While much is known about how Americans feel about guns and gun control policy, less is known about how Americans perceive gun owners, or how gun owners and nonowners view themselves. The present study examines how comfortable individuals feel disclosing their gun ownership status with family, friends, coworkers, employers, doctors, teachers, police, and strangers. This article uses stigma theory as a guiding framework. Data were obtained from a nationwide survey conducted in February 2016 of more than 250 current gun owners and more than 250 nonowners. Analyses utilize ordered logistic regression. Findings show that whites, older Americans, and those with more pro-gun attitudes express more comfort sharing whether they own a gun. Respondents also indicate that familiarity with the individual requesting gun ownership information and concern over how that person might react are key factors that affect comfort with disclosure. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science