A Qualitative study on diverse perspectives and identities of firearm owners

Inj Prev. 2022 Oct;28(5):434-439. doi: 10.1136/injuryprev-2022-044522. Epub 2022 Apr 25.


Objective: Research surrounding firearm ownership is often contextualised within the perspectives of older white men. We expand this description using the perceptions of a diverse group of firearm-owning stakeholders.

Methods: We conducted semistructured interviews from October 2020 to May 2021 with Colorado/Washington State stakeholders representing (1) firearm ranges/retailers; (2) law enforcement agencies or (3) relevant state/national firearm organisations. Data were analysed using standard qualitative techniques and included 25 participants, representing varied sociocultural groups including racial and ethnic minorities, political minorities and sexual minorities.

Results: Participants for this analysis were of different self-identified sociocultural groups including racial and ethnic minorities (African American, Hispanic and Asian), political minorities (liberal) and sexual minorities, defined as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT). Perspectives on firearm ownership included an idea of gun culture as a component of (1) personal identity, (2) an expression of full citizenship and (3) necessary for self-protection. A strong subtheme was the intersection of minority group and firearm owner identities, creating a need for divergent social communities because of ideas on traditional gun culture. These communities are a safe place for individuals belonging to minority groups to escape negative external and internal group associations with firearms.

Conclusion: Perspectives on firearms and firearm ownership in the secondary analysis were heterogeneous and related to personal experiences, external and internal group pressures that influence individual behaviour. Understanding the breadth of perspectives on firearm ownership is imperative to engaging individuals for risk reduction. This study adds to the literature by expanding an understanding of the motivation for firearm ownership among diverse communities.

Keywords: Attitudes; Behavior; Community; Firearm; Qualitative research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American
  • Female
  • Firearms*
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ownership
  • Qualitative Research