For racially biased conservative Whites, owning a gun is just part of being a good citizen

With two mass shootings in one week , in Georgia and Colorado, the United States is again discussing how to prevent gun violence. Within hours of the Boulder shooting, President Biden urged Congress to enact a ban on assault-style weapons. Recent history suggests that no such law will materialize. Studies find that gun rights supporters are highly politically organized and unwavering on their views, while gun regulation supporters are not . Our research found a reason for this difference: racial differences in rates of gun ownership and beliefs about guns. White Americans are far more likely than any other group to own firearms and oppose gun regulations. To them, guns are potent political symbols. For many people, especially White Americans, guns are integral to who they are as citizens and what it means to be a good citizen . This link between good citizenship and bearing arms is not new: Historians find that this conceptual coupling developed during the American Revolution, if not earlier. During this time, Americans came to think of good citizenship as involving both political participation and military readiness to protect against domestic tyrants and external enemies. Both dimensions of citizenship — voting and serving in combat — were reserved for White men well into the 20th century (women were enfranchised in 1920 and began to serve in combat in 2015 ), even though African Americans served in every U.S. war. Gun violence prevention advocates tend to think about guns in terms of preventing violence and […]

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