Analysis code for assessing the relationship between gun ownership and fear of mass shootings
Rationale: Gun sales spike after mass shooting incidents. As firearm presence is associated with numerous health and safety risks, it is imperative to understand what catalyzes gun ownership. Despite evidence that Americans’ fear of mass shootings is increasing at a pace that exceeds their likelihood of victimization, the relationship between fear of mass shootings and gun ownership has received minimal attention. Objective: The current study examines group differences in fear of mass shootings and openness to gun ownership. Specifically, it is hypothesized that (1) fear of mass shootings will increase openness to future firearm ownership among non-owners, (2) gun-owners will be more afraid of mass shootings than non-owners, and (3) protective owners will be more afraid than non-protective owners. Methods: This paper uses Wave 26 of Pew Research Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel (n=1,968). Results: Binary logistic regression analyses indicate that among non-gun-owners, fear of mass shootings decreases openness to ownership. Ordinal logistic regression analyses indicate that while fear of mass shootings does not differ between gun-owners and non-owners, protective gun-owners are more afraid than non-protective owners. Conclusions: Combined with prior research, these findings suggest that protective gun-owners, non-protective gun-owners, and non-owners have distinct views of the relationship between guns and mass shootings and are motivated to acquire firearms by different processes. Additional longitudinal work is needed to confirm these findings and clarify the role of causal attributions.