The Tenuous Connections Involving Mass Shootings, Mental Illness, and Gun Laws

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The Tenuous Connections Involving Mass Shootings, Mental Illness, and Gun Laws

Category: Firearm Policies, Mass Shootings|Journal: Violence and Gender|Author: E Fridel, J Fox|Year: 2016

Despite their exceptional rarity, high-profile mass murders, particularly those involving firearms, are often linked to deficiencies in our mental health system and gun laws. In this article, we consider the tenuous connections between severe mental illness, gun control measures, and mass shootings. Several suggested preventative strategies are evaluated for potential effectiveness, including expanded firearm restrictions and background checks for the mentally ill, the now-expired Federal Assault Weapons Ban, and the establishment of gun-free zones. Examining data on mass shootings from various governmental and news sources, we find that offenders are generally not psychotic, infrequently use assault weapons, and do not often target gun-free zones, and so strategies based on these elements are not apt to reduce the risk of mass shootings to any significant degree.

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