The devil made me do it Belief in supernatural evil is a strong predictor of pro-gun beliefs

The devil made me do it Belief in supernatural evil is a strong predictor of pro-gun beliefs

AMERICA’S CLAIM to exceptionalism is undeniable when it comes to gun culture. Its residents own 46% of the world’s 860m civilian-held guns, according to Small Arms Survey, a Geneva-based research outfit. There are 120.5 firearms per 100 American residents—more than twice the number of second-place Yemen, a country at war. In a Gallup poll 40% of gunslingingers said they owned weapons for hunting. But what explains support for less mainstream pro-gun views such as arming teachers and carrying weapons in public? A recent study by Christopher Ellison, Benjamin Dowd-Arrow, Amy Burdette and three other sociologists delves into an important but overlooked motivating factor that highlights the role of religion. A survey of 1,572 American adults found that, apart from religious denomination or religious conservatism, belief in the devil, demons and hell is a strong predictor of eight pro-gun beliefs, including arming teachers, carrying concealed firearms and bearing high-capacity defensive weapons. A Catholic who believes in supernatural evil is more likely to hold pro-gun views than a Protestant who does not believe that Satan is corrupting souls, and vice versa. The analysis, which controls for political ideology and other demographic factors, found that each step up on a four-point scale measuring the strength of belief in supernatural evil correlated with 32% more support for arming teachers, and a 38% rise in backing for carrying concealed weapons. The effect of belief in supernatural evil on support for the right to carry concealed guns was roughly the same as having conservative politics […]

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