The debate is vociferous, scathing and vitriolic. Many blame unfettered access to guns as the cause of our epidemic of violence. The media/public focuses its attention on mass shootings and rapid fire weapons. The NRA touts the need to preserve our second amendment right to bear arms and the need to defend our homes. The issue is neither easy access to large capacity rapid firing guns or the mentally ill committing crimes with guns...
Both groups have overlooked a simple fact. almost 70% of gun deaths are suicides.
People with schizophrenia and psychosis do not have an increased incidence of criminal gun violence except in those with substance use disorder (SUD) but no higher than those with SUD alone. Further a recent review of the literature stated
“… little population-level evidence supports the notion that individuals diagnosed with mental illness are more likely than anyone else to commit gun crimes.” 1
The Supreme Court has ruled that reasonable regulations on gun ownership are constitutional. The majority of Americans favor background checks and gun registration. Rather than promoting a political agenda of the fight against mass killings, or blaming psychosis, a balanced debate is needed.
The vast majority of gun owners are rational, sane, law abiding citizens… hunters, sportsman gun aficionados without extreme political agendas. They love this country, oppose violence and have no interest in seeing the epidemic of suicides persist or grow.
While guns make suicide attempts much more lethal, the underlying problem still remains depression and suicide, not firearms.
Please lets redirect our energies away from attacking guns and mental illness(schizophrenia/psychosis). Let’s join forces to address the underfunding and lack of resources to deal with depression and suicide. The United States Preventative Services task Force has highlighted the need and value of screening for depression.
What do we need
A balanced rational debate with both sides listening
Finding common ground
Fair and reasonable gun regulations
Recognition that we need to minimize suicides
We need to make more resources available to address depression.
Suicide and depression are the major underlying problem we face. Lets attack the real enemy and help those who are suffering and desperate.