Political Orientation and Attitudes Toward Gun Ownership: What Role Does Morality Play?

Open Access
Author:
Belzner, Matthew James
Area of Honors:
Crime, Law, and Justice
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Eric Silver, Thesis Supervisor
  • Stacy Silver, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • guns
  • political orientation
  • morality
  • moral foundations
Abstract:
This study was conducted in order to better understand the relationship between political orientation and gun ownership. First, the relationship between political orientation and how comfortable one is with other people owning guns was assessed. Then the five moral foundations as conceptualized by Haidt and Joseph (2004) were introduced in order to better understand this relationship. To accomplish this, 304 undergraduate students completed the Gun Ownership Survey. The survey contained questions about gun opinions and behaviors, and questions of moral relevance and moral judgment as developed by Graham et al. (2011). The results of the study indicate that the more relevant an individual finds the values of harm and care, the less comfortable they are with other people owning guns. In opposition, the more that individuals find relevant the morals of fairness and reciprocity, the more comfortable they are with other people owing guns.