The Gun Gap

How does gun ownership influence someone's personal politics?

The Gun Gap: The Influence of Gun Ownership on Political Behavior and Attitudes

Joslyn, Mark R. Oxford, 2020
224p, 9780190064839 $27.95, 9780190064860

Book cover of The Gun Gap: The Influence of Gun Ownership on Political Behavior and Attitudes

In this succinct, rigorously empirical, and unusually evenhanded book, Joslyn (political science, Univ. of Kansas) explains the connection between guns and politics in the US. The “gap” to which the book’s title refers is the political difference between those who do and do not own guns. The gun gap has been neglected by scholars of political behavior in favor of examinations of race, class, and gender gaps. But Joslyn argues that the gun gap in voting frequently exceeds these other gaps. Using survey data from a number of sources, the author documents how the gun gap manifests itself across a range of outcomes, from voter preference (discussed in chapter 2) to turnout (chapter 3) to other perceptions and attitudes that have political consequences, such as the death penalty (chapters 4–7). To his credit, Joslyn digs more deeply into the experiential roots of these differences than have many gun scholars (e.g., those who take a quantitative approach), highlighting how the different social worlds inhabited by gun owners and non-owners shape their orientations to guns, risk, and policy. A valuable resource for those interested in the roots and expression of the US’s polarized gun politics.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers.
Reviewer: 
D. Yamane, Wake Forest University
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Political Science – U.S. Politics
Choice Issue: Jun 2021


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