The United States has 5% of the world’s population, but has 45% of the world’s civilian-owned firearms. U.S. residents are more likely to view guns as a way to keep themselves safe, while the rest of the world is more likely to view guns as a danger. Where did these divergent attitudes come from? A new study from the University of Wisconsin Department of Psychology suggests that these peculiar views on gun ownership originated in the post-Civil War south as a direct reaction to the abolition of slavery. The more slaves a community had in the 1860’s, the more likely people in that community are to own guns. Nick Butrick is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is the primary author of the study.
Handgun photo: Joshuashearn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons