When Duke University researchers asked subjects to reveal a) if they've ever exhibited impulsive angry behavior, and b) if they have easy access to a gun, 8.9% of them copped to such anger management issues and a gun in their home, while 1.5% of them admitted to the aforementioned anger and packing heat when they left the house, CBS News reports. The study published in Behavioral Sciences & the Law notes that only about 4% of US gun violence is caused by those with more "serious" mental illness—the kinds that should prevent those individuals from legally acquiring firearms. "There is a potentially much larger group of individuals in our society who struggle with pathological impulsive and destructive anger that would not normally turn up as serious mental illness on a background check," says study author Jeff Swanson.
"The most volatile people are slipping through the cracks," he adds, per Mother Jones. The subjects who admitted to being short-fused had only rarely been hospitalized—just 10% of them fell under that category—but they were at a greater risk of experiencing personality disorders, anxiety, PTSD, and substance abuse, CBS notes. That's why the researchers in this study don't think coming up with better ways to ID more serious mental illness is the panacea for the country's problem with gun violence. Instead, per CBS, they suggest implementing more stringent review of gun purchasers' misdemeanor records to check for lower-priority outbursts that could still serve as red flags. The NRA couldn't be reached for comment, per CBS. (Ample stories on gun violence exist to examine.)