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Strict Christian nationalists, who believe the United States has been and always will be a “Christian nation,” are more likely to be associated with weak gun control positions because they believe God gave them the right to bear arms.

That’s the conclusion reached in a new study that shows belief in Christian nationalism, and not any particular political identification, is really the best predictor for whether or not someone opposes federal gun safety regulations.

The analysis suggests that many of those people treat the Second Amendment like the Second Commandment, as if it comes directly from God instead of the Founding Fathers.

Researchers Andrew Whitehead, Landon Schnabel, and Samuel Perry explain all this in a piece for the Washington Post:

We found that Christian nationalism is a key determinant of American opposition to stricter gun control across religious and sociodemographic groups. Americans who desire religion, specifically Christianity, be officially promoted in the public sphere are deeply opposed to federal gun control laws. American exceptionalism in regard to the intensity of religion may, therefore, help explain American exceptionalism in terms of mass shootings… Setting themselves apart from comparable countries, Americans are turning to “Christian values” instead of gun control to end mass shootings.

It’s insane that Americans would turn to religion to solve a real-world problem — as if putting Ten Commandments posters up in public schools will solve our societal woes — but that’s not the worst part. What’s really scary is that these people often can’t be reached by logic and reason because their opinions are based on what they think are
divine teachings.

Our findings demonstrate the importance of a particular cultural style, Christian nationalism, in understanding opposition to gun control. Gun control advocates’ appeals to “logic”, “reason”, and public safety calculations will likely not be the right approach to convince a subset of Americans — for whom guns are a God-given right tied to a cultural style tied to deeply held senses of morality, identity, and perceived threat — of the value of gun control legislation.

You would think the people who put their faith in a man who talked about turning the other cheek would be less inclined to fight for the right to own weapons that could kill in an instant…

It’s also ironic that they’re fighting to preserve an interpretation of the Second Amendment that our Founders would likely have rejected. In that regard, at least, their approach to the Constitution is just like their approach to the Bible.

The study in question can be read here.

(Image via Shutterstock)