Mental illness not to blame for gun violence, study finds
Despite many people’s passionately defended beliefs - and what certain gun-toting organizations would lead you to believe - one groundbreaking scientific study found that those who have mental illness are not more likely to commit gun violence.
This particular study, conducted by researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, suggests that a better indicator of gun-related violence is a person’s ability to access firearms.
The author of the study, a postdoctoral research fellow at UTMB, Dr. Yu Lu, said, "Counter to public beliefs, the majority of mental health symptoms examined were not related to gun violence,"
Rather than finding a link between mental illness and gun violence, the UTMB researchers were able to conclude that those who had convenient access to guns were 18 times more likely to threaten someone with gun violence. They also found that those with a proclivity to become angry were nearly 3.5 times more likely to threaten or harm someone with a firearm.
"Taking all this information together, limiting access to guns, regardless of any other mental health status, demographics or prior mental health treatments is the key to reducing gun violence,"
-Jeff Temple, Co-author of the study.
The Ever-Increasing Number of Gun Deaths has Long Since Reached Abhorrently Alarming Figures
According to Dr. Lu, "These findings have important implications for gun control policy efforts,"
Dr. Lu and his fellow co-author, Dr. Jeff Temple, research team’s scientific effort come during a time of intense national polarization with millions of Americans diametrically opposed in their opinions as to what the driving force and root cause of the US’s increasingly devastating issues with gun violence.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year, an estimated 75,000-100,000 people in the US are injured by firearms. While these statistics are alarming, they pale in comparison to the astonishing number of those who are killed by firearms which last year rose to nearly 40,000 gun-related deaths.
While public opinion is unlikely to change after one study, Dr. Lu and his team’s efforts are nothing short of revolutionarily illuminating and, at the very least, give us a scientific basis for which even Ju admits, has not been scientifically researched nearly enough.
More Research Needs to be Done to Inform the Public
Dr. Lu concludes, "Much of the limited research on gun violence and mental illness 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."
To add to the overall veracity of the study’s findings, which included 663 young adults in Texas, the research team’s results have since been published in the renowned scientific journal, Preventive Medicine.
Disclaimer from Scientific Daily’s Original Post: This research was supported by awards from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Justice. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NICHD or NIJ.T
'Times Are a-Changin'
While gun violence is rampant in America, the truth is most families (thankfully) will never be affected, personally. However, now that the theoretical-tie between gun violence and mental health is fastly being debunked by studies like that of Dr. Lu, the stigmatization of mentally ill peoples - something that does, in fact, affect most families in America - moves closer to becoming nothing more than an unfortunate footnote of America's past.
Considering, that in spite of being ten times more likely of being a victim of gun violence than a perpetrator themselves severely mentally ill people are a demographic that makes up roughly 25% of all police-related shootings, the fact there are over 380,000 severely mentally ill men and women currently living in prison rather than a treatment facility, or that six out of ten of the 8 million severely mentally ill peoples living in the US decide against treatment lest they be persecuted, our nation's ever-evolving view and handling of mental illness can't come soon enough.
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