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4% of that group favored current policies. However, support for the current policies grew in the senior group, with 41.2% of people over age 65 supporting the current gun control policies.
Gender was one area where stereotypes proved to be very reliable at predicting a person's attitude towards gun control. The hypothesis was that females would be much greater advocates of gun control than men, and the results reflected that they were. Males were more than three times as likely to believe it should be easier to acquire a gun than females were; 5.7% of males held that belief compared to 1.8% of women. Males were also more likely to be content with the current gun control policy, as almost half of all males, 49%, believed that the current policy should remain unchanged. In contrast, only 33% of females believed that the current policy should remain unchanged. 65.2% of females believed that there should be a stricter gun control policy, while 45.4% of males were in favor of a stricter gun control policy.
The hypothesis was that Christians, both Protestants and Catholics, would favor gun control because of their religions' stated preferences for non-violence. In addition, the hypothesis was that Jews would not advocate for gun control because their religion places less of an emphasis on non-violence. Those hypotheses were partially correct. The majority of Protestants and Catholics favored some type of gun control policy, with only 4.3% of Protestants and 4.5% of Catholics stating that they thought it should be easier to buy a gun. In fact, 47.3% of Protestants and 61% of Catholics favored a stricter gun control policy, while 48.4% of Protestants and 34.6% of Catholics favored the current gun control policy. However, the hypothesis about Jewish attitude towards gun control disproved the hypothesis. 96.7% of Jews favored a stricter gun control policy, 3.3% thought the current policy should remain unchanged, and 0.0% of Jews thought it should be easier to acquire a gun. Moreover, when comparing Christians to those identifying as "other," the religious or cultural differences between Protestants, Catholics, and other became clearer. Protestants were about 10% less likely to favor stricter gun control than "other," which was about 4% less likely to favor stricter gun control than Catholics, who were over 35% less likely to favor stricter gun control than Jews.
Not surprisingly, military service had a statistically significant impact on attitudes towards gun control policies. People who had served in the military were much more likely support current policies or actually believe it should be easier to acquire a gun. Almost half of those in the military, 49.3%, supported current gun control policies, versus 39.5% of civilians. Moreover, 5.6% of those who had served in the military believed it should be easier to acquire a gun, versus 3.4% of civilians. That is not to suggest that military service meant that people would not support stricter gun control. 45.1% of people who had served or were serving in the military favored a stricter gun control policy. While that number was substantially smaller than the 57.1% of the general population who supported a stricter gun control policy, it still reflected strong support for gun control.
Opponents of gun control site the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment and its unequivocal right to bear arms as the reason they want it to be easier for people to access weapons. The Second Amendment states that, "A 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 infringed." (U.S. Const. amend. II). While much is made of the militia qualification, looking through the Federalist papers and other documents, it is clear that the founding fathers believed that the people needed to be able to defend themselves against the government. (See generally, Hamilton, Federalist 28 and Federalist 29). Moreover, history shows that the fact that American government has a standing army does not abrogate the need for Americans to have access to weapons, since a well-armed citizenry allowed citizens during the American Revolution to seize "political control at the grass roots." (Hardy). While this shows strong support for the right to bear arms, the reality is that almost all Americans, without regard to political affiliation, religion, gender, military service, age, or education, support some type of gun control. Perhaps this reflects an acknowledgment that the founding fathers could not have conceived of the type of weaponry available today, or maybe the amount of gun violence has people willing to reconsider the Second Amendment. What impact that will have on gun control or on the public perception of who favors…[continue]
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