IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Culture Affects our Beliefs about Firearms, But Data are Also Important

Listed author(s):
  • David B. Mustard

    (Universtiy of Georgia)

Dan Kahan and Donald Braman’s provocative analysis contends that because people’s beliefs about firearms are primarily formed by cultural values, empirical data are unlikely to have much effect on the gun debate. Their proposed solution to this quandary is that scholars who want to help resolve the gun controversy should identify precisely the cultural visions that generate this dispute and formulate appropriate strategies for enabling those visions to be reconciled in law. In response to Kahan and Braman’s challenge to empirical research, I argue that while culture influences beliefs, it is but one of several such factors. Alongside culture (and presumably other factors as well), empirical evidence has a powerful influence on beliefs about gun control. In the first Part of this Commentary I discuss how cultural beliefs can significantly affect individuals’ beliefs about firearms and discuss strategies for helping people overcome their cultural biases to more honestly evaluate empirical evidence. The second Part provides examples of how data have played an important role in affecting individuals’ beliefs about firearms. I conclude by urging renewed attention to empirical research to inform the gun control debate.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Law and Economics with number 0509002.

in new window

Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: 14 Sep 2005
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwple:0509002
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 18. University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 2003, vol. 151: 1387-1394.
Contact details of provider: Web page:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwple:0509002. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.