Exploring the Potential of Stricter Gun Restrictions for People with Serious Mental Illness to Reduce Homicide in the United States

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Exploring the Potential of Stricter Gun Restrictions for People with Serious Mental Illness to Reduce Homicide in the United States

Category: Firearm Availability, Homicide, Mass Shootings|Journal: Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology|Author: J Fairfax-Columbo, J Matejkowski, P Solomon, S Cullen, S Marcus|Year: 2014

This study explores the potential that current efforts to limit access to firearms for individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) have for reducing overall rates of murder by firearm in the United States. Official arrest, court and health records provided data on personal and offense characteristics of 95 individuals with SMI and 423 without, all of whom had been convicted of murder in the State of Indiana between 1990 and 2002. Bivariate analyses examined differences between the two groups and logistic regression models examined the relationship between SMI and offense characteristics. Compared to those without, a relatively small proportion of convicted murderers had a diagnosis indicating SMI. The presence of SMI was associated with reduced likelihood of targeting a stranger and was not associated with having multiple-victims or firearm use. Focusing on access to firearms exclusively by individuals with SMI will have little impact on multiple-victim or firearm-related homicides.

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