Book

The gun gap (2020)

the influence of gun ownership on political behavior and attitudes

in: Oxford scholarship online

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Abstract

To understand public opinion and political behaviour, researchers typically sort people by self-identified groupings such as party identification, race, gender, education, and income. This book advances gun owners as a new classification. It demonstrates a "gun gap," which captures the differences between gun owners and nonowners, and shows how this gap improves conventional models of political behaviour. The gun gap in fact represents an important explanation for voter choice, voter turnout, perceptions of personal and public safety, preferences for gun control policies, and support for the death penalty. Moreover, the gun gap is growing. The 2016 presidential election witnessed the largest recorded gun gap in history. The gun gap in voter choice was nearly three times larger in 2016 than the gender gap, and it exceeded age and education gaps by notable margins.