A new Florida State University and the University of Arizona study has released new findings that explain the relationship between fear and gun ownership. Due to the misconception that owning guns was because of fear, the study examined the amount and type of fear that exists in gun owners compared to non-gun owners and related to certain phobias and victimizations.
The researchers cited the “symptom perspective” theory that argues that gun ownership is a “behavioral expression of fear” and that gun owners require guns to defend themselves because they are irrational cowards. The study disapproved the common belief that owning guns was because of fear.
According to the study, adults who reported having fear of getting involved in a mugging incident, or facing attacks by animals had less probability of owning a gun. The study concluded that there was "minimal support for the idea that gun ownership is an expression of fear, but they do suggest that people who own guns tend to exhibit lower levels of fear than non-gun owners."
People who owned guns reported fewer fears including fear of animals, being mugged and various phobias such heights.
Benjamin Dowd-Arrow one of the researchers said that gun ownership had no effect on fear.
“There’s little evidence to suggest that gun ownership is an effect of fear,” Dowd-Arrow said. “However, Gun ownership may be associated with less fear because firearms help their owners to feel safe, secure and protected in a world they perceive to be uncertain and potentially dangerous,” he added.
Dowd-Arrow said that the findings were crucial now when the debate on gun legislation was taking place.
“By eliminating stereotypes and false information around gun ownership, we can possibly create better or more useful policy,” he added. The researchers added that they needed to conduct more studies to examine the effects of concealed carry or having a firearm at home on fear.
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