The Guardian is reporting what amounts to a stunning revelation of research supported by the anti-gun Joyce Foundation which says—probably to the foundation’s chagrin—an overwhelming majority of young people (76%) say gun ownership “makes a home safer.”
Anti-gunners have been insisting for years that guns in the home make families less safe.
The same 2019 study said 42 percent of boys and men in the 13-21 age group expect to own a firearm at some point, after years of efforts to convince the younger generation to avoid gun ownership. The survey results may be viewed here.
Another report, from the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab (PERIL), supported by Everytown for Gun Safety and the Southern Poverty Law Center, also produced some interesting findings which included:
- While youth think that gun violence is a problem, they think it flows from the actions of individuals, especially those they perceive as “criminal,” “irresponsible,” “mentally ill” or “bad.” These descriptions tend to be racialized and classed.
- Youth separate legitimate and illegitimate uses of guns. “Legitimate” uses include protection (e.g., against “home invaders”), hunting and target shooting.
- Youth perceptions of safety are also racialized, classed and shaped by ideologies surrounding geography and folk-theories about urban-rural differences.
- Youth from rural areas perceive guns as a ‘fact of life’. Geographical regions are used as shorthand for particular community relations to guns/gun violence.
- Young, white, cisgender boys/men are frequently introduced to gun use through gendered bonding activities like hunting with fathers, grandfathers and friends.
The Guardian report tends to negatively portray the notion of gun ownership, which perhaps unintentionally exhibits the viewpoints of people who dislike firearms ownership. The story quotes Kelly Drane, research director at the Giffords Law Center, who acknowledges, “Gun ownership has diversified dramatically.”
More women and minorities are buying guns, and according to the Guardian article—referring to the PERIL study—the reason Latinos and Asian Americans are buying firearms is because they are concerned about “the increased threat of racist extremism.”
The PERIL study also showed that about one-third of youths under age 18 “believe they are safer with guns than without them.”