Five myths about guns

Guns — as tools of security, as instruments of violence — shape the lives of millions of Americans. Gun purchasing surged in 2020 — and so did gun crime. After three high-profile mass shootings within two weeks in March, debates surrounding firearms are intensifying once again. Yet despite their centrality in our personal and political lives, myths about guns are widespread. Imagine the “typical” gun owner. If you know the demographics, you’ll probably picture a White, conservative guy who lives in the South, the West or the Midwest. Gun owners, as a political bloc, are much more likely to vote Republican. Republicans often promote the partisan stereotype, as when Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) strapped a Glock to her hip as she challenged Democrats to let her bring a gun into the Capitol. Headlines that ask “ Why Are Conservatives So Obsessed with Guns ?” further reinforce this impression about gun owners’ political identities. In fact, liberal gun owners make up roughly 1 in 5 gun owners — as the sociologists David Yamane, Jesse DeDeyne and Alonso Octavio Aravena Méndez explore in a recent study . The researchers found that these gun owners are even more likely to own guns for self-defense than conservative gun owners (who also primarily own guns for self-defense). The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents the firearms industry, estimated that 8.4 million people purchased a gun for the first time in 2020. Interestingly, newer gun owners are more likely to identify as liberal than long-standing […]

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