Mental illness plays a minor role in mass shootings. The ways that Republicans have used it in their effort to reduce gun deaths misunderstand the issue at hand, argues Dr. Annette Hanson in The Baltimore Sun. The approach of President Trump would add to the stigma of mental illness, punishing even those that admit themselves to mental health facilities, and do very little to stop mass shootings. Substance abuse or a history of violence are far better indicators of the threat an individual poses. Calling mass shootings a mental health issue risks stigmatizing people that need support while doing little to prevent actual gun violence.
The link between mental health issues and mass shootings is undeniable, assert Grant Duwe and Michael Rocque of The LA Times. According to some estimates, the number of perpetrators of such crimes that were mentally ill is around 60%. While drugs and other factors are better predictors of violence, mental health is paramount. Even though mass shootings are still poorly understood from an academic perspective, the fact that Americans with mental issues don’t get the treatment they need contributes to these tragedies. Improving this should come hand-in-hand with other steps, like stopping TV's glorification of mass shooters.