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Macias 1 Stephanie Macias Kate Flom WRD 104-231 25 February 2013 A Conversation Regarding Gun Control Due to the

most recent public shootings, gun control has resurfaced as a leading controversial debate among American government and society. Similar to any other debate, there are those supporting, those contemplating, and those opposed to enforcing stricter gun control. Within those categories of people, there are a variety of discourse communities with similar and/or differing perspectives on the matter of gun control. For instance, a discourse may consist of people who consider gun control through a social, psychological, and an economic lens. In order to reduce gun violence in the United States, gun regulations must be enforced. In the conversation surrounding gun control, these three scholarly sources effectively research the publics attitudes, conclude those attitudes affect their views on the issue of gun control and in essence suggest gun laws are needed. To look more closely at what and how the publics attitudes affect their feelings towards policy issues, I will compare the works of these scholars. Katarzyna Celinska, a scholar at John Jay College of Criminal Justice within the University of New York, focuses most of her time on researching violence prevention and other issues in criminal justice. Celinskas, Individualism and Collectivism in America: The Case of Gun Ownership and Attitudes Toward Gun Control, proposes a social view on gun control. In her research, she addresses the claim that the majority of Americans lead an

Macias 2 individualistic lifestyle and applies it to the issue of gun control. Robin M. Wolpert is a lawyer who attended Colby College and Cornell University Law. James G. Gimpel is a professor at the University of Maryland, received his Ph.D from the University of Chicago, and whose research mainly consists of public opinion and political behavior. Wolpert and Gimpels, Self-Interest, Symbolic Politics, and Public Attitudes Toward Gun Control, offers a psychological point of view on the issue of gun control. They research whether self-interest is a contributing factor to someones views on gun control and if so by how much. Philip J. Cook is now a public policy professor at Duke University. His research includes but is not limited to criminal justice, weapons and violent crime and he previously wrote Gun Violence: The Real Costs. James A. Leitzel is the director of public policy studies at the University of Chicago. Cook and Leitzels, Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy: An Economic Analysis of the Attack on Gun Control, discusses gun control through an economic standpoint. They look into whether gun regulations benefit our economy or not. Taking a social perspective on the issue of gun control, in her article Celinska In order to determine whether most Americans having individualistic ideologies is a valid claim, Celinska uses a unidimensional index of individualism and collectivism and applies it to the issues of gun control and ownership (235). Her findings suggest that societys attitudes are mainly due to either their individualistic or collectivist ideologies. In relation to the issue of gun control, she found that Holding individualistic values is a consistent strong predictor of opposing gun control measures in all attitudinal models (p.244). Similarly, Wolpert and Gimpels argue self-interest is a key factor in someones feelings towards gun control. Wolpert and Gimpel also argue the banning of handguns

Macias 3 usually increases self-interest effects than the banning of assault weapons or waiting periods on buying firearms. Wolpert and Gimpel make these arguments due to their supporting research results. While Celinskas and Wolperts and Gimpels studies look more into a persons own thought process during their deliberation of gun control, Cook and Leitzel take an economic perspective on the issue. They look at how numbers come into play with societys take on gun control and whether gun regulations benefit our economy or not. More specifically Cook and Leitzel analyze and critique Albert O. Hirschmans The Rhetoric of Reaction Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy. Unlike Hirschmans argument, Cook and Leitzel suggest But the case for unregulated gun market does not stand up well to economic logic (117). Focusing on the publics attitudes and traits and how they determine their feelings towards gun control, Celinska and Wolpert and Gimpel examine similar information regarding gun control and share similar views. On the other hand, Cook and Leitzel focus on the grand scheme of things in which they determine if gun regulations are economically beneficial for all of society. Many oppose gun control due to their attitudes and lifestyles. More specifically, many argue against gun regulations and bans because they have individualistic ideologies and look out for their self-interests. This is most evident when Celinska claims, those who oppose gun control tend to hold individualistic views and by opposing any limitations on gun ownership, they seek to protect their own self-interest, that of their families, and the interests of those with whom they closely affiliate, associate, identify with (233). Here Celinska, emphasizes the effects of individualistic qualities on policy issues such as gun control and also incorporates Wolpert and Gimpels argument by mentioning how self-interest is a key factor in opposing gun control. Despite arguing that

Macias 4 self-interests immensely influence opposition towards gun control, through their research Wolpert and Gimpel find that even more so than gun control, banning guns sparks more self-interest reactions in the public (255). While Celinska and Wolpert and Gimpel all focus on how the publics attitudes influence their opinions on policy issues, Cook and Leitzel address the publics attitudes in a different way. Throughout their article, they describe the economic reasoning for why people support or oppose gun regulations. Like the other scholars, Leitzel is addressing the publics attitudes but he focuses on their economic stance while Celinska and Wolpert and Gimpel focus on the publics personal ideologies and qualities. Another key factor to consider while determining someones reasoning for supporting or opposing gun control is whom you are obtaining your information from or how you are obtaining your information. Since both Celinska and Wolpert and Gimpel conduct studies in their articles, they describe their sources in detail. For example, this can be seen under the articles sections labeled as data and sample Celinska describes the groups of people she is studying. She obtained her information from the 1972-1998 General Social Survey (GSS) of groups of households. Within that survey, Celinska looked at two different samples. One sample consisted of 7,714 individuals from 19841998. She then looked at a subsample of 1,191 individuals from the 1984 survey in order to get an accurate representation of the preliminary index of individualism and collectivism (235-237). Similarly, Wolpert and Gimpel describe their sources as including, demographic factors such as region of residence, urban-rural residence, religion, income, age, gender, and race in our models (244). Not only do Wolpert and Gimpel provide detailed descriptions of the groups of individuals they study, but also

Macias 5 they go into detail about what the three policies they question their sample on and how those elicit different responses. While, Celinska and Wolpert and Gimpel thoroughly discuss their samples of people they analyzed, Cook and Leitzel do not do so. Due to their different objectives, Cook and Leitzel discuss the actual gun laws, gun markets, and gun regulations that we are facing today (92-94). In this aspect Wolpert and Gimpel and Cook and Leitzel analyze some of the same information. Before reading the work of these scholars, I had already believed that peoples attitudes had a strong influence on how they viewed policy issues. From exposure to other sources and personal beliefs, I had come to the conclusion that peoples personal interests and agendas definitely affected their views on gun control. Nonetheless, I was surprised to see that Cook and Leitzel determined economic attitudes also affect peoples views on policy issues such as gun control. Overall, I agree with all three sources because they all argue that peoples attitudes affect how they view gun control, which I had believed beforehand.

Macias 6 Works Cited Celinska, Katarzyna. "Individualism And Collectivism In America: The Case Of Gun Ownership And Attitudes Toward Gun Control." Sociological Perspectives 50.2 (2007): 229-247. Academic Search Complete. Web. 16 Feb. 2013. Cook, Philip J., and James A. Leitzel. "`Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy': An Economic Analysis Of The Attack On Gun Control." Law & Contemporary Problems 59.1 (1996): 91-118. Academic Search Complete. Web. 16 Feb. 2013. Wolpert, Robin M., and James G. Gimpel. "Self-Interest, Symbolic Politics, And Public Attitudes Toward Gun Control." Political Behavior 20.3 (1998): 241-262. Academic Search Complete. Web. 17 Feb. 2013.