US gun
A man looks at different rental guns displayed during shooting event in Arizona (Reuters)

A new study has revealed that a tenth of US adults are angry and armed.

Research conducted by teams at Duke, Harvard, and Columbia universities – and published in scientific journal Behavioural Sciences and the Law – estimates that 9% of American adults have a history of impulsive, angry behaviour and own a gun. More than 1% carry their guns outside the home.

However, more than nine out of ten of these people had never been admitted to a hospital on the grounds of mental issues or substance abuse, which meant that their medical history would not prove to be a stumbling block when trying to purchase a gun in the States.

Ronald Kessler, Ph.D., professor of health care policy at Harvard and principal investigator of the NCS-R survey, said: "Very few people in this concerning group suffer from the kinds of disorders that often lead to involuntary commitment and which would legally prohibit them from buying a gun."

Furthermore, the research, which was garnered by the National Comorbidity Study Replication and analysed data from 5,563 participants, revealed that those who owned six or more guns were more likely to have a history of anger issues and to carry their weapons outside the home than those who had just one or two firearms.

Jeffrey Swanson, Ph.D., lead author of the study and professor in psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Duke Medicine, said: "As we try to balance constitutional rights and public safety regarding people with mental illness, the traditional legal approach has been to prohibit firearms from involuntarily-committed psychiatric patients.

"But now we have more evidence that current laws don't necessarily keep firearms out of the hands of a lot of potentially dangerous individuals."

The researchers are calling for many states to follow the lead of Indiana and Connecticut who utilise "dangerous person" gun removal laws.