It’s not the guns; it’s the anger.
A new survey says nearly 9% of people in the United States have outbursts of anger, break or smash things, or get into physical fights — and have access to a firearm, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The research — from Duke, Columbia, and Harvard — says 310 million firearms are (corrected) disproportionately in the hands of people prone to “angry, impulsive behavior and have a potentially dangerous habit of keeping their guns close at hand. That’s because people owning six or more guns were more likely to fall into both of these categories than people who owned a single gun.”
The study authors say they are the first to estimate the overlap between gun access and a history of angry, impulsive behavior — with or without a diagnosable mental illness.
Fewer than one in 10 of those angry people with access to guns had ever been admitted to a hospital for a psychiatric or substance abuse problem, the study found.
Their behavioral history might suggest a propensity for violence, according to the study. But nothing in their medical histories would bar them from legally purchasing guns under existing mental health related restrictions.
“Gun violence and serious mental illness are two very important but distinct public health issues that intersect only at their edges,” said study leader Jeffrey Swanson, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University School of Medicine.
The researchers say people who own six or more guns are probably more angry than those who own just one.