue after mass shootings in the United States sparked new debates about gun control, and past research that has showed black Americans are more likely to be gun victims than white Americans.

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“For example, white Americans oppose gun control to a far greater extent than do black Americans, but whites are actually more likely to kill themselves with their guns than be killed by someone else. So why would you keep them?” researcher Kerry O’Brien said in a press release. “We decided to examine what social and psychological factors predict gun ownership and opposition to gun control.”

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To parse out the link between racism and guns, the researchers had to control for several other factors, including age, gender, income, education, and political ideology using data from the American National Election Study.

Still, for each one-point increase in anti-black racism (called symbolic racism), the odds of having a gun in the home jumped 50 percent. And supporting policies that allow for concealed guns rose 28 percent.

“Our results are a first step, but there needs to be more funding for empirical research around how racial biases may influence people’s policy decisions, and particularly those policies that impact on the health and well being of U.S. citizens,” O’Brien said.

Photo: iStockPhoto

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