Faculty & Research When an Irresistible Prejudice Meets Immovable Politics: Black Legal Gun Ownership Undermines Racially Resentful White Americans’ Gun Rights Advocacy Aug 22, 2022 By Gerald HigginbothamDavid O. SearsLauren Goldstein When an Irresistible Prejudice Meets Immovable Politics: Black Legal Gun Ownership Undermines Racially Resentful White Americans’ Gun Rights Advocacy Historical evidence suggests that White Americans’ support for gun rights (i.e., opposition to gun control) is challenged by Black Americans exercising their legal rights to guns (e.g., The Black Panther Party and the Mulford Act of 1967). Here, we examined two empirical questions. First, we tested whether White Americans implicitly racialize gun rights as “White.” In a preregistered study employing a novel IAT, racially resentful White Americans indirectly associated gun rights with White (and not Black) people. Moreover, this association was not primarily based in partisanship. Racial resentment overwhelmed the effect of party identification in explaining this association (Study 1). Given racial resentment typically predicts stronger support for gun rights (Filindra & Kaplan, 2015; O’Brien et al., 2013), we next examined whether Black legal gun ownership undermines gun rights support among racially resentful White Americans across two studies (total N = 773), including a nationally representative sample of White partisans. In both studies, racially resentful White Americans expressed less support for a gun right (i.e., concealed-carry) when informed that Black (vs. White) Americans showed greater utilization of the gun right (Studies 2 and 3). Study 3 provided initial evidence suggesting that the observed reduced support is more closely linked to concerns about identity than security. Overall, these results support that Black legal gun ownership can reduce opposition to gun control among gun rights’ most entrenched advocates. Link to Paper Areas of focus Racial Justice and Equity Gerald Higginbotham As of Fall 2023, Gerald Higginbotham is an assistant professor of public policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. Utilizing social and cultural psychological insights, Higginbotham researches the imprint of history on people’s modern social perceptions and policy attitudes, and the psychological underpinnings of how people perceive history and its consequences. Read full bio David O. Sears Lauren Goldstein Related Content Gerald Higginbotham Higginbotham in APA Article: Anti-Black racism linked to lower support for some gun rights News The American Psychological Assocation shares findings from post-doctoral scholar Gerald Higginbotham's research that racial resentment leads some to associate gun rights with white people.