As the undeniably race-based riots and street-level battles have ramped up in our once-great nation, old arguments regarding firearms are resurfacing as well. A favorite saying among many gun owners is “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” which is frequently sarcastically rephrased as “guns don’t kill people, people with mustaches kill people.” There are those in the gun-control crowd who enjoy arguing not only do guns kill people, but people who own guns kill people – on a significantly larger scale than their non-firearm-owning counterparts. Not only that, but those gun owners have a serious tendency towards more violent personalities, they say, making them far more prone to going on a bloody rampage than their apparently mellow anti-gun fellow citizens.
Last April a study appeared in the journal “Behavioral Sciences” regarding the behavioral tendencies of gun owners. According to the study’s bottom line, gun owners are angry; so angry, the study proclaimed, that a whopping nine percent of gun owners have anger issues. More specifically, this study claims 1 in 10 Americans has anger issues – and access to guns. At first glance, these numbers seem concerning, don’t they? Well, maybe not.
According to a study carried out at UC Davis a few years ago, 1 in 5 Americans has trouble managing their anger. When you compare Davis’ 1 in 5 nationwide statistic to the journal’s 1 in 9 gun owner statistic, things suddenly take on a different appearance: one of gun owners as the calmer, more rational Americans. Another study carried out by USA Today in 2013 showed 60% of Americans admitting to having trouble controlling their anger, which is a greater number than in 2011, when a similar study put that number at 50%.
It’s undoubtedly true that Americans are, as a whole, becoming an angrier society – or is it? Perhaps reality is Americans are growing increasingly spoiled, displaying a self-centered sense of entitlement that boils over in an angry display when people feel their “needs” are either not being met or are somehow being violated. These angry displays are akin to temper tantrums thrown by toddlers and result in even less forward motion. There certainly seems to be an increasing number of riots and street fights. All you need do is turn on the news, click open an internet browser, or bring up your cell phone’s newsfeed, and you’re inundated by evidence of society’s current propensity for fighting. Better still is the tendency for people to fight over ridiculous or pointless things. So if society is, as a whole, becoming angrier (read: entitled, spoiled, and self-centered) how does this apply to gun owners? It doesn’t.
There are fools within any group, and so there are fools within the group known as gun owners. However, those fools are the exception, not the rule, and there are quite a few gun owners out there. Although there is no set number for how many gun owners there are in the United States, estimates have been made by gun control groups ranging anywhere from 270 million to 310 million (270 million is actually closer to the number of known firearms in the United States). There’s just one problem with those numbers: according to the 2007 census, there were only 301.3 million United States citizens. Enter the other issue with keeping track, that there’s no national registry for firearms, and we’re faced with a bit of a conundrum. There’s no way to know who has what guns unless everyone admits to it, volunteering information as to whether or not they own guns, how many they own, and which guns make up their personal collection. Herein lies the crux of the matter: no gun owner worth the price of a foreign-made, steel-cased target round is going to openly admit to and list all their firearms for any government or research-based entity. With that in mind, consider this: how can we know what percentage of gun owners are or are not angry when we do not know how many gun owners are out there?
There is a deep-set fear on the left side of the fence when it comes to firearms. Fear that all gun owners are unstable and about to go off like an unstable World-War II grenade at any moment. Fear that gun owners are, in general, an armed powder keg needing only the tiniest spark to combust. Fear that owning a firearm immediately marks a person as somehow mentally unfit, meaning they are far more likely to someday lose all control and wreak havoc on an unsuspecting populace. These fears have one thing in common: they’re not based in reality. They’re also not backed up by any accurate studies or statistics. Actually, existing, accurate statistics show something altogether different.
Each year, 200,000 women use a gun to defend themselves against an attacker bent on sexual assault. Although the number of female gun owners is climbing, it’s still significantly lower than that of male gun owners, making it a number desperately in need of change. Some women may not appreciate hearing (reading) this, but women as a whole are the weaker sex. We are not physically capable of protecting ourselves from a man determined to harm us. We lack the upper body strength, and we’ve been trained by society at large to defer to the needs of others, making us more likely to feel obligated to pause and help that stranger or to apologize for being suspicious of someone. Carrying a gun levels the playing field a bit, giving women the ability to protect themselves as well as those they love from threats, whether from within the home or without. As an increasing number of women finally see the firearm-loving light and begin to arm themselves, this number will go up, and the number of rapes and cases of domestic violence will go down.
Felons understand the threat an armed populace presents. In fact, approximately 70% of convicted felons interviewed say they will purposefully avoid a person or home they know has guns. Most felons don’t have a death wish, and neither do they wish to be detained and arrested when law enforcement arrives on the scene. Not only does owning a gun allow you to defend your castle, it acts as a deterrent to criminals overall.
Furthermore, legally-owned guns are used by law-abiding citizens to prevent or halt crime eighty times more frequently than they’re used to commit murder or to carry out suicide. There are countless gun-control claims out there saying homes with guns in them are far more likely to have incidents of suicide, murder, or gun-related accidents, than those without guns, but the facts say something altogether different. The only way to back up claims being made by those lobbying for gun control is by either manufacturing data or by pulling cases of suicide and murder from incidents involving illegally owned or obtained guns. When it comes to law-abiding gun owners, the actual numbers do not lie: owning a gun keeps your home safer. Safer from everything, which brings us to our next point and that of the study that opened this piece: firearms and mental health.
The mentally unstable will always find a way to harm themselves and others. Dylann Roof, the shooter in Charleston who ruthlessly murdered church-goers in cold blood, did not obtain his gun legally. In the days following the shooting the mainstream media was shouting from the rooftops the fact they believed to be true, that Roof had legally obtained the gun used in the shooting. It didn’t take long before further research unearthed reality: his gun was illegally gotten, making him yet another in a long list of shooters using illegal guns.
In the United Kingdom, where firearms are strictly regulated, those interested in hurting others have turned to another weapon: knives. Handguns were banned in the UK back in 1997 and, in the years to follow, the number of violent attacks on the record soared to new heights with a 77% increase over the number on record prior to the ban. That’s a stunning 2 attacks per minute, and those attacks are carried out using the weapons available, which tends to be knives. There are 2,034 violent crimes carried out in the UK per 100,000 citizens. In the US, there are 466 violent crimes carried out per 100,000 citizens. Since the majority of UK attacks involve knives, there have been numerous calls for bans on kitchen knives, scissors, and other sharp implements. Apparently the UK hasn’t gotten the message that banning weapons does not halt attacks but only allows for greater creativity, which has a tendency to lead to more suffering as well.
Mental illness is a serious matter, which is why there are measures in place in the United States to prevent those who are truly mentally ill from owning a gun. Anger itself is not technically a mental disorder, although anger is a symptom of many mental disorders. There are, of course, anger disorders, impulse-control diagnoses, and anger management classes and programs. One disorder in particular, called Intermittent Explosive Disorder, which is described as “failure to resist aggressive impulses that result in serious assaultive acts or destruction of property” does make it into the DSM-IV-TR. Then there are those mental illnesses with serious anger as a major marker, including, but not limited to, Psychotic Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Antisocial, Borderline, Paranoid, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and Adjustment Disorder with Disturbance of Conduct. All those are outlined and classified in the DSM, making them, yes, diagnosable mental health issues, which means being diagnosed with them will result in your being stopped from purchasing a firearm by legal means.
It’s absolutely accurate to say not all mental health issues are caught and diagnosed, and even fewer are treated, but it’s also true to say we as a society seem to rush to label everything. Years ago there were far fewer children being diagnosed with ADHD and other issues, and, as a result, far fewer children being medicated into a stupor. Adults are also caught in this net of a rush to diagnose and medicate, resulting in a somewhat disturbingly over-medicated populace. If you think there aren’t any problems with being medicated, well, you’re both right and wrong. There’s a time and place for medication, but there are also many people on medications who do not really need them, and there are many side effects to those medications – including anger, depression, and suicide. It’s become a never-ending cycle, one not at all limited to those who own guns. We, as a society, have become angrier. Sadder. More prone to acting out.
This brings us full circle to the original point. There are a disturbing number of violent acts being carried out across the country. Americans are reacting to what are truly minor incidents in overwhelmingly violent ways. Ferguson wasn’t the first, and it wasn’t the last; Ferguson, and all those before and after, was simply a symptom of a larger problem.
Gun owners are not inherently angry. In fact, law-abiding gun owners tend to be some of the most responsible, rational people you’ll ever meet. Those who carry guns for personal protection rarely take on such a weighty responsibility without serious thought and consideration for all factors in sharp contrast to gangbangers who strap on a piece without a thought beyond their own twisted desire for street cred and ill-gotten power. Saying gun owners have anger issues is not unlike claiming fork owners have eating disorders and mirror owners have image problems. It’s a gross exaggeration, and it’s one being fed by fear and ignorance.
Next time a study is carried out it would behoove the researchers to talk to a larger slice of the population than the 5,563 people contacted over a period of 10 years they spoke to in order to come up with their 1-in-9-gun-owners-are-angry statistic. Better yet, it would behoove the population in general to think for themselves rather than simply swallowing blatantly ludicrous claims hook, line, and propaganda-laced sinker. Who would you rather find yourself with if your well-being, or that of your loved ones, is being threatened, a gun owner or a pacifist armed only with a file folder of woefully inaccurate statistics? I’ll take the gun owner every time, and use my own to back them up.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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