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UArizona research finds that gun ownership doesn’t increase happiness

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PHOENIX — New research from a University of Arizona professor found that owning a gun doesn’t necessarily increase happiness.

The study, conducted by associate professor of sociology Terrence Hill, took data from a series of questionnaires from 1973 to 2018 to isolate happiness levels and whether respondents owned a gun.

Hill concluded that gun ownership was unrelated to happiness after analyzing more than 37,000 responses.

“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 the press release. “That calls into question whether or not these are real feelings that gun owners have, or are they just part of the culture of owning a gun?”

The biggest factor that broke the correlation was marital status. Marriage, not gun ownership, was driving happiness in individuals, the study found.

Other factors that increased happiness included race, religion and education, according to the study.

Hill didn’t rule out that owning a gun would result in an increase in happiness for certain individuals.

A group of gun owners that did show more happiness were people who identified as Democrats although that trend has decreased over the years, according to the study.

“We want to understand gun owners’ subjective experiences,” Hill said in the release. “We’re trying to understand when guns promote individual well-being, if at all, and that will add to the discussion of the role of guns in our society.”

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