Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy





First Advisor

Daniel A. Krier



Private gun ownership is fairly common in the United States. Estimates indicate that there are more privately owned guns than people in the U.S. It is estimated that Iowa has more firearms in private hands than all but a few states. Rural county handgun permit to carry rates are two to three times greater than urban rates. This study examines handgun permit to carry rates by Iowa county type. The study asks four questions: (1) Is Iowa handgun carrying explained by a strict rural-urban handgun difference, or is it more complex? (2) If it is more complex than a simple rural-urban split, what measures produce distinction? (3) How did Iowans immediately respond to a more generous, 2011, Iowa, handgun permit law? (4) How did Iowans respond to the same law over time? It is theorized that the eleven most rural, counties in the state, all but one located in south, southwest, and northwest Iowa, have a historical, socio-demographic background that generates a culture positively associated with handgun carrying. In 2011, Iowa became a non-discretionary handgun permit to carry state diminishing the discretionary power of the county sheriff in the handgun permit to carry decision process. Exploratory factor analysis, cross sectional regression analysis, and Scheffe tests, along with slope regression line differential and longitudinal regression analysis, were used. Aggregated county-level permit data from the Iowa Department of Public Safety were used. County types were determined by socio-demographics and the UDSA Rural-Urban Continuum Code. Findings showed that explaining gun permitting by a rural-urban split was inadequate; socio-demographic variable clusters explain more; Iowans responded similarly to handgun permit law change by year and over time; and urbanism decreased handgun permitting by year but not over time.


Copyright Owner

Charles Richard Stockner



File Format


File Size

200 pages

Included in

Sociology Commons