American State Gun Law Strength and State Resident Differences in Neuroticism Levels


  • Stewart J. H. McCann
  • Chantelle Zawila


Relations between state gun law strength and state-aggregated levels of Republican leaning, gun ownership, and resident Big Five neuroticism (based on 619,397 residents nationally) were determined in a state-level analysis of the 50 American states using multiple regression strategies with state socioeconomic status, white population percent, and urban population percent statistically controlled. In a standard hierarchical model with state gun law strength as the criterion, the three demographic variables accounted for 44.4% of the variance and the Big Five accounted for another 21.9%. When the Big Five entered stepwise after the demographics, neuroticism was the sole significant personality predictor, accounting for another 13.4% of the variance. Greater state gun law strength was associated with higher state resident neuroticism. Further hierarchical regression analyses showed that state Republican leaning and gun ownership could account separately and jointly for significant variance in state gun law strength but not with state resident neuroticism controlled.