Are Gun Owners Really Trigger Happy?
Who are all these gun owners? Are they the uneducated poor, left behind? It turns out they have the same level of formal education as nongun owners, on average. Furthermore, they earn 32% more per year than nonowners. Americans with guns are neither a small nor downtrodden group.
Nor are they "bitter." In 2006, 36% of gun owners said they were "very happy," while 9% were "not too happy." Meanwhile, only 30% of people without guns were very happy, and 16% were not too happy.
In 1996, gun owners spent about 15% less of their time than nonowners feeling "outraged at something somebody had done." It's easy enough in certain precincts to caricature armed Americans as an angry and miserable fringe group. But it just isn't true. The data say that the people in the approximately 40 million American households with guns are generally happier than those people in households that don't have guns.
I think the point about gun owners being less outraged than non gun owners is an important one. If you listen to many people who are adamant gun control supporters, they often (mistakenly) believe that people simply shoot others because they are impulsive and angry, and a gun is nearby. My guess is that this is projection. This is what they feel they would do because they do not know how to modulate their own anger. They do not trust their own instincts (maybe with good reason!) and project their anger and inability to control themselves onto others. Most legal gun owners seem to have better anger management and control than the rest of the population. In fact, studies with kids who own legal firearms show them to have fewer behavioral problems, not more. The psychology of gun owners vs. non gun owners is important to understand in the ongoing debate about guns.