A new study conducted by researchers from Australia’s Monash University and Britain’s Manchester University suggests “symbolic racism [is] related to having a gun in the home and opposition to gun control policies by [U.S.] whites.”

In the study, the phrase “symbolic racism” is interchangeable with “racial resentment.”

According to the study, the “anti-black affect (racism) component of symbolic racism is… [shown] to be established in pre-adult years,” so that whites, by the time they are adults, see “crime and physical violence as black phenomena.” A result of this, whites cling to guns and fight laws that would restrict their access to them.

Gun scholar John Lott noticed that the researchers making this assertion provide themselves with an out for applications in which the hypothesis does not prove true. They did this by stating that “simply owning a firearm may also lead whites to develop more negative attitudes toward blacks.” In other words, a white person who is somehow not racist can begin to harbor racist sentiments by buying a gun.

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