Gun Owners

Playing the race card on American gun owners

by Deborah S. Ayer,  |  published on November 18, 2013

A group of researchers from the University of Queensland, Australia released a study titled “Racism, Gun Ownership and Gun Control: Biased Attitudes in US Whites May Influence Policy Decisions” on October 31, 2013. According to this study there is a great correlation between white gun ownership in the United States and racism against blacks. The researchers go out of their way to reaffirm their hypothesis by using questionable data, contradiction, stereotypes, and adjusting variables until they get the desired result. The hypothesis put forth claims that since more whites own guns and are willing to protect gun rights at a greater instance than blacks, they claim whites owning a gun for self-protection is false. According to their studies, the real reason why whites own guns is their fear of blacks and the stereotype that blacks are more violent. The study goes on to claim that white gun owners suffer from symbolic racism and the study even goes as far as claiming gun ownership will eventually make a white person become a racist.

This study relied on the information gathered from the American National Election Study (ANES) to come to their conclusion. The researchers opted to pick a group of people that met a certain demographic; white, male, conservative, gun owner, anti-government sentiment, southerner, etc., and observed the answers to the race related questions given by ANES. The study found that the mean scores for symbolic racism were considerably below the midpoint of scoring. But after adjusting for all explanatory variables they got the desired results to prove that white conservative male gun owners are racist and are impeding gun control measures.

This study is full of stereotypes such as claiming that conservative ideologies and racism is inherently related. It also goes to prove that racism is hindering gun control legislation by pointing to the Mulford Act signed by Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1967. Yes, they use a gun control law to prove that white conservatives are racist and preventing the enactment of gun control laws. Let that sink in for a moment. The most absurd part is this study claims that an Implicit Association Test (IAT) produced data that showed racism measures predicted the opposition of The Affordable Care Act (ACA); a.k.a. Obamacare.

The introduction to this study cites the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary and the shootings at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado as the public health importance of gun reform. The problem with citing those two examples in a study that “proves” gun owners are racist is the shooters in both of those tragedies did not target blacks. The introduction continues by pointing out that black Americans are disproportionately represented in firearm homicides. What it fails to point out is a majority of the homicides are black on black crimes. According to the 2011 FBI Crime Report, out of 2,695 black victims of homicide; whites only account for 193 homicides against said victims. But that won’t stop people from trying to dismiss black on black crimes. In a July 15th column, Jamelle Bouie claims that black on black crime is a myth. Ms. Bouie says:

There’s no such thing as “black-on-black” crime. Yes, from 1976 to 2005, 94 percent of black victims were killed by black offenders, but that racial exclusivity was also true for white victims of violent crime—86 percent were killed by white offenders.

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