“One person can read this and say gun owners are racists — and that’s not what it says”

Researchers have found that the more racist beliefs held by a white person, the more likely the person is to own a gun — conclusions that have rankled gun rights advocates.

A team led by Kerry O’Brien, of Monash University in Australia and The University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, examined white Americans’ negative perceptions about blacks and compared the rates of both gun ownership and opposition to gun control to discover the correlations.

Researchers based their conclusions on the results of a multiple-choice questionnaire that measured responses to a series of statements about attitudes toward black people. The more strongly a person agreed with a statement, the more points they accumulated.

The total points were then averaged to come up with a score between one and five that determined “symbolic racism.” Researchers found that the more points a person accumulated, the greater their chances of owning a gun and of opposing gun control.