Attitudes Toward Guns and Violence scale

 The Attitudes Toward Guns and Violence scale (ATGV) is a questionnaire designed to assess an individuals attitude towards guns and violence. The scale consists of 23 items, each of which is rated on a fivepoint Likert scale. The items measure a range of attitudes, including beliefs about the necessity of guns for selfdefense, the acceptability of gun ownership, and the desirability of gun control policies. The scale also measures attitudes towards violence, including beliefs about the acceptability of violence in certain situations and the desirability of violence as a means of resolving disputes. The ATGV has been used in a variety of research contexts, including studies of gun violence, attitudes towards gun control, and the effects of media portrayals of violence on attitudes towards guns and violence. The scale has been found to be reliable and valid, and has been used to measure attitudes of both adults and adolescents.


These items measure attraction to guns and violence in relation to four major factors: aggressive response to shame‚ excitement‚ comfort with aggression‚ and power/safety. Respondents are asked to indicate whether they agree‚ disagree‚ or are not sure about an idea.
Aggressive response to shame
Comfort with aggression
This instrument can be found on page 53-54 of Measuring Violence-Related Attitudes‚ Behaviors‚ and Influences Among Youths: A Compendium of Assessment Tools‚ available online at:
This instrument is copyrighted. For permission to use and scoring information‚ contact:
Western Psychological Services
12031 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles‚ CA90025
Tel: (800) 648-8857
Fax: (310) 478-7838
Students in grades 3-12.
■ Agree ■ Not sure ■ Disagree
This instrument has four main factors. The Aggressive Response to Shame factor has items that measure the belief that shame resulting from being insulted can be undone only by means of aggression (items 1‚ 2‚ 5‚ 10‚ 15‚ 16‚ 18 and20). The Excitement factor measures whether the respondent finds guns to be intrinsically exciting‚ stimulating and fun(items 6‚ 7‚ 9‚ 11 and 14). The Comfort With Aggression factor measures general beliefs‚ values‚ and feelings aboutaggression and violence (items 8‚ 12‚ 13‚ 17‚ 21 and 22). The Power/Safety factor measures the belief that guns andviolence increase one’s safety on the streets and bring a sense of personal power (items 3‚ 4‚ 19 and 23)

Original Reference(s): Shapiro‚ J. P. (2000). Attitdues Toward Guns and Violence Questionnaire: Manual. Los Angeles‚ CA: Western Psychological Services.

Other Reference(s):  The Gun Safety Institute. (1994). Attitudes towards guns and violence. Unpublished report. Cleveland‚ OH: Center for Disease Control and Prevention.


Shapiro‚ J. P.‚ Dorman‚ R. L.‚ Welker‚ C. J.‚ & Clough‚ J. B. (1998). Youth attitudes towards guns and violence: Relation with sex‚ age‚ ethnic group‚ and firearm exposure. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology‚ 27 (1)‚ 98-108.


Shapiro‚ J. P.‚ Dorman‚ R. L.‚ Burkey‚ W. M.‚ Welker‚ C. J.‚ & Clough‚ J. B. (1997). Development and factor analysis of a measure of youth attitudes towards guns and violence. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology‚ 26 (93)‚ 311-320.

Other: The Attitudes Toward Guns and Violence Questionnaire kit includes the Aggressive Behavior Checklist. This instrument has two forms‚ the teacher form and the student form‚ and is used in assessing aggressive behavior and interpersonal problems. Both instruments can be used in conjunction to provide a multidimensional picture of aggression.
Attitudes Toward Guns and Violence
1. You’ve got to fight to show people you’re not a wimp.
2. If someone disrespects me‚ I have to fight them to get my pride back.
3. Carrying a gun makes people feel safe.
4. Carrying a gun makes people feel powerful and strong.
5. If people are nice to me I’ll be nice to them‚ but if someone stops me from getting what I want‚ they’ll pay for it bad.
6. I’d like to have a gun so that people would look up to me.
7. It would be exciting to hold a loaded gun in my hand.
8. I wish there weren’t any guns in my neighborhood.
9. I bet it would feel real cool to walk down the street with a gun in my pocket.
10. I’d feel awful inside if someone laughed at me and I didn’t fight them.
11. It would make me feel really powerful to hold a loaded gun in my hand.
12. Most people feel nervous around someone with a gun and they want to get away from that person.
13. The people I respect would never go around with a gun because they’re against hurting people.
14. I think it would be fun to play around with a real gun.
15. If someone insults me or my family‚ it really bothers me‚ but if I beat them up‚ that makes me feel better.
16. If somebody insults you‚ and you don’t want to be a chump‚ you have to fight.
17. I don’t like people who have guns because they might kill someone.
18. A kid who doesn’t get even with someone who makes fun of him is a sucker.
19. Belonging to a gang makes kids feel safe because they’ve got people to back them up.
20. If I acted the way teachers think I should out on the street‚ people would think I was weak and I’d get pushed around.
21. I wish everyone would get rid of all their guns.
22. I don’t like being around people with guns because someone could end up getting hurt.
23. Kids in gangs feel like they’re part of something powerful.