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Are Gun Owners Happier And Do They Sleep Better? UA Study Says No

New studies from University of Arizona researchers ask  if gun owners are happier and sleep better than those who do not own firearms.

In a word, “No.”

That’s the finding from Terence Hill, a medical sociologist at University of Arizona. He said before his team crunched the numbers, they expected to find gun owners would be happier based on three principles:  feeling safe, being empowered and experiencing pleasure.  

“There are a lot of ideas out there in gun culture and also in the culture of non-gun owners, claims being made like, ‘gun owners are cowards,’ that type of thing. There’s also no evidence to support that type of idea. There are a lot of bad ideas floating around. And that’s why we want to test these with real data,” he said.

Hill added some gun owners may indeed feel safer and as a result happier but that’s not the case for the general population.  

In a press release, Hill said, "Whenever people start to promote a certain type of lifestyle — like a type of exercise or a diet — public health is there to test it," he said. "We think if anybody makes a claim about how guns are good for people's health and well being, those claims should be formally tested with empirical data. We need to test those claims like we would test any dietary or exercise recommendation."

While a 2018 Rasmussen poll showed those “who have guns at home say [they] feel safer,” contradicting some of the findings in Hill’s research, the sample size was only 438 people vs. 38,000 in Hill’s studies with data collected between 1973-2018.  

Separate research by Hill's team looked at  whether gun owners slept better, but there was no difference between those who owned firearms and those who didn’t.

News Science
Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.