With mass shootings occurring with frightening regularity, research into gun ownership behavior is becoming increasingly important for public policy creation and public safety. While extant research tells us that firearm ownership is woven deep into the historical fabric of American culture, scholarship has yet to fully explore predictors for gun ownership. Employing 2015 Pew Research Center political survey data, this study examines the predictive effects of birth cohort, political ideology, and attitudes towards gun control legislation on gun ownership, with and without controls, using hierarchical binary logistic regression models. The presented models examine three separate cohorts: The Millennials, Generation X, and the Baby Boomers. Findings reveal that Millennials, liberal political ideology, attitudes which stress the importance of controlling, as opposed to protecting, gun ownership are significantly less likely to own a firearm. Furthermore, gender, household income, population density, southern residency, and race were also found to significantly influence gun ownership. Implications, limitations, and recommendations for future research are also discussed. While this research cannot perfectly predict individual gun ownership, it does effectively highlight several important facts to consider. From the fog of media speculation, political grandstanding, and overly simplistic and unwarranted assumptions, the results of this study bring into full view the inherent complexity of American gun ownership.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Adams, Jared, "Predicting Gun Ownership in America: Birth Cohort, Political Views, and Attitudes Towards Gun Control Legislation" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5551.