“If you were a mom, you’d feel differently. You’d back gun control!”
Have you ever heard this argument? Has someone literally tried to shame you into backing gun control by claiming that if you were a mother, you’d somehow have a completely different view of people’s rights?
I have, and I’m sure I’m not alone.
To be fair, there’s a lot of talk about moms in the gun control ranks. Moms Demand Action, for example–I know, I know, it sounds more like an adult website featuring older women than a gun control group, but it is. They’re not alone either. The Million Mom March, for example.
However, a recent study decided to take a look and see if motherhood actually affects one’s views on gun control.
When it comes to support for gun control policies, mothers are not significantly different than women without children, according to new research published in the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties. The findings indicate that parenthood doesn’t have a substantial impact on gun control views in the United States.
“I’ve always been interested in topics around gender and parenthood in American politics where I think, maybe, how a group or political dynamic is portrayed in the media may not actually reflect the underlying dynamic that well,” said study author Steven Greene (@HankGreene), a professor of political science at North Carolina State University.
“For example, 14 years ago, Laurel Elder and I co-wrote, ‘The Myth of “Security Moms” and “NASCAR Dads”: Parenthood, Political Stereotypes, and the 2004 Election.’ So much media and public attention around gun control has focused on moms (e.g., the Million Mom March) that we were anxious to explore this dynamic to see how much motherhood seemed to explain gun attitudes.
The researchers had hypothesized that fatherhood would push men towards more conservative attitudes on gun control policies, while motherhood would push women towards more liberal attitudes. But after controlling for sociodemographic variables, there was little evidence that parenthood had much impact.
Mothers held more liberal views on guns control compared to the general population. But this appeared to be unrelated to motherhood. Women were more liberal than men in general on questions related to gun laws and regulations. But there was no evidence that mothers’ opinions on guns were more liberal compared to women without children. In fact, mothers were slightly more likely to support less restrictive gun laws.
Interesting, isn’t it?
However, what does this really change? Not a whole lot. The anti-gunners will continue to pretend they represent mothers in totality and we’ll continue to know better.
What this does, though, is provide an important data point.
See, what anti-gunners love to do–and they’re generally able to with the help of a complicit media–is try to paint a small group with some shared identity as speaking for the group in totality. In this example, moms.
They also do it with March For Our Lives.
Remember how there was all that hype, about how the younger generation was going to step up and save us. However, support for gun control is dropping among those under 30. March For Our Lives doesn’t represent young people, it represents March For Our Lives members.
The same is clearly true with groups like Moms Demand Action and moms across the country.