Paul Bastean, owner of the Ultimate Defense Firing Range and Training Center in St Peters, Missouri, some 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Ferguson, arranges a rack of handguns on November 26, 2014. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

In the wake of numerous mass shootings of 2017 and the growing cultural divide in the United States, one study sought to understand the meaning behind guns to their owners. Researchers discovered white men often see guns as a mechanism of empowerment when confronted with economic plight. This subgroup of gun owners tends to carry a particular set of values and policy positions, including insurrectionist tendencies, worth further study.

White men with financial concerns feel empowered by guns

F. Carson Mencken and Paul Froese, professors of sociology from Baylor University, published their study “Gun Culture in Action,” in the journal Social Problems. They used data from the Baylor Religion Survey 2014, to create a “gun empowerment scale.” Through survey questions surrounding gun owners’ feelings about guns, Mencken and Froese sought to assess their emotional and moral attachments to firearms.

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