There’s no doubt America is obsessed with guns. It’s evident by the jarring 300 million firearms available in the nation, but where does the infatuation come from?

Two researchers recently found that when examining men who are going through financial problems, many of their passionate views about firearms derive from a sense of “empowerment”—and they feel stricter gun laws are an attack on their masculinity.

The study by Baylor University sociology professors Carson Mencken and Paul Froese found white men who own firearms and have lost financial stability, or think they soon will, find moral and emotional solace in their guns.

Other demographic groups, such as women and nonwhite males, don’t place as much importance on guns, the study shows. The professors also found that gun owners on average are typically white, male, married, older and living in rural areas.