Alex Seitz-Wald, Salon, February 20, 2013
White Americans are more than twice as likely to own guns as blacks or Latinos, and more likely to oppose gun safety reforms, according to previously unreleased data from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers.
The survey, conducted by the Center for Gun Policy and Research and initially released without racial breakdowns in late January, showed strong support overall for many of the proposals being discussed in Congress to limit gun violence. But the researchers broke down the numbers by race this week and shared the results with Salon.
Overall, 22 percent of Americans were found to own guns, while another 11 percent live in homes with someone else who owns guns. Among whites, the number of gun owners is slightly higher, at 26 percent, with an additional 13 percent who live in gun-owning households.
But only 12 percent of African-Americans and 13 percent of Latinos own guns. Just 5 and 7 percent of each ethnic group, respectively, lives in a household with someone else who owns a gun.
Not surprisingly, this translates to a disparity in support for gun control measures, with whites being consistently more opposed to gun control than the other groups. For instance, support for reinstating the assault weapon ban is about 10 percentage points higher among blacks than whites. And 72 percent of blacks support banning possession of assault weapons entirely through a mandatory buyback program, compared to just 54 percent of whites.
African-Americans are also more supportive of laws promoting safe use, such as requiring people to keep their guns locked in a safe while at home, and of proposals to restrict access, such as making people acquire a license from the local police before being able to buy a gun.
Hispanics, meanwhile, fall somewhere in between, despite their lower gun ownership levels.