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Gun ownership emerges as a divide, can shape political behavior, study finds

"While this 'gun divide' mimics growing partisan division in the country, it is more than that," said Mark Joslyn, professor of political science and the study's lead author. "Gun ownership may include an identity, a long-standing culture that shares identifiable traits and behaviors. The identity appears to have strengthened in recent years, and opposition to it has grown as well."

Joslyn said typically researchers looked at "what guns do," and therefore, past research has examined the association between crime and violence and the prevalence or availability of guns. However, Joslyn and his co-authors, as part of their recent study published in Social Science Quarterly, examined what guns mean to individuals and how this can shape political behavior.

"In addition, it appears non-gun owners are especially sensitive to recent polarization trends, favoring Democratic candidates in a substantially greater degree than in the past decades," Joslyn said. "So while we believe the electoral choices of gun owners is important, much of the increase in differences between gun and non-gun owners occurred because of the choices of non-gun owners."

Gun owners more likely to be politically active, says Pew Research Center

"In addition to the political implications tied to the issue, the Pew survey also revealed deep cultural divides on guns."

"About half of gun owners said all or most of their friends also own guns, compared to just 1-in-10 non-gun owners who said the same."

"And in the long-running debate over guns and crime levels, more than half of gun owners — 54 percent — said they think more Americans owning guns would reduce crime, while 23 percent of non-gun owners said the same."

"Mr. Gottlieb said gun control advocates are the ones looking to play up such divisions."

“This divide has been created by media and politicians who are hostile to gun ownership who use terms like gun violence epidemic when in fact crimes committed where guns are used is in fact down,” he said."

How Dangerous is Ammunition in a House Fire?

"Darren Stewart, a Fire Specialist with CAL FIRE, explains in the story that without a gun wrapped around it, there’s nothing to contain and direct the pressures created by the propellant in a cartridge igniting, and that the popping noise people hear when ammunition is burning is not the bullet flying away from the casing with any force--regardless of what you may have seen in the movies."