Mental illness not to blame for gun violence study finds

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Counter to a lot of public opinion, having a mental illness does not necessarily make a person more likely to commit gun violence. According to a new study, a better indicator of gun violence was access to firearms.

A study by researchers at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston looked into the association between and mental in a group of 663 young adults in Texas. Their results were published in the journal Preventive Medicine.

"Counter to public beliefs, the majority of mental health symptoms examined were not related to gun ," said Dr. Yu Lu, a postdoctoral research fellow at UTMB and the lead author of the study.

What researchers found instead was that individuals who had gun access were approximately 18 times more likely to have threatened someone with a gun. Individuals with high hostility were about 3.5 times more likely to threaten someone.

"These findings have important implications for gun control policy efforts," Lu said.

Each year, an estimated 75,000 to 100,000 Americans are injured by firearms and 30,000 to 40,000 die from firearms, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

"Much of the limited research on gun violence and has focused on violence among individuals with severe mental illnesses or rates of mental illness among individuals arrested for violent crimes," Lu said. "What we found is that the link between mental illness and gun violence is not there."

Lu and Dr. Jeff Temple, another author of the study and a professor at UTMB, surveyed participants in a long-term study about their firearm possession and use as well as about anxiety, depression, stress, , hostility, impulsivity, , mental health treatment and other demographic details.

The researchers found that individuals who had access to guns, compared to those with no such access, were over 18 times more likely to have threatened someone with a gun, even after controlling for a number of demographic and mental health variables. Meanwhile, most mental health symptoms were unrelated to gun violence.

"Taking all this information together, limiting access to guns, regardless of any other mental health status, demographics or prior treatments, is the key to reducing gun violence," Temple said.


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More information: Yu Lu et al, Dangerous weapons or dangerous people? The temporal associations between gun violence and mental health, Preventive Medicine (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2019.01.008
Journal information: Preventive Medicine

Citation: Mental illness not to blame for gun violence study finds (2019, February 6) retrieved 24 April 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-02-mental-illness-blame-gun-violence.html
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Feb 06, 2019
Everyone knew this. This is why the NRA has made the federal government prohibit research into gun violence for generations.

Feb 06, 2019
New study just in: people who hydrate are 18 times more likely to urinate than those who don't!

Feb 06, 2019
The second amendment also enshrines the words "..a well regulated..." and not "...open slather.." (free reign). It also clearly states, with an example, that people should have a legitimate reason for gun ownership (membership of a militia is mentioned). Guns for hunting, guns protection where necessary are examples. AR-15 does not have a purpose for anyone beyond professional hunters required to cull large populations of animals from the air (as in Australia).

Feb 07, 2019
that's obvious all around the world, except in the USA.

Feb 07, 2019
Which begs the question... what was the rate for people who had *both* mental illness and access to guns?

Feb 07, 2019
The second amendment also enshrines the words "..a well regulated..." and not "...open slather.." (free reign). It also clearly states, with an example, that people should have a legitimate reason for gun ownership (membership of a militia is mentioned). Guns for hunting, guns protection where necessary are examples. AR-15 does not have a purpose for anyone beyond professional hunters required to cull large populations of animals from the air (as in Australia).


Your selective quoting of the amendment doesn't help your case. "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The first two clauses modify the third. The 2nd Amendment *doesn't* guarantee personal freedom to own guns, although it has been read as though it does. It guarantees the security of the state by arming citizens.

mqr
Feb 07, 2019
Many forms of hatred are forms of mental disease. Men in many countries, especially in the USA, would shoot their wives, or other members of the family, because something small and trivial, like the tv remote control is missing. That is a severe case of mental disorder, the disproportion of the behavior given the conditions where it was presented. And in the USA, it is very obvious that that nation has a hatred problem, average people there can not handle emotions and have very poor education, so they do not workout, no exercise, no meditation, no reading, no way to regulate emotions. Those who had lived in the USA knows that it is a downward spiral: "Oh, there was a shooting at a school, so I will buy more guns today TO DEFEND MY FAMILY" (his family = him and his dog). What actually would happen? he likely will grab his guns, go to his ex girlfriend and shoot her, her child and her new boyfriend, a typical day in the USA.

Feb 07, 2019
Wow, so let me get this straight, going on a violent killing rampage is not considered mental illness? People just mysteriously decide to kill their entire family because they happened to have a gun. Like the gun is speaking to them, calling them, to kill people. This is like saying vehicle accidents are caused by easy access to cars. Or obesity is caused by easy access to fatty foods, lets blame the food not the people.

People will always find a way to hurt other people if they are so inclined. We see this in countries that have banned guns. They use knives, cars, bombs, acid, bricks etc etc. And yes, somehow, magically people in these gun free countries still find ways to get...guns! The black market for guns in these countries is more profitable than drugs.

Mar 31, 2019
@Jayarava Yes, that is my reading of it. The amendment came at time when the North favoured a standing army and the South liked its militias. The amendment preserves the right of the South to maintain its militias, the 'well regulated' refers to government oversight and not vigilantes groups and also preserves the right of militia members to store their guns at home, so preserving the security of the state and the country from the invaders and colonizes still circling at that time.

Later rulings high court reversed this emphasis to say that militia was just an example of the use of a gun. Using that dynamic we sill have:
a) the amendment suggest that guns need to be fit for purpose and
b) the purpose must be well regulated (implying by the government).

Put those two things together and the have the Australian model where you can still buy and use an AR-15, for instance, if you actually need that weapon for your employment (eg culling animals from a helicopter).

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