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Focus on Real Solutions to Gun Violence

Every time there is a mass killing, conservatives offer up a laundry list of specious explanations for gun violence in America in an attempt to prevent the implementation of effective gun regulations. In the aftermath of the El Paso massacre it was violent video games, but after that explanation was undermined by the relevant academic research, some on the right shifted their focus to the mentally ill and others felt moved to offer up their usual evangelical rants. Tony Perkins, head of the conservative Family Research Council blamed the teaching of evolutionary biology, and Republican Texas state Rep. Matt Schaefer called for prayers that "God would transform the hearts of people with evil intent."

President Trump initially seemed to support expanding background checks following the massacres in El Paso and Dayton, but after pressure from the NRA he backed off. Recently he too has settled on mental illness and mentioned it again this weekend when asked about background checks. More Federal funding for mental health services is a wonderful idea, but it won't effectively address gun violence in America. Mental illness is just another scapegoat, meant to obscure real solutions.

Dr. Megan L. Ranney, Time: "... there is no factual link between mental illness and violence against others. In fact, people with mental health disorders are more likely to be victims of a violent crime (up to 10 times more likely than the general population) than the perpetrators. A 2011 meta analysis found that to prevent one homicide of a person unknown to the perpetrator, 35,000 patients with schizophrenia judged to be at high risk of violence would need to be detained. Similarly, few U.S. mass shootings have been committed by people who were “mentally ill;” there is a much stronger correlation with other issues, like domestic violence. Finally, people with mental illness are much more likely to hurt themselves than others. Two-thirds of gun deaths in this country are suicides, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

So, what should we do? Academic research is giving us some clear answers about what types of regulations work to reduce gun violence.

The Big Think: "Despite the fact that opponents of gun regulation are saying, 'We don't know what's going on, it's mental health issues, it's these crazy people,' which doesn't lend itself to a solution — the truth is that we have a pretty good grasp at what's going on. People who shouldn't have access to guns are getting access."

We can't stop every mass killing, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't work to reduce the risk by enacting laws that have proven effective.

Boston University: ... [recent studies have shown that] "states that enacted a combination of universal background-check laws, laws prohibiting the sale of guns to people with violent misdemeanors, and concealed carry permit laws, the homicide rates were 35 percent lower than in states with none of those three kinds of laws."

If we follow the research and implement effective gun regulations, we can start to reduce gun violence.

#guncontrol #news #research

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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