Gun Violence and Mental Health

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by citizenzen, Jun 8, 2013.

  1. citizenzen, Jun 8, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013

    citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    This issue has been brought up numerous times and I recently posted something on this in another thread. I think the question of whether gun violence could be solved by focusing on mental health demands a thread of its own.

    Here are some problems that I foresee in seeing mental health as a solution to gun violence ...

    Mental Illness affects a large percentage of the population. According the National Institute of Mental Health, ~26% of adult Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. How do you test, evaluate and administer this program? In a time where there is so much pressure to reduce government bureaucracy and intrusion, this would appear difficult to achieve politically.

    Gun violence is rare even amongst those with diagnosed mental disorders. Gun advocates ask how we can restrict firearms from those who've never engaged in violence. Likewise this argument could be used by those with diagnosed disorders. Are you willing to deny gun ownership based on the potential that they might be a few percentage points more likely to engage in gun violence?

    Even if we managed to identify key markers for gun violence, it's likely that it's a combination of physical and mental conditions combined by life circumstances. Are you willing to deny people the ability to own guns because they have gene 'X'? Or is there a governing body to monitor the events in one's life in order to anticipate when one is more likely to be pushed over the edge?

    For example: You have gene 'X', and we were willing to let you own a gun. But now that you've been through a divorce, messy child custody and job loss, you've exceeded your risk allowance, so we'll have to confiscate your weapons.

    Can you see the problems involved here?

    How do you suggest we deal with them?
  2. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    Not every diagnosable mental disorder will lead to increased risk of homicide should the diagnosed person have access to a firearm. Not every severity of a given mental disorder would necessarily lead to increased homicide risk.

    So the first order of business is to compile a list of mental disorders that disqualify one from owning a firearm. Then determine the severity of the disorder that disqualifies.

    Simple examples: triskaidekaphobia, agoraphobia.
  3. citizenzen thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    I completely agree.

    Fear of the number 13 is a definite marker for gun violence.

  4. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    26% is overstating it a bit I think when it comes to serious mental illness. "Only" about 5% will have a disablingly serious mental illness in any one year. So, just think about grabbing 20 random people off the street, and, handing every one a gun, like some gun-conservatives want to do. One of those people has a very serious mental illness, such as disabling bipolar or depression.

    Well, you certainly have a point. Only, I would say that it is most often Chromosome 'Y' rather than gene 'X'. If we restrict gun ownership to women over the age of 25 we would all be safer. What is the "smilie" for bitter irony? :mad: ;) :( ?

    Many of the people making these "mental illness" arguments seem to think that psychiatrists can read minds and predict what mentally ill people are going to do. More irony in the fact that many of the same F/A (Fundamentalist/Authoritarian) personalities tend to reject psychiatry on religious grounds. But suddenly, when it comes to gun control, psychiatrists develop magical powers to foresee who will misuse guns. More :mad: ;) :(

    It certainly makes sense to me to disallow the criminally insane from gun ownership, but, we don't always know who these people are until they actually do something really bad.
  5. portishead macrumors 65816

    Apr 4, 2007
    los angeles
    I'm sure you could get a panel of psychiatrists/psychologists/gun experts (not gun nuts)/law enforcement and they could figure something out that would be reasonable.

    The problem is the NRA/gun nuts/Lobbyists are extremely loud on the subject, politicians will screw it up and throw some abortion bill in there, and it will never get passed.
  6. citizenzen thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    The NIHM defined it as "diagnosable" mental illness.

    Completely agree. The easiest way to dramatically reduce gun crime would simply be to deny access to males.

    That, however, will not sell well. Especially to men.

    Again I completely agree.

    I'd love to hear from gun advocates who have suggested we root out these likely killers how they plan to do this.

    Interesting how none have offered any thoughts on the subject.

    Very interesting.
  7. Technarchy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2012
    Must be lots of crazy people in Los Angeles, Chicago, Brooklyn and Baltimore...
  8. mscriv macrumors 601


    Aug 14, 2008
    Dallas, Texas
    That's probably because the argument itself is misinformed and quite silly really. It's probably being tossed about in the media because someone on the extreme side of the issue said something irrational as opposed to the majority of us who are more reasonable in our approach.
  9. citizenzen thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    Yet in these forums a number of people have expressed the notion that this is the key to solving the problem of gun violence.

    Perhaps they've changed their minds and realized that this is an untenable approach.

    However, I suspect that this will continue to be advanced as the solution, without any real thought being put forth as to the problems that lie behind it.
  10. mcrain macrumors 68000


    Feb 8, 2002
    Ok, can we list religious belief and belief in reaganomics as mental health disorders that are sufficient to prohibit someone from getting a gun? Please?
  11. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    I'm chuckling as I read this, very well said. A very nicely aimed (and a rather telling) shot, too.........
  12. mscriv macrumors 601


    Aug 14, 2008
    Dallas, Texas
    I guess I've missed those posts from forum members here. Admittedly, I haven't really delved deep into the gun control/gun rights threads because they tend to be so long and generally aren't my interest. So, to be clear, I'm not saying there haven't been posts like that, people get worked up over all sorts of things here at MR, just that I haven't seen them.
  13. citizenzen thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    As someone who has enjoyed participating in those threads, the idea is quite common.

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