SOTG 208 - Gun Owners Have Mental Problems

SOTG 208 – Gun Owners Have Mental Problems

You might not be aware of it, but according to the not-at-all-biased Center to Stop Gun Violence, gun owners have numerous mental problems to include paranoia, impulsive violent behavior, and a crisis of confidence.
Just when you thought the male population of the United States could not get any weaker, we have an example of Vagination so profound that a sense of decorum prohibits detailing it here. Also, Wednesday is SWAT Fuel Fitness Talk day. Jarrad and Paul have some thought on leadership.



A shopper at a Connecticut flea market became so offended by items he saw for sale by one vendor that he actually called the police.

The shopper, who wants to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, became so offended that a vendor within the Redwood Country Flea Market was selling confederate flag merchandise and World War II merchandise featuring Nazi symbols that he called the police.

The caller, who said he was of Jewish ancestry, became very upset over what he considers two symbols of hate. “I was shaking and almost vomiting,” he said. “I had to run.”

While it is understandable why someone of Jewish descent would become offended at Nazi items, it is not enough to warrant having someone arrested or their business shut down under the law. The ability to possess and sell these items is protected by the First Amendment.

“There was a table set up with this material,” Wallingford Chief William Wright said. “It’s not criminally illegal, but obviously it offended this person. It causes some people a sense of being uncomfortable. Certainly the owner could preclude this merchandise.”

Several officers responded to the call, at an unknown cost to taxpayers.

There are numerous collectors in the United States who collect World War II merchandise from all countries. They view their collections as history archives and not signs of hate.

The Confederate Flag has only recently come under fire after it was revealed that the mass murderer who targeted an African American church in Charleston last month featured the flag prominently on his website.


Several studies conducted in recent years have given us great insight into the psychology of gun ownership; meaning the beliefs and behaviors frequently exhibited by gun owners and the motivations behind them keeping weapons.

As it turns out, cultural context, racial biases, political affiliation, and anger issues are all related to gun ownership. Here’s a sampling of some of the exciting research that’s out there:

Those who own guns tend to be part of a “social gun culture.” In a 2015 study, Bindu Kalesan, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia University, found that there is a strong association between exposure to social gun culture and gun ownership. According to Dr. Kalesan’s research, the average gun-owning America is “white, married or divorced, high income, and over 55 years old.” The social gun culture includes “unseen codes of behaviour and powerful predictors of behavioural intentions and health behaviours.” Dr. Kalesan measured exposure to social gun culture by using the following questions:
Would the individual’s family or social circle think less of them if they did not own a gun?
Does their social life with family and friends involve activities including guns?
Men who carry guns suffer from a “crisis of confidence.” Jennifer Carlson, author of “Citizen-Protectors: The Everyday Politics of Guns in an Age of Decline,” explained in a recent op-ed why men feel the need to carry guns in public. One man told Carson he felt “naked” without his gun. Carlson found that men might carry guns in public “as a reaction to broader socioeconomic decline” or because carrying a gun is seen as a “masculine duty.” Psychologically, carrying a gun can help men “address social insecurities far beyond crime.” Carlson concluded by noting, “The gun rights platform is not just about guns. It’s also about a crisis of confidence in the American dream. And this is one reason gun control efforts ignite such intense backlashes: Restrictions are received as a personal affront to men who find in guns a sense of duty, relevance and even dignity.”
Gun owners tend to be angry and impulsive. A June 2015 study found that “310 million firearms estimated to be in private hands in the United States are disproportionately owned by people who are prone to angry, impulsive behavior and have a potentially dangerous habit of keeping their guns close at hand.” There is a “co-occurrence of impulsive angry behavior and possessing or carrying a gun among adults with and without certain mental disorders and demographic characteristics.”Almost 9% of people who “self-report patterns of impulsive angry behavior” also have a firearm at home, and 1.5% (or nearly 85 people out of 5,653 surveyed for this study) carry their guns in places other than their home. The authors found that, when studying violence and anger, it is more effective to look at the arrest history of individuals rather than seeing if they have a mental illness. Arrests could show “a history of impulsive or angry behavior (for example, criminal records of misdemeanor violence, DWIs and domestic violence restraining orders),” which “would likely serve as a more feasible and less discriminatory indicator of an individual’s gun violence risk.”
Holding a gun can make you paranoid. In 2012, James Brockmole, an associate professor of psychology at Notre Dame, found that “Wielding a gun increases a person’s bias to see guns in the hands of others.” Participants holding a toy gun during an experiment were more likely than participants holding a neutral object, like a ball, to think that people on a computer screen in front of them were also holding a gun. Participants were shown images of people that changed throughout the experience: sometimes the people in the image would be wearing ski masks and sometimes the computer would change the race of the people. Participants holding guns were “more likely to classify objects held by others as guns and, as a result, to engage in threat-induced behavior.”
Those with racist views are more likely to oppose gun reform. In an October 2013 study, Kerry O’Brien, Walter Forrest, Dermot Lynott and Michael Daly concluded that “Symbolic racism [is] related to having a gun in the home and opposition to gun control policies in U.S. whites.” The study defined symbolic racism as “racial resentment…an explicit but subtle form and measure of racism.” While the reasons for owning guns and being opposed to gun violence prevention legislation vary and are complex, “it has been suggested that sociocultural factors such as fear of black violence may be associated with gun ownership, and with opposition to gun controls.” Professors Benforado and Young also supported this statement in their respective works. In his 2010 study, Benforado writes, “Advances in implicit social cognition reveal that most people carry biases against racial minorities beyond their conscious awareness. These biases affect critical behavior, including the actions of individuals performing shooting tasks. In simulations, Americans are faster and more accurate when firing on armed blacks than when firing on armed whites, and faster and more accurate in electing to hold their fire when confronting unarmed whites than when confronting unarmed blacks.” Similarly, in his 1985 study, Young writes, “The ownership of firearms for protection is influenced by the interaction of racial prejudice and perceptions of crime and crime fighters. Moreover, the impact of prejudice is sufficiently strong that the mere physical proximity of a relatively large black population is enough to increase gun ownership among highly prejudiced men, even in the absence of concerns about crime.”
Conservatives are far more likely to own firearms than others. A 2014 General Social Survey found that “half of Republicans live in households with at least one gun, which is twice as high as ownership among Democrats or independents.”
Risk-taking students are more likely to have guns at college. A September 2002 Harvard University study by Matthew Miller, David Hemenway and Henry Wechsler found that “gun-owning college students are more likely than their unarmed counter-parts to drink frequently and excessively and, when inebriated, to engage in activities that put themselves and others at risk for life-threatening injury.

Student of the Gun Podcast Radio Logo1400x1400 Student of the Gun Radio airs every Monday through Thursday  at 9 a.m. EST and can be found by going directly to using mobile devices can follow us with iTunes or Stitcher. SOTG Radio is a Think On! production. Student of the Gun is the #1 source for education, enjoyment and enlightenment of real-world firearms including: training, videos, radio, books and articles. A beginner once, a student for life. Being a Student of the Gun is not about being a novice or beginner. Student of the Gun represents a lifelong journey of education, enlightenment and the enjoyment of firearms. Each episode will introduce the viewer to new and interesting firearms as well as the latest gear to go with them. We will travel throughout the United States, seeking the advice and expertise of the best firearms trainers available. Sometimes deadly serious, sometimes just for fun, Student of the Gun will always strive to educate and entertain our viewers while offering them an insiders’ look at the worlds of firearms.

About the Host

Paul Markel: Host of Student of the Gun Radio

Paul Markel: Host of Student of the Gun Radio

Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a United States Marine, police officer, professional bodyguard, and small arms and tactics instructor. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly 20 years, and has hundreds of articles in print. A regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows, Markel is a subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students, young and old, for decades and has also worked actively with 4H Shooting Sports programs. Markel holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines; nonetheless, he is, and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.

About the Co-Host

Jarrad Markel: Co-Host and Producer of Student of the Gun Radio

Jarrad Markel: Co-Host and Producer of Student of the Gun Radio

Not just another pretty face, Jarrad Markel has experience and training beyond his years. Jarrad has been training to be a fighter since elementary school when he first learned the art of collegiate wrestling. Now skilled in Jujitsu, Judo, Muay Thai, Sambo, the Way of the Fighting Pistol and Fighting Rifle, Jarrad is a well-rounded, tactical athlete with several professional MMA fights under his belt. More than a brute, Jarrad has brains as well. He is the lead editor and videographer for Student of the Gun and works directly for Think On! Productions creating a wide variety of video material. In addition, Markel is a skilled web & blog designer, building material for the Internet side of the house.


SWAT Fuel >>

Velocity Triggers >>

Brownell’s >>

Century Arms >>

Crossbreed Holsters >>

FrogLube >>