If Aerosmith’s Janie (of “Janie’s Got A Gun” fame) got her gun in an attempt to make her happier, well, she missed the mark – at least according to a University of Arizona professor who says his research shows that owning a gun likely won’t make you happier.
But if the professor’s aim was to prove much of anything (like, as I suspect, why you don’t want to be like Janie), he misfired. (Okay, I’ll stop doing that.)
Who cares if a gun makes me happy? Most people don’t own guns to be happy – although going to the range can be a lot of fun.
Terrence Hill, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Arizona, says he analyzed more than 37,000 responses to questionnaires – dating back to 1973 – and found that owning a gun doesn’t necessarily increase happiness.
“If guns do make people feel safe, secure and protected, if they are empowering, if they are contributing to feelings of pleasure, then they should promote happiness, but we don’t find any evidence of that,” Hill said in a press release.
“That calls into question whether or not these are real feelings that gun owners have.”
But guns aren’t about feels. They aren’t puppies (which God made to make us happy). Guns are made to KILL.
I can’t label Professor Hill’s study as “junk science” because I’m not a statistician. But think about this when considering if his research actually shows causation: Many citizens who feel like they need to be a gun owner – in order to protect themselves from an abusive husband or because they live in a bad neighborhood – weren’t exactly in a happiness-inducing situation before becoming a gun owner.
They don’t care if the gun makes them happy. They care that it makes them safer. Firearm owners know that guns are the great equalizer. Women, seniors and even wheelchair-bound citizens stand a chance even against a much stronger, much bigger attacker.
So, I would suggest that Professor Hill’s research doesn’t prove anything and certainly doesn’t move the needle in the great American gun debate.
But that doesn’t mean nobody is taking notice of his study. If you’re a certain kind of politician, you may think that you can use this study as ammo (oops) to further convince people that the government needs to make it harder for people to get a gun. Even if they have a legitimate need for one.
Because you’ll be all frowny face. 🙁
And it’s more important to protect you from sad feelings than from bad guys.
However, before anti-gun politicians go around quoting this study, I would caution them to take note of a little tidbit from Professor Hill’s study (that will definitely make them less happy): The one group of gun owners that actually did display more happiness were people who identified as Democrats.
Uh-oh! Those politicians may need to rethink whom they’re targeting with their message.