Arthur Brooks reports:
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
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
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.
By the way, if you are curious, I have never even touched a gun.
Addendum: Arthur has a new (and very good) book out, Gross National Happiness.