Here I engage the 5th of the model’s 5 points: That something other than objective risk motivates defensive gun ownership.
From a sociological perspective, that something else centers on the discipline’s Holy Trinity: class, gender, and race. From a psychological perspective, defensive gun ownership is a maladaptive coping mechanism.
Links to the first five videos in the series are below.
There is a lot of anecdata floating around about how anti-Asian discrimination increased during the pandemic (think of people taking the “China virus” and “kung flu” language to the next outgroup level), and that this led to unprecedented gun buying among Asian Americans.
Of course, without historical data, we can’t really speak to “precedent,” but these scholars find that 6.0% of respondents said they purchased a gun during COVID and another 11.2% said they intended to purchase a gun. Of the 6% of COVID gun buyers, 54.6% were first-time gun buyers.
Here I engage the third of the model’s 6 points, offering my own take on guns as a risk factor that tries to navigate between the “YES THEY ARE” and “NO THEY’RE NOT” that too often characterizes discussion of the issue.
Links to videos 1 (Light Over Heat #41) and 2 (Light Over Heat #42) and 3 (Light Over Heat #43) are below.
The model has 6 points, and in this 3rd video, I discuss point 3: how guns are seen to add risk of negative outcomes.
Links to videos 1 (Light Over Heat #41) and 2 (Light Over Heat #42) are below.
ACADEMIC TRIGGER WARNING: I got carried away discussing the methods employed in public health research on guns as a risk factor (I am a professor, after all), so this video is longer and more tedious than average. AND I also took the last third of the video in which I critique the public health research and put it in a separate video that will run next week.
A colleague, Ryan Jerome Lecount of Hamline University, pointed me to a recently published study of how race, support for Black Lives Matter, and gun ownership shape people’s views of protesters at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
The results are interesting and complex and complement a few previous videos on this channel (see below).
I’m interested to hear others’ thoughts on these findings, particularly whether the findings seem generalizable from this limited sample.
Because most analyses of gun advertising are impressionistic (and politically motivated), I get quite a few calls from the media about it. Although I welcome the opportunity to correct misunderstandings about the content and effect of gun ads (e.g., Bushmaster’s “Man Card” campaign), I welcome even more a recent “call for papers” I received from a marketing professor, Terrence Witkowski.
Witkowski is guest editing a special issue of the Journal of Macromarketing on “Firearm Markets, Marketing, and Society.” See the full call for papers. The submission deadline is 28 February 2023.
Today NPR and Ipsos released the results of a KnowledgePanel poll of 1,022 adults who own at least one gun. It was conducted from June 15 to 21 in the wake of the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde. The margin of error is +/- 3.3 percentage points.
There are a number of interesting findings, but here I want to highlight just two of them.
In light of my recent argument that we should retire the NRA slogan, “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” I was interested to see gun owners split pretty evenly on whether they agree with the statement. 51% of all gun owners agree with the statement, but as the survey shows for various beliefs and attitudes, there is a stark partisan divide: fully 69% of Republican gun owners agree, but only 19% of Democrat gun owners, with Independent gun owners leaning more toward the Democrat side than the Republican, with 44% agreeing.
In his excellent book, The Gun Gap, political scientist Mark Joslyn highlights the ways in which gun owners and non-owners live in very different social worlds. For example, non-owners are much more likely than owners to say none of their friends own guns.
Unfortunately, one of the few times these different social worlds come together is in the wake of horrific mass murders. This is probably the worst possible time for people to try to grasp a reality with which they are unfamiliar.
As the age at which American adults ought to be able to buy firearms is being discussed in the wake of Buffalo and Uvalde, I want to point to some data on the age at which Americans actually get their first guns.
TL:DR (1) For respondents who say they currently or have ever owned a gun, the average age is 22. (2) Men acquire their first gun at age 19 and women at age 27, on average. (3) 37 percent of those who currently or have ever owned guns first got their own gun when they were under 18 years of age.
The data comes from the Pew Research Center’s 2017 report, America’s Complex Relationship With Guns. I doubt these numbers have shifted much in the past 5 years, but if you know of more recent data on this point, please let me know in the comments or by using the contact form or email me.