Study: Opposition to Gun Control the Result of ‘White Resentment’

Gun Control Rally
Indianapolis Star/AP/Charlie Nye

A study conducted by political scientists at the University of Illinois in Chicago claims that opposition to gun control in the United States could be the outgrowth of “white resentment.”

The study was originally published in an academic journal, titled Political Behavior, and has now been publicized by the Washington Post.

According to the Washington Post, the two political scientists behind the study — Alexandra Filindra and Noah J. Kaplan — claim that whites were more hesitant to support gun control after looking at pictures of black people “than when they had looked at pictures of white people.”

Filindra and Kaplan also noted that “the higher [respondents] scored on a common measure of racial prejudice, the stronger negative effect the photos of black people had on the respondents’ support for gun control.”

Filindra and Kaplan interpreted these results through the construct of “racial resentment” — a construct that has its own genre of sociological literature — and emerged with their findings.

The two political scientists interpret “racial resentment” as “a prejudice based in the belief that blacks don’t value independence and hard work and instead push for special rights conferred by the government.”

They also claim that “[racial resentment] upholds whites as morally superior while ignoring the structural advantages of whiteness.”

Filindra and Kaplan then draw a line that zigs to “homeowners rights” and zags to “taxpayers rights” to show that the idea of rights are often used to maintain oppressive habits. They claim the “gun rights movement” that began to emerge in the 1980s does the same thing by “[creating] this distinction between ‘law-abiding citizens’ and ‘criminals.'”

Filindra goes so far as to suggest that gun ownership is a way that some whites try to show their superiority. Filindra writes the words she would expect such a person to utter:

I am showing my white nationalist pride in a sort of generic way through gun ownership. This is my way of expressing my “more-equal-than-others” status in a society where egalitarianism is the norm. I can’t say that some people are better and some are worse in terms of racial groups. But I can show it symbolically. I can show I’m a better citizen.

The Post‘s coverage of the study does not indicate whether the study looks at the surge of concealed-carry permits among black citizens, nor the emergence of groups like the National African-American Gun Association, founded by Philip Smith.

Moreover, the study does not look at the fact that gun control was a tool used by Democrats to keep blacks down prior to the Civil War and afterward. Democrats throughout the Confederacy used gun control laws to ensure slaves did not have the means to rise up against them, and they continued to use gun control laws after the war to limit free blacks’ ability to carry guns. It would be interesting to see the study take an honest look at the oppressive roots of gun control.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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