In April 2018, my “Guns and Gun Violence in American History” class at Louisiana Tech conducted a campus-wide survey of attitudes toward gun-related issues in American society. Below are the questions we asked, which were created collectively by the students in class.
I have decided not to publish the results of the survey. The class obtained an exemption from the university’s Human Use Committee under the pretext that the survey data results would not be published.
1. Which of the following best describes you? (Student; faculty; staff)
2. What is your age?
3. With which gender do you identify?
4. Are you Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish origin?
5. What is your race?
6. Which of the following best describes your political perspective? (Very conservative; moderate conservative; centrist; moderate liberal; very liberal; non-political)
7. What is your home state?
8. If you’re an international student, what is your home country?
9. In which college is your major located?
10. Which of the following best describes the area where you grew up? (Rural; urban; suburban)
11. Are you or have you ever been a gun owner?
12. If you are or have ever been a gun owner, which of the following reasons best describe why you own or have owned a gun? (Protection or self-defense; hunting or other gun sports; collecting; other)
13. Have you ever fired a gun?
14. Are you a member of the National Rifle Association?
15. Are any members of your immediate family members of the NRA?
ATTITUDES TOWARD GUNS IN AMERICAN SOCIETY
For each of the following statements, indicate whether you would agree or disagree. Several statements concern the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
16. Americans’ access to guns should be more restricted than it currently is.
17. All gun purchases in the United States should require a background check.
18. “Assault weapons” should be banned.
19. The Second Amendment should be repealed.
20. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to own a gun independent of service in a militia.
21. The Second Amendment only protects the right to own a gun in connection to service in a militia.
22. The Second Amendment only protects the states’ rights to organize and regulate militias.
23. The Second Amendment protects the citizens’ right to carry out an armed rebellion against a tyrannical government.
24. The Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right that is essential to American society in the twenty-first century.
25. The Second Amendment is an antiquated relic of the eighteenth century.
26. Students should be allowed to carry concealed weapons on campus with a permit.
27. Anyone with a felony conviction should be prohibited from owning a firearm.
28. Anyone with a history of mental illness should be prohibited from owning a firearm.
29. Anyone with a history of domestic violence should be prohibited from owning a firearm.
30. All gun owners should be required to take a gun-safety course.
31. All privately-owned guns should be registered with state or federal authorities.
32. Harsher legal penalties for gun crimes would help reduce violent crime rates.
33. Making it more difficult to get a gun would help prevent mass shootings.
34. “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
35. “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.”
36. Police officers should carry firearms at all times while on duty.
37. The media devotes too much attention to gun violence.
38. American society is more violent today than it was 40 years ago.
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING OF GUNS IN AMERICAN SOCIETY
39. Approximately how many people die as a result of guns in the United States each year? (1,000; 10,000; 35,000; 50,000; 100,000)
40. What percentage of gun deaths in the United States each year is a result of suicide? (10%; 33%; 50%; 67%; 80%)
41. Approximately what percentage of gun deaths in the United States each year is a result of a “mass shooting”? (Less than 1%; 5%; 15%; 25%; 50%)
42. What type of gun is used most often in gun deaths in the United States? (Handgun; assault rifle; hunting rifle; shotgun)
43. Roughly what is the ratio of people to guns in the United States? (1:1; 2:1; 5:1; 8:1; 10:1)