Journal of African American Studies

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 63-73

Race, Fear, and Firearms: The Roles of Demographics and Guilt Assuagement in the Creation of a Political Partition

  • Eric PrimmAffiliated withDivision of Social Sciences, Pikeville College
  • , Robert M. RegoliAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, University of Colorado Email author 
  • , John D. HewittAffiliated withDepartment of Criminal Justice, Grand Valley State University

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The current political debate over guns and gun control is a relatively recent phenomenon going back only 40 to 50 years. To many observers today, the partisan lines drawn on this issue seem perfectly logical and inevitable: just another front on the ideological battlefield between liberals and conservatives. However, few observers seem to critically examine the origins of this particular battlefront and the way these lines were drawn. How and why did those on the political-left become crusaders for “sensible” gun control laws while those on the political right became defenders of the Second Amendment? Our research suggests a combination of factors, including demographic shifts and the historical linking of racial and ethnic minority groups with violent criminal behavior ultimately led to this political division.


Gun control Gun politics Racism