Assessing the Impact of Knowledge and Location on College Students’ Perceptions of Gun Control and Campus Carry Policies: a Multisite Comparison

Nathan E. Kruis, Richard L. Wentling, Mark H. Heirigs, Glen A. Ishoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent incidents of mass shootings in schools have raised questions about the availability of “military-style” firearms and need for campus carry policies. Previous research that has measured students’ attitudes toward gun control has neglected the Northeastern Region of the United States and failed to include measures of students’ knowledge of current firearm legislation in prediction models. Using a sample of 1,518 students enrolled in 3 universities across two regions of the United States (e.g., Northeast and Midwest), the present study expands on prior literature by comparing regional variants in student gun owners, and perceptions of gun legislation. Results indicate that, with the exception of “military-style” rifles, students in the Northeast are more likely to have access to every other type of firearm assessed (e.g., rifle, shotgun, handgun), but significantly less likely to have completed a formal gun safety course. Knowledge of current gun legislation is a direct negative predictor of support for general gun control, and a direct positive predictor of support for faculty campus carry, however, race moderates the relationship between knowledge and support for gun control. These findings indicate that there may be a need for formal general gun safety education courses in the Northeast Region of the United States. Previous models that failed to control for knowledge of current gun legislation may have been misspecified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-47
Number of pages23
JournalAmerican Journal of Criminal Justice
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

Keywords

  • Campus carry
  • College students
  • Concealed carry
  • Firearms
  • Gun control
  • Survey

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