Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters
Why do Americans Report a Greater Fear of Government Restrictions on Firearms than in Years Prior?
Dr. Ann Gordon
In recent years, studies have shown that support for increased gun control legislation has decreased to its lowest point in nearly a decade and yearly gun sales have approached record numbers. Statistical data found in the Chapman Survey of American Fears suggests that over the past three years, the percentage of Americans who fear government restrictions on firearms has dramatically increased. In this project, I examine this dramatic shift in sentiments and identify the racial, ethnic, and religious demographics which are driving these evolving sentiments on firearm regulations. Upon observing responses given in the most recent survey as well as the previous survey conducted in 2019, I discover a relationship between both race and religious affiliation and the observed increase in fear of government restrictions on firearms. According to the data, both Asian Americans and Jewish Americans report a significantly higher fear in government restrictions on firearms in 2021 than in 2019. Further, Black Americans and Hispanic Americans report a moderately higher fear in government restrictions on firearms in 2021 than in 2019. I infer that this relationship can be explained by the recent spike in hate crimes and prevalence of police brutality and civil unrest since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the extent to which support for gun control has declined and gun sales have increased have been studied, the breakdown of demographics driving these changes and the reasons for such are yet to be studied. By delving into this realm, my research findings will explain why certain groups have felt the need in recent years to purchase firearms and why they now express fear of firearm restrictions to a greater extent than in years prior. Reflecting upon these findings may allow us to make greater strides toward making people feel safe in American society.
Oppenheim, Ethan, "Why do Americans Report a Greater Fear of Government Restrictions on Firearms than in Years Prior?" (2022). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 530.
Presented at the Spring 2022 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.