The Relationship Between Religious Affiliation and Support for Gun Control
Gun violence is a prominent public health concern in the United States, imposing significant financial and emotional costs. Though polls consistently indicate that the majority of Americans favor additional gun control measures, no new federal gun laws have been passed in several years. One explanation for this lack of legislative activity is the deep partisan divide as evidenced by polling data, but another partial explanation may be religious affiliation. Polls indicate the majority of Americans believe in God and have some sort of religious affiliation, and religion has been found to be correlated with political ideology and participation. Using cross-sectional data from the National Opinion Research Center’s 2016 General Social Survey, this paper examines the extent to which religious affiliation is related to views on gun control. A finding that religion is a strong predictor of support for gun control would suggest that advocates of stricter gun control might benefit from reaching out to faith leaders for additional influence. This study ultimately finds little correlation between religious affiliation and support for gun control. However, future studies that feature more nuanced data may provide different results.
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