In the heart of Manhattan’s Financial District


In the heart of Manhattan’s Financial District

Can treating mental illness stop gun crime?

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2023 | Blog, Criminal Defense |

The recent spate of mass shootings has affected New York as much as the rest of the country. These shootings seem to come from nowhere and with minimal warning. Mental health experts have begun to call for increased attention to the issue of mental illness. Their theory is that doing so will help to prevent more incidents.

How is mental illness defined?

Mentally ill people who commit weapons crimes tend to show some or all of the following characteristics:

  • Psychotic or delusive behavior
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Resistance to getting help for their illness

However, it is also true that not every mass shooter necessarily suffers from mental illness. Many were jilted lovers or disgruntled employees whose behavior escalated from their original grievances. As a result, mental health experts have been hard-pressed to prove a definite link between psychosis and gun crime.

Will identifying illness prevent mass shootings?

The state of New York has been ground zero for several of these recent shootings. As a result, some legal experts have been pressing for mandatory mental health checks on all prospective gun buyers.

There has been resistance to this idea based on the idea that such a move may violate the buyer’s constitutional rights. For this reason, no decision on whether or not to enforce the idea of mandatory mental health checks has been reached.

Further complicating the matter is that many of these shooters are in their teens or early adulthood. This is a time at which many signs of mental illness have not yet manifested themselves. As a result, the link between mental health and mass shootings has yet to be fully established.


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