Ammo For Sale

« « Congrats | Home | Making it more illegaler » »

Bitterness

WSJ’s Arthur Brooks:

According to the 2006 General Social Survey, which has tracked gun ownership since 1973, 34% of American homes have guns in them. This statistic is sure to surprise many people in cities like San Francisco – as it did me when I first encountered it. (Growing up in Seattle, I knew nobody who owned a gun.)

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.

The gun-owning happiness gap exists on both sides of the political aisle. Gun-owning Republicans are more likely than nonowning Republicans to be very happy (46% to 37%). Democrats with guns are slightly likelier than Democrats without guns to be very happy as well (32% to 29%). Similarly, holding income constant, one still finds that gun owners are happiest.

Why are gun owners so happy? One plausible reason is a sense of self-reliance, in terms of self-defense or even in terms of the ability to hunt their own dinner.

Many studies over the years have shown that a belief in one’s control over the environment dramatically adds to happiness. Example: a famous study of elderly nursing home patients in the 1970s. It showed dramatic improvements in life satisfaction from elements of control as seemingly insignificant as being able to care for one’s plants.

A bit of evidence that self-reliance is at work among gun owners comes from the General Social Survey. It asked whether one agrees with the statement, “Those in need have to take care of themselves.” In 2004, gun owners were 10 percentage points more likely than nonowners to agree (60% to 50%).

I knew gun owners spent a lot of money (guns aren’t cheap) but I was unaware that we were so darn happy.

Via Ben.

15 Responses to “Bitterness”

  1. nk Says:

    Intuitively it makes sense, and my experience is that it is true.

  2. nk Says:

    Trackback?

  3. Metulj Says:

    Very interesting, though this:

    “One plausible reason is a sense of self-reliance, in terms of self-defense or even in terms of the ability to hunt their own dinner.”

    Is completely speculative and would get the knife (or the red pen) if he said the same thing in a scholarly journal, which is why he, an AEI shill, says it in a newspaper.

  4. Metulj Says:

    Thinking more about what I said before about the red pen. It’s an ok statement if you drop “plausible.”

  5. straightarrrow Says:

    Hell, I’m ecstatic.

  6. anon Says:

    I want to hear the Heller decision before I tell you how happy I am…

  7. Robb Allen Says:

    When my Ko-Tonics upper shows up (hopefully next week), I’ll have enough happiness to share.

  8. Kristopher Says:

    That 2006 survey is probably wrong.

    That 34% does not include the high percentage of gun owners who responded to the first 30 seconds of the survey by telling them to mind their own business and then hanging up.

    That particular group will have a high percentage of gun owners.

  9. Michael Hawkins Says:

    Duh,
    Gun woners are statistically happier, ’cause the depressed ones just kill thmeselves!
    Don’t you know anything? :p

    I’m but jesting of course, which doesn’t mean to say a gun control activist won’t throw that at you.

  10. Linoge Says:

    hoplophobev(“But… but… but… Obama is so in-touch with the average American, he has to be right! And guns are evil! How can you be happy if you own the very incarnation of evil!? And guns kill people! Dead people can’t be happy! And… *head explodes*”);

    Well, that was entertaining.

  11. CL Says:

    Vermont: one of the safest five states in the country. In Vermont, citizens can carry a firearm without getting permission . . . without paying a fee . . . or without going through any kind of government-imposed waiting period. And yet for ten years in a row, Vermont has remained one of the top-five, safest states in the union—having three times received the “Safest State Award.” GOA Fact Sheet

    Just gotta make you wonder if they are the happiest also!

  12. Gunner Says:

    I’m not bitter? Dangit! I was just startng to like being bitter. It felt rather emo’ish.

  13. Metulj Says:

    “That 2006 survey is probably wrong.

    That 34% does not include the high percentage of gun owners who responded to the first 30 seconds of the survey by telling them to mind their own business and then hanging up.

    That particular group will have a high percentage of gun owners.”

    HA!

  14. twolaneflash Says:

    Maintaining happiness for me, as a serial and multiple gun owner, is available in many calibers and gauges, with targets of many sizes, shapes, and purposes over the years. American society has lost many of the rituals that define a culture. The rituals of shooting may vary regionally, but the attention to the process, the equipment, and the experience supplies similar rewards to the body, mind, and spirit everywhere. Knowing that one can reach out a few hundred yards and hit a target, or clear a room with a 12-gauge in 3 seconds, will tend to extend your bubble of personal joy, and will keep unhappy things and people at a distance. A warm gun and a pile of spent cartridges are, by definition, Constitutionally protected, in the pursuit of happiness.

  15. Kim du Toit Says:

    I’d be a lot happier if I could buy more guns. There’s this fine Garand I saw at the gun show last week, and a beautiful little Ruger revolver, and…

    …I can’t afford any of them.

After several weeks of taking Viagra, I got used to it and took the drug only on the weekends. Noticing the changes, my girlfriend started to ask me why I'm so active on weekends. I had to honestly confess everything. She was not upset but supported me. So thanks to Viagra, I made sure that I'm loved just like the way I am.