Public News Service
Texas – A new study on gun culture finds that a small, but influential group of Americans sees guns not as a problem, but as a way to solve a problem.
The report, published in the journal Social Problems, analyzed gun owners in Texas and across the U.S. by factors such as sex, race, religion and economic status and looked at each group’s affinity for weapons.
Report co-author Paul Froese, a Baylor University sociology professor, says the survey found that one segment of owners has the strongest emotional attachment to their guns.
“White men who aren’t very religious and who own guns tend to have a very strong connection to gun ownership – makes them feel patriotic and makes them feel strong,” he explains. “This increases dramatically based on economic problems they faced in their lives.”
Froese says the report found that gun owners are, on average, more likely to be white, male, married, older and rural, and have good incomes but less education. He says it found them to be politically conservative and more alienated from society. Those who are most empowered by guns said they give them a sense of power and control over their lives.
The report also discovered that, in answer to a series of questions, women and minorities do not place as much importance on their firearms.
“Based on those questions, you get a ‘Gun Empowerment Score,'” he notes. “People who are higher would be seemingly more emotionally attached to having guns and people who are low would not.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Froese says some men often equate gun ownership with patriotism, and would not hesitate to use them against the authorities.
“White males who own guns and feel very attached to guns are the group most likely to say, ‘Yeah, you can fight the U.S. government with violence,'” he adds. “‘It can be morally appropriate to do that.'”
Research used in the report came from a survey of about 1,600 respondents in the 48 states and was conducted in 2014 by the Gallup organization.