Modeling recent gun purchases: A social epidemiology of the pandemic arms race

Terrence D. Hill, Ming Wen, Christopher G. Ellison, Guangzhen Wu, Benjamin Dowd-Arrow, Dejun Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In this paper, we document the social patterning of recent gun purchases to advance a contemporary social epidemiology of the pandemic arms race. We employ cross-sectional survey data from the 2020 Health, Ethnicity and Pandemic Study, which included a national sample of 2,709 community-dwelling adults living in the United States. We use binary logistic regression to model recent pandemic gun purchases as a function of age, sex, race/ethnicity, nativity status, region of residence, marital status, number of children, education, household income, pandemic job change, religious service attendance, pandemic religion change, and political party. Overall, 6% of the sample reported purchasing a new gun during the pandemic. Multivariate regression results suggest that pandemic gun purchasers tend to be male, younger, US-born, less educated, recently unemployed, experiencing changes in their religious beliefs, Republicans, and residents of southern states. To our knowledge, we are among the first to formally document a new population of pandemic gun owners that is characterized by youth, US-nativity, and religious volatility. Our analyses underscore the need for public health initiatives designed to enhance gun-related safety during pandemics, including, for example, addressing underlying motivations for recent gun purchases and improving access to training programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101634
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Gun ownership
  • Pandemic
  • Social epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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