Some people in the United States believe that public safety would be improved by making it mandatory to assess the mental health of anyone who buys a gun. On the other hand, some people believe that it would be a violation of their Second Amendment rights.
Mental disorders that can lead to gun crimes
There is a wide variety of brain illnesses that can increase an individual’s propensity for gun violence. Some of these include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, disorders related to substance abuse and delusional disorders, among many others. Some psychiatric experts have said that it’s better to call these types of issues “brain illnesses” because it’s more accurate and specific than calling them all “mental illnesses.”
The Gun Violence Archives reports that almost 20,000 people in the U.S. died as a result of gun violence in 2020. This made it the worst year for gun fatalities in 20 years – and these numbers don’t even account for lives lost from suicide with a gun. According to the CDC, almost 24,000 people used a gun to commit suicide in 2019 alone.
Mental health problems don’t always lead to gun violence
Not everyone who exhibits violent tendencies necessarily suffers from a mental illness. Living with a mental illness also generally makes a person more vulnerable to violence rather than being the perpetrator of weapons crimes.
At the same time, it was shown in a study from 2021 that a substantial number of people who committed mass shootings in the U.S. had a mental illness that they weren’t being treated for. However, the data also showed that most people with schizophrenia didn’t have violent tendencies unless they weren’t receiving treatment.