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Psychology group claims racism linked to reduced support for the Second Amendment

The American Psychological Association released a study claiming that anti-Black sentiments associated gun rights with White people and gun control with Black people.

The American Psychological Association on Thursday released a study claiming a link between racism and support for the Second Amendment. 

The study argues that White Americans who expressed high levels of anti-Black sentiments associated gun rights with White people and gun control with Black people. This was determined by research participants being quicker to match photos of White people to gun rights phrases such as "self-protection" and "National Rifle Association" and photos of Black people to gun control phrases such as "waiting period" and "weapons ban."

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The study consisted of just 88 White Americans, 38 women and 50 men, 30% of whom were gun owners and an even split between Republicans and Democrats. In addition to the photo matching test, two questions were asked to participants to gage "racial resentment"; "Irish, Italians, Jewish, and many other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Black people should do the same without any special favors," and "It’s really a matter of some people not trying hard enough; if Black people would try harder they could be just as well off as White people". 

The study claims that "While Republicans were more likely to make racially biased assumptions about gun rights than white Democrats, anti-Black views had a greater impact on the findings than party affiliation."

Regardless of race, gun ownership is pervasive amongst Americans with 36% of Whites, 24% of Blacks, and 15% of Hispanics claiming gun ownership. There is, however, a political divide with 44% of Republicans claiming gun ownership compared to 20% of Democrats.

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The researchers emphasized that their findings don’t support the use of anti-Black racism as a means of advancing gun control reforms. "An attempt to politically weaponize racist beliefs expressed toward Black lawful gun owners would be shortsighted and could dangerously infringe upon the rights of Black people instead of focusing on saving lives from gun violence." 

The study "When an Irresistible Prejudice Meets Immovable Politics: Black Legal Gun Ownership Undermines Racially Resentful White Americans’ Gun Rights Advocacy" was published by Gerald D. Higginbotham, David O. Sears, and Lauren Goldstein from the Universities of Virginia and Los Angeles respectively. 

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