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Table of Contents
Abstract â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.. 3
Introduction â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦…â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦. 3
Survey of the Literature â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦. 4
Summary and Conclusion
Lately, there seems to more debate on the issue of gun control than ever before. The goal of the researchers is to answer the question, â€œhow do political affiliation and gender effect attitudes towards Second Amendment Rights.â€ A survey was conducted using 100 students from the Sociology and Criminal Justice Department at a mid-size university. The researchers had three hypotheses. One is that Republicans will be more in favor of gun rights than Democrats. The other is that males will be more likely to support gun rights than females. Lastly, the researchers believe that irrespective of gender, Republicans will be more in favor of Second Amendment Rights than Democrats. All three hypotheses were found to be tenable.
College students are voting at a higher rate now than ever before. According to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (2018) college students voted at twice the rate in 2018 than in 2014. National Student Voting Rate increased 21 points, from 19.3% in 2014 to 40.3% in 2018 compared to just a 13-point increase in overall voting rate (National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, 2018). Because of this increase in turnout, college aged students can influence who is elected and therefor what type of policies are enacted. The researchers were curious to see how studentsâ€ view the idea of Second Amendment Rights, and how they could ultimately impact such a controversial topic.
Survey of the Literature
â€œA well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringedâ€ (U.S. Const. amend. II). These 27 words are all that make up the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Because it leaves so much room for interpretation, there has been great debate over the years as to what the Second Amendment actually guarantees. â€œOn one side of the duel are those that support the â€œindividual perspectiveâ€ thesis. On the other side of the duel are those that advocate the â€œcollective perspectiveâ€ thesis, which is associated with statesâ€ rightsâ€ (Martin, LaVan, Lopez, Naquin, & Katz, 2014, p. 6). The Legal Information Institute (LII) of Cornell Law School echoes the confusion mentioned by Martin et al.:
On the one hand, some believe that the Amendment’s phrase “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” creates an individual constitutional right for citizens of the United States. Under this “individual right theory,” the United States Constitution restricts legislative bodies from prohibiting firearm possession, or at the very least, the Amendment renders prohibitory and restrictive regulation presumptively unconstitutional. On the other hand, some scholars point to the prefatory language “a well regulated Militia” to argue that the Framers intended only to restrict Congress from legislating away a state’s right to self-defense. Scholars have come to call this theory “the collective rights theory.” A collective rights theory of the Second Amendment asserts that citizens do not have an individual right to possess guns and that local, state, and federal legislative bodies therefore possess the authority to regulate firearms without implicating a constitutional right.
These various interpretations of the law made it necessary for the United States Supreme Court to make clarifications. In 1939, the Supreme Court decided in United States v. Miller that a sawed off double barrel shotgun was not protected under the Second Amendment (Associated Press, 2018). Their decision was based on the fact that the shotgun did not have â€œsome reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated milita . . . .” (LII). The Court then explained that the Framers of the Constitution wrote the Second Amendment to ensure the effectiveness of the military (LII).
That precedent stood for nearly 70 years, until the decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. In District of Columbia v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Americans have a constitutional right to keep handguns and commonly used firearms in their homes for self-defense (Associated Press, 2018). The ruling struck down the District of Columbia’s 32-year handgun ban as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment (Associated Press, 2018). The Court decided that the Second Amendment established an individual right for U.S. citizens (LII) as opposed to the collective right established in United States v. Miller. The idea of individual rights under the Second Amendment was further strengthened by McDonald v. City of Chicago in which the Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms for self-defense as guaranteed under the Second Amendment as defined in Heller (McDonald v. City of Chicago, 2010). While the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment does in fact apply to individuals, there are still laws in place that can restrict certain aspects of gun ownership (Associated Press, 2018). According to LII, there are still some unanswered questions, like what scrutiny do courts apply to determine if a law involving firearms is unconstitutional. Because there are still some unanswered questions, there is still plenty of room for debate. Some people would like to see stricter gun laws in place, whereas others believe they violate their Second Amendment right. It is interesting to look at what factors play a role in how a person feels about Second Amendment rights.
One important factor to consider when examining attitudes towards Americanâ€s Second Amendment Rights is the political identification of the individual. More specifically, whether the individual identifies as a Democrat or Republican. Not much research could be found on third party attitudes or attitudes of those that do not identify with any political party at all. Republicans are more likely to be in favor of Second Amendment Rights as opposed to Democrats (Celinska, 2007; Joselyn, Haider-Markel, Baggs, & Bilbo, 2017; Lindaman & Haider-Markel, 2002).
Celinska takes a look at the relationship between individualism and collectivism and attitudes towards gun control. Individualism is the social theory that favors self-reliance and freedom of action for individuals over state control or collectivism (Celinska, 2007, p. 231). Collectivism espouses the sharing of resources, and if necessary, relying on the government for the fair and just distribution of resources (Celinska, 2007, p. 230). Celinska makes the connection between Americaâ€s long history of gun ownership and individualism. The typical gun owner, and therefore the typical opponent of gun control, is a White, middle class, Republican male who resides primarily in rural areas in the South (Celinska, 2007, p. 232). The typical proponent of gun control is a Democratic female, who resides in urban areas, and more specifically the Northeast (Celinska, 2007, p.234).
Lindaman and Haider-Markel did a study involving the opinions of the elites and masses within the Democratic and Republican parties on several different topics, one of which being gun control. According to Lindaman and Haider-Markel (2002, p.101), in 1970, 30 percent of Democratic elites were in favor of gun control. In 1999, that number rose to 84 percent. The Republican support of gun control rose at a much lower rate, from just 5 percent in 1970 to 34 percent in 1999. From 1970 to 1989, there was an average 27 percent difference in partisan pro-gun control scores and after 1989 party polarization grew even more rapidly, averaging a 51 percent difference from 1990 to 1999. They clearly show a relationship between the Republican and Democratic parties and their stance on gun control.
Lastly, Joselyn, Haider-Markel, Baggs, & Bilbo did a study to see if gun ownership could be used as a predictor for vote preference. They believed that the division between gun owners and non-gun owners would reflect their political identity. Using data from the General Social Survey (1972â€“2012) they examined when the difference between gun owners and non-gun owners began to shape the political behavior of the two groups by analyzing voting patterns in presidential elections. They found that since the 1970s, possessing a firearm increases the likelihood of voting for Republican candidates (Joselyn et al., 2017). They also found that the impact of gun ownership on the likelihood of voting for a Republican candidate increased across elections, reaching a level in 2012 nearly 50 percent higher than in 1972 (Joselyn et al., 2017). Joselyn et al. (2017) also found the following when examining the two most recent voting patterns at the time of the research:
Since the 2000 election, support for Republican candidates has declined among both gun and non-gun homes but mostly among non-gun homes. In 2000, approximately 65 percent of gun homes supported George Bush compared to 47 percent of non-gun homes. In 2012, Romney attracted 56 percent of gun homes, dropping nine points, while non-gun homesâ€ support fell 21 points to 25.9 percent. The overall mean support from gun homes is 57.4 percent and non-gun homes 40.9 percent.
Joselyn et al. demonstrated that gun owners and non-gun owners select candidates based in part on their commitment to guns and exposure to gun culture. Since the 1970s, gun and non-gun owners exhibited an increasing tendency to differ in their vote choice (Joselyn et al, 2017).
Gender is either of the two sexes i.e., male or female. It is mostly used in issues to do with culture, responsibilities, or even identification with particular roles. This section will compare gender issues as represented in several articles and how the issue of gender relates to the attitude of ownership of guns. First forward, the articles represent women as an audience most under-engaged in the topic of gun ownership, implying that women are the least people to associate with issues of gun usage and even ownership. As such, studies done with women are bound to give different or similar results as it shall be revealed by the analysis of the various articles later in this paper.
According to Mosher and John, opinion polls that were conducted showed that women favored gun regulation to a greater extent as compared to the men (Goss, pg. 16). The article represents women as ones who are far less likely to like it when families own and keep firearms in their homes. While the idea of women not favoring ownership of firearms holds, males ownership of firearms has been on the decrease at some point, as indicated by the article authored by smith and son (45). On the same note households headed by women are reported to be on the increase. Those two observations ushered in the campaign for involving women in the issues to do with ownership of guns. The article gives an example of the National Rifles Association that is said to have “launched women’s issues division and a “refuse to be victim” campaign in the early 1990s”. It has advanced its operations in trying to champion the involvement of women in the issues to the point that today it sponsors women-only firearms training programs within the country. In a more comprehensive analysis of the situations a statistical analysis was used where data were collected and statistically analyzed. The results showed that â€œbeing female is an independently powerful predictor of supporting gun regulation, even after controlling for other variables (e.g., race, region, gun in-home) that are also associated with gun policy beliefs.” The opposite is also exact considering the results of the statistical analysis. Men highly discourage gun regulation. These findings then support the thought that gender is a very big variable to predict gun views (Goss et al., 2017).
This article indicates that despite the negative relationship between women and gun ownership with time due to increased single mothers and increased household head mothers, the ownership of guns amongst women has highly increased. The fact can be supported by the proposition that women have started realizing the importance of self-defense.
Looking at another article that still addresses the issue of gender and gun ownership, we get to learn that the National Rifles Association started publishing a magazine named Women and Guns in the year 1989. The championing for Women to own Guns coincided with their “refuse to become victims” that targeted at attaining self-defense. The above-indicated efforts brought forth the growth of women’s ownership of guns through 1992. While the debate on gun controls are becoming severe issues those that are against gun regulations argue that if rules are put, then the women are more likely to suffer. The main reason for their take is that the women will require guns so as defend themselves against the men attackers (Pattern et al., 2013).
Again in this article, the authors developed some hypothesis statements regarding the issue of gender and concealed gun ownership and data was collected. They statistically analyzed it and on interpreting the data they argued that the results were in full support of the hypotheses. They found out that overall women respondents were totally against private students carrying concealed guns as they felt insecure. They also vividly bring to our understanding how the women in the school stand out to oppose the possession of concealed weapons when their fellow women get sexually assaulted, an action that had been the primary argument for the supporters of concealed gun possession. The overall conclusion from this study is that the results of the study strongly supported the propositions by the other reviews by indicating that women on the campus for whatever reasons were totally against private citizens carrying concealed guns (Pattern et al., 2013).
Yet another study that seeks to shed light on the issue of gender and the attitude to own guns indicate that gun ownership has potent psychological effects more especially to those that do not own a gun. The authors of this third article found out that in a study involving 2500 randomly selected adults, Miller, Azrael, and Hemenway (2000), 80% felt that they were safe or less safe when others had guns. They stated that for every individual who felt safe when others held arms three other individuals felt less secure while others were holding the guns. Overall, the article has it that more guns in a community regardless of who owns makes everyone feel less safe (Pattern et al., 2013).
This article has also been used by the authors to represent a study that was carried to see the response as it regards the carrying of concealed guns by qualified people on the campus. The results indicated that 82% of the women respondents were against eligible persons to be allowed to carry guns on campuses. 83% would not feel safer with more concealed firearms in the college even when carried by individuals who are qualified (Pattern et al., 2013).
I have looked keenly at work presented by the three authors of the different articles featured in this paper and one observation comes out very clearly. The inspection is that women are totally against people owning guns in their vicinity. The above is with total disregard of whether it is for their benefit or not. The three authors then bring to the conclusion that irrespective of the beneficiary or who is carrying the gun women have a negative attitude towards the possession of concealed firearms in their residential areas or even the learning institutions.
Even though personal protection is cited as the primary cause of owning a gun, research has shown out that firearm ownership confers significant risks to loved ones as they are more likely to be killed when there is a gun in the house. Current research has suggested that owning a firearm has been identified as been less safe as it has increased suicide rates especially among youths. Moreover, it has been determined that household firearms have increased the lethality of domestic violence. Most of the residents of states having a high level of gun ownership are likely to be shot dead by a family member or intimate partner. The need for firearm removal can be an effective way to protect victims of domestic violence.
Prickett et al. (2018), in her study, examines the association that exists between state laws that prohibit firearm ownership for offenders that have been convicted with domestic violence and property in two-parent families that had a high level of arrest histories. According to this study, it articulates that around 4-5% of people in the United States experience physical violence while in their relationships, and the results of the conflicts have contributed to more significant health results for individuals. A presence of firearms in a household have been considered to have increased a high level of worst incidences; hence, the partners might end up killing each other. Firearms pose a danger as in the last few years; people have been killed through firearms when relationships go astray. The severe threat posed by guns in households calls foe for a more significant concern of firearm legislation.
Various legislations have been identified such as Domestic Violence Offenders Gun Ban, which specifies that legislation of guns between one state to the other impacts local-level action. The rules have legislations that prevent firearm access between people that have in the past involved themselves in domestic violence or who are under domestic violence, which can be done through removing firearms from their homes or prohibiting ownership of their guns. Kate et al., 2012 highlight that increased use of weapons results in high death, and fewer guns mean fewer deaths. Homicide has increased for families that have access to firearms. The results of the study have created more analysis for the need to understand the need for firearms across diverse social and relational dynamics that imply that guns create fatal violence among individuals. The number of deaths caused by gun violence has continued to rise in the United States, and the potential causes need to be identified. The study has pointed out that there is an association between state-level gun ownership and firearm mortality rates, such as suicide s and homicide. The study speculates that guns have a high risk as they cause homicide rates and are relatively specific to domestic homicides, which was identified as a homicide caused by a family member or intimate partner.
Cretacci, 2017 is a study based on the argument that gun ownership in the United States is somewhat explained in terms of gun culture transmission from one generation to the other. The studyâ€s findings define that the cultural experiences that surround gun ownership as an adolescent has increased the likelihood that firearms are owned as adults. In general terms, evidence has shown out that cultural firearm transmission across cultures and generations may have a long-lasting effect on the need for owning firearms as an adult in the United States. Noteworthy, the impact does not seem to be dependent on the presence of male adults in the household. The experience of growing in a homestead that has guns seems to increase the firearm likelihood owned by adults in the United States. The study findings indicate that adolescence cultural experience have a significant impact on gun ownership in the United States. Documentation of this relationship is seen to assist future researchers on the controversies that exist on gun ownership.
An examination of the issues on gun ownership will play an essential role in addressing firearm-related issues. Cao et al., 1997 on the social determinants of gun ownership, identify the needs of gun ownership and why individuals have them. For example, because of peopleâ€s income level, there is a likelihood of gun ownership because many people use it as a way of personal protection. Firearms are expensive to purchase, and the possibility of obtaining them is limited only to individuals who have a high income. Moreover, gun ownership is based on social learning. Many people who have access to guns have interacted with the guns and noted how they could be applied within the environment. People who possess guns have been trained on how to use the weapons and also have been able to understand their values.
Moreover, gun ownership is linked to adult experiences, for example, being in the military or interacting with a family that has firearms. The gender gap between males and females has existed in terms of who should own a gun. The study concludes that protective ownership is linked to crime-related issues.
In conclusion, household gun ownership has created increased domestic violence and homicide. While gun ownership may be for protection purposes, limiting its access to specific individuals can be a way to reduce murder and other related issues of violence.
The question the researches are seeking to answer is how do political affiliation and gender impact views on Second Amendment Rights? The population surveyed for this study is William Paterson students in the Sociology and Criminal Justice Department. A sample of 100 students was taken from the Sociology and Criminal Justice department using simple random sampling.
The independent variable used was political affiliation, the dependent variable used was attitude towards Second Amendment rights, and the test variable was gender. The researchers had three hypotheses to test: Republicans will be more in favor of Second Amendment rights than Democrats, males will be more likely to support Second Amendment Rights than females, and lastly, irrespective of gender, Republicans will be more in favor of Second Amendment rights than Democrats.
Results are found in the tables below.
Support by Political Party
FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT
In support of Second Amendment Rights
Against Second Amendment Rights
Support by Gender
FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT
In support of Second Amendment Rights
Against Second Amendment Rights
Support by Political Party and Gender
FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT FILLER TEXT
In support of Second Amendment Rights
Against Second Amendment Rights
The researchers tested three hypotheses. One was that Republicans would be more in favor of Second Amendment rights than Democrats. The other was that males would be more likely to support Second Amendment rights than females. The last was that irrespective of gender, Republicans would be more supportive of Second Amendment rights than Democrats. All three hypotheses were found to be tenable.
One theory that supports these findings is the theory of individualism. As stated earlier, individualism is the social theory that favors self-reliance and freedom of action for individuals over state control or collectivism (Celinska, 2007, p. 231). According to RepublicanViews (2014):
The core beliefs of the Republican Party are centered on the idea that each person is responsible for their own place within society. The party believes that the governmentâ€s role is to enable the people to secure the benefits of society for themselves, their families, and for those who are unable to do so for themselves. Republicans believe in limiting the Governmentâ€s intervention in the work of the individual towards prosperity. The government should only intervene when society cannot function at the level of the individual.
That ideology fits the definition of individualism. Because gun rights can be viewed as a personal liberty, it can be seen why Republicans would be more in favor of said rights.
Summary and Conclusion
Patten, Ryan; Thomas, Matthew O; Viotti, Paul. Race, Gender & Class; New Orleans Vol. 20, Iss. 3/4, (2013): 269-290.
Goss, Kristin A. Social Science Quarterly; Oxford Vol. 98, Iss. 2, (Jun 2017): 455-470. DOI:10.1111/ssqu.12419
Mosher, John. Perspectives on Political Science; Philadelphia Vol. 30, Iss. 2, (Spring 2001): 108.
Cao, L., Cullen, F. T., & Link, B. G. (1997). The social determinants of gun ownership: Self?protection in an urban environment. Criminology, 35(4), 629-658.
Cretacci, M. A., & Hendrix, N. (2017). Close range: adolescent predictors of adult firearms ownership in the United States. International journal of criminal justice sciences, 12(2), 285-301.
Prickett, K. C., Martin-Storey, A., & Crosnoe, R. (2018). Firearm ownership in high-conflict families: differences according to state laws restricting firearms to misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence offenders. Journal of family violence, 33(5), 297-313.
Kates, D. B., & Mauser, G. (2007). Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide-A Review of International and Some Domestic Evidence. Harv. JL & Pub. Pol’y, 30, 649.
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