Objective. Scholars have debated the importance of declining confidence in
social institutions to the American political system. The objective of this
research was to offer and test the hypothesis that individuals with little
faith in the three branches of the federal government will be more likely
to own firearms than individuals with higher levels of confidence. Methods.
The data were drawn from the General Social Survey for the years 1982-1996
and analyzed with a multivariate logistic regression equation that control
led for many of the variables known to be associated with gun ownership. Re
sults. The regression showed thar even in the presence of many control meas
ures, respondents who lacked confidence in the federal government were more
likely to own firearms than their counterparts who had greater faith in th
e federal government. Conclusion. Although the hypothesis relating confiden
ce in government to gun ownership was supported and has important policy im
plications, the data did not permit us to disentangle possible causal relat
ionships. For that, further research will be necessary.