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Religions 2018, 9(6), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9060189

God and Guns: Examining Religious Influences on Gun Control Attitudes in the United States

Social and Behavioral Sciences Department, Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction, CO 81501, USA
Received: 12 May 2018 / Accepted: 6 June 2018 / Published: 14 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Crime: Theory, Research, and Practice)
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Abstract

Mass shootings in the United States have generated significant media coverage and public concern, invigorating debates over gun control. Media coverage and academic research on gun control attitudes and reactions to mass shootings have paid little attention to the role of religion. Recent research sheds light on the complex relationship between religion and guns, including higher rates of gun ownership and stronger opposition to gun control among white evangelical Protestants. Using nationally representative survey data, this study examines the relationship between religious identity, gun ownership, and support for a range of gun control policies, including proposed remedies for preventing mass shootings. Compared with individuals from other religious traditions, evangelical Protestants are most opposed to stricter gun control laws and enforcement, even with statistical controls for gun ownership and demographic characteristics. Rather, they favor individualistic solutions and putting more emphasis on religious values in their social surroundings. I discuss how these findings reflect the cultural tools evangelical Protestants use to construct their understandings of social problems, including gun violence, and the broader implications for gun policy in the United States. View Full-Text
Keywords: evangelical Protestants; Catholics; black Protestants; gun policy preferences; gun control; mass shootings evangelical Protestants; Catholics; black Protestants; gun policy preferences; gun control; mass shootings
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Merino, S.M. God and Guns: Examining Religious Influences on Gun Control Attitudes in the United States. Religions 2018, 9, 189.

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