Link between mental illness and gun violence studied


The evidence is contradictory

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — When addressing the recent mass shootings, President Donald Trump blamed mental illness as the source of the problem.

The evidence on that is contradictory and critics say every country has mental illness but only the United States has routine mass shootings.

“Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun,” Trump said.

Nadia Aziz with the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law argues blaming mental illness for mass shootings is a distraction from what she says is the real problem — guns.

“If we had stronger gun safety laws, there wouldn’t be a trigger to pull,” Azis said.

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy has dedicated his career to gun reform since the Sandy Hood school shooting.

He wrote in a Tweet that 4 out of 5 mass shooters have no mental illness diagnosis and half showed no signs of prior undiagnosed illness.

The latest science is contradictory. An FBI study of mass shootings between 2000 and 2013 found that fewer than 25% of gunmen were diagnosed with mental illness.

A recently Secret Service investigation of mass shootings in 2018 found two-thirds of gunmen did exhibit symptoms of mental illness.

“Other countries have mental health, other countries have violent video games, other countries have hate groups,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.

Swalwell said what other countries don’t have is the easy access to assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

“That’s why you see a combination of hate and access to weapons meeting and the result is sadly, really, really deadly,” Swalwell said.

Azis said history shows mental illness is most frequently the excuse when the gunman is white.

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