From Sandy Hook to Columbine, this study is claiming gun violence isn’t because of mental illness. However, most believe attackers responsible for mass shootings are mentally ill. Check this out. Which side of the aisle are you on?
By Carol Pearson
The drill is almost numbingly the same: After a shooting in the U.S., people stop to honor the victims at the spot where they died. Some leave balloons. Others leave flowers. Some shed tears. The tragedy rivets the nation.
And then come the calls to strengthen laws to prevent people with mental illness from gaining access to guns.
When President Barack Obama appeared on a CNN program on gun control in January, a sheriff mentioned that the “real problem” in stopping gun violence is getting criminals and “those with mental illness to follow the laws.”
U.S. leaders link mental illness with shooting deaths. Obama proposed $500 million to expand mental health treatment in an effort to curb mass shootings and gun violence.
“We have seen consistently that an underlying cause of these attacks has been mental illness,” said Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, “and we should look at ways to address this problem.”
Yet research shows that people with mental illness, including those with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe depression, are not more likely to pick up a gun and kill others than the ordinary person.
Beth McGinty, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, just completed a study showing that most people with mental illness in the U.S. are not violent toward others, and that mental illness is not a factor in most gun violence in the United States.