Most Americans Blame Mass Shootings On Mental Health, Not Guns

posted on November 17, 2015

As firearm-hating politicians, gun-ban groups and others with no respect for the Second Amendment continue to push all manner of restrictive gun-control schemes, research is once again pointing out how wrong they are.

Last month the Washington Post published findings of a recent survey that shows Americans overwhelmingly understand that high-profile shootings point to a problem with the country’s mental health system, not a lack of gun-control laws.

Survey participants were asked the question, “Do you think that mass shootings in this country are more a reflection of (problems identifying and treating people with mental health problems) or (inadequate gun control laws)?” The results no doubt were distressing to gun-ban proponents, who recently have been coming out on the short end of nearly every poll or survey conducted concerning guns or gun control.

In total, 63 percent of respondents answered that these events are a result of improperly addressing those with mental illness. Only 23 percent believed that a lack of gun control was the cause, and another 10 percent said both were to blame.Interestingly, this majority that understands the mental health connection to mass shootings also doesn’t believe more restrictive gun laws are necessary.

Interestingly, this majority that understands the mental health connection to mass shootings also doesn’t believe more restrictive gun laws are necessary. A September CNN poll revealed that 49 percent of voters feel current gun laws are “about right,” while 10 percent think that “they make it too difficult to buy a gun.” Only 41 percent found it to be “too easy for people to buy guns,” compared to 56 percent with that attitude two years ago.

Additionally, an October Gallup poll revealed that 56 percent of Americans think the nation would be safer if more people carried legal concealed firearms. In line with that finding, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed that 52 percent of Americans think the Democratic Party—all of whose viable presidential candidates are strongly anti-gun—are “outside the mainstream” on gun issues.

Also, another October Gallup survey of more than 1,000 adults found a “solid majority” (58 percent) of Americans have an “overall favorable” opinion of National Rifle Association. Furthermore, another yet poll revealed that almost half of Americans regard the federal government as a potential threat, with the most commonly cited reason for distrusting the government being the fear that officials would violate the Second Amendment.

While politicians continue to ignore overwhelming public sentiment and clamor for more restrictive gun laws, the National Rifle Association has lined up behind new federal legislation that could truly help curtail mass shootings. 

NRA has voiced its support for S.2002, the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act of 2015 sponsored by Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, as well as its House version, H.R. 3722, by Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz. Both bills would encourage the states to forward prohibiting mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Further, in order to protect the rights of all Americans, including those who have experienced some form of mental health treatment, the bill includes safeguards on the types of records states may send to NICS, ensuring that prohibiting records comport with the due process protections guaranteed by the Constitution. Additionally, the bill would remedy the Veterans Administration’s longstanding practice of reporting non-dangerous beneficiaries, who are simply assigned a fiduciary to help manage their finances, to NICS as prohibited.


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