Gun Policy, Opinion, Tragedy, and Blame Attribution: The Conditional Influence of Issue Frames
Haider-Markel, Donald P.
Joslyn, Mark R.
Publication: Journal of Politics
Topics: Crime Legislation and Policy Public Opinion
Keywords: Policy Making Public Opinion gun policy mass murder policitcal processes
Bibliographic information +
The authors explore the effect of “framing” on public opinion about gun policies and “blame” for the school shooting in Columbine, Colorado. In the first study, the authors use a survey of adults to explore the extent to which differences in how survey questions are asked (how they are framed) affects public opinion about a law making it easier for adults to carry concealed handguns. Using one question that framed the question in terms of “public safety” and another in terms of “individual rights,” the authors find that, overall, adults are more likely to be supportive of a concealed carry law when the issue is framed in terms of individual rights than if it is framed in terms of public policy. For example, while almost 60% of respondents strongly opposed a concealed carry law in their state (and approximately 10% strongly supported it) using the public safety frame, slightly over 40% strongly opposed and over 20% strongly favored the law using an individual rights frame. In the second study, the authors used the same survey to explore whether framing blame for the Columbine shooting in terms of “weak gun control laws” or “violence on television, in the movies and in video games” affected public attributions of blame for the shooting. Which frame was used strongly predicted the likelihood that a survey respondent blamed guns/weak gun laws or media for the shooting. In both studies, respondents’ political predispositions affected their susceptibility to specific frames. For example, Republicans were more likely to be affected by framing in the study of concealed carry laws than Democrats.
Haider-Markel, D. P., & Joslyn, M. R. (2001). Gun Policy, Opinion, Tragedy, and Blame Attribution: The Conditional Influence of Issue Frames. Journal of Politics, 63(2), 520.
Haider-Markel, Donald P., and Mark R. Joslyn. "Gun Policy, Opinion, Tragedy, and Blame Attribution: The Conditional Influence of Issue Frames." Journal of Politics 63.2 (2001): 520.