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.”