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Centerpointe Research

Mental Health and Gun Laws

Severe Mental Illness

Severe Mental Illness (Photo credit: homelesshub)

Yes, there have recently been some horrible shootings of innocent people by apparently mentally ill people.  Background checks for histories of mental illness when purchasing a gun have been suggested.  However, it is more complex than this.

People smart enough to know that receiving mental health help will keep them from owning a gun will not seek needed mental health help.  When people are applying for such help, they must be told if they will lose their right to hunt or target shoot with a gun or have a gun for self-protection.  Then there is the problem of confidentiality in therapy, a counselor or therapist in some if not all states must tell their client that if he or she discloses information that he or she is going to hurt somebody the counselor or therapist must inform the authorities.

Also there will always be some way to access guns whether by illegally purchasing them on the black market or by stealing them from people who have them legally.  If a person can premeditate mass murder, he or she often can figure out a way to obtain appropriate firepower as long as it is out there somewhere and stockpile it.

In some cases of such killings, there has been a history of socially inappropriate behavior and isolation.  Too often we avoid dealing with such people because it is easier that way.  They are fired from a job, kept from attending school or transferred to an alternative school, and forgotten about as they are no longer a problem for the organization.  This does not stop the person dealt with this way from carrying a grudge or continuing to behave peculiarly or isolating him or herself from the attention of others watchful eyes.

Social outcasts who do not fit in to society are seen often as misfits or even untouchables and continue to be nonconformists who lack acceptance by others which even further alienates  them.  Bullying is one way of creating such people.  They don’t stand up for themselves and others don’t stand up for them.  The emotional cost is great and human potential for good is lost.  Mental health help must come earlier rather than later.


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