The Problem With Solving Gun Violence By Going After The Mentally Ill  

A new Health Affairs study suggests combatting gun violence by going after the mentally ill may not be a winning strategy, the Washington Post reports.

“Although people with mental illness were more likely to be arrested for violent crime than the general population over the study period, from 2002 to 2011, the study found they actually had a slightly lower arrest rate for gun-related crimes. And although the rate of suicide was about four times higher among people with such mental illnesses, they were half as likely to use a gun as the general population.”

The study’s findings suggest that policies designed to restrict unstable individuals from accessing guns are not particularly effective.

“The study did find that policies to restrict people from obtaining guns don’t seem to be particularly effective — 62 percent of people in the study who committed gun-related violent crimes were not allowed to buy a gun. Those restrictions, however, largely stemmed from their criminal records, not their history of mental illness.”

“Among those who committed suicide with a gun, 72 percent were allowed to buy them. And 38 percent of the people arrested for violent gun crimes weren’t prohibited.”

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  • pisher

    Here’s a wild thought–why not do both? Work to help identify and treat mental illness. And since we know we can’t possibly identify all violent perpetrators in advance (and if we could, what kind of scary totalitarian society out of dystopian science fiction would we be?), put common sense regulations on the purchase and ownership of firearms.

    Simple.

    If we were a sane Democracy.

    • Jason G

      Saw this and thought you were talking about Orlando and then saw you had posted it last week. 🙁

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