Due to their hazardous nature, guns must always be kept in the hands of responsible users; therefore, people diagnosed with severe mental illnesses should not be allowed to possess or carry firearms. Our society has partially realized this notion, as indicated by the Gun Control Act passed by Congress in 1968, forbidding people who “had been involuntarily committed to a mental hospital” from purchasing guns (Webster 35). However, it must be stressed that the control implemented by this act is not enough, as mentally-disabled people are still misusing firearms and creating massacres across this
Mental illness significantly affects many around the world. In fact, about four-hundred and fifty million people worldwide suffer from one or more of the different known mental illnesses. That is one in every four people. Severe mental health issues such as severe anxiety disorder, antisocial personality disorder, schizophrenia, or sensory perception disorder are illnesses which are common among the people responsible for the numerous mass shootings in America. Many believe the possession of firearms in the hands of the mentally ill are the real cause of mass shootings.
The insane are known to have been cursed with unclean spirits ever since the beginning of America who takes its views from the Old World. It was only during the Second Great Awakening that people, Christian activists and often women, sought to reform the prisons and asylums. For Americans, asylums are now remnants of the past; the mentally ill are now bestowed the right to live normal lives and they are now even given the choice to decide if they wish to seek help and take medication. Even so, it is undeniable that people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are unwillingly trapped inside a mind often not their own. Some of them, if left alone and uncared for, face dangers in society.
Mental health care and gun violence meet at a very bumpy crossroad. According to Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, “What we have seen – and a common theme among many of these mass shootings – is a theme of mental illness” (Flores). Adam Lanza, Seung Hui Cho, James Holmes, Elliot Rodgers, Aaron Alexis, and Dylann Roof: what do these six men have in common? They are all mass shooters that were diagnosed as mentally ill. All six of these men have failed to detect their illness and properly treat it.
Much of the criminal activity that takes place today is heavily related to the lack of treatment for mental illness. According to the US National Library of Medicine, approximately 60% of shooter in mass shootings that took place in the United States after 1970 displayed symptoms of acute paranoia, delusions, and depression before committing their inhumane acts. I am sure that most of you are aware of the Sandy Hook shooting that took place on December 12, 2012. The perpetrator, Adam Lanza took the innocent lives of 20 students as well as the lives of 6 staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Lanza had displayed key signs of mental illness as young as the age of three.
Everyday, people that suffer from mental illnesses, drive towards committing suicide. Suicide is growing at a disgustingly fast rate, but, if America restrains gun access, it could reduce suicide rates by over one third (washington post.) According to Washington Post, “... in the U.S. 50 percent of suicides are committed with guns.” Thousands of people are leaving their friends and families behind everyday with firearms, and we can stop this.
Mental Health is a bigger issue than guns, and mental health will be regulated and not guns if the authority and the government want killings to stop occurring. Taking away guns will not stop killings with guns. People will find other ways to kill people, because people if they want to kill, will kill. Some argue that the guns need to be taken away because guns take away Innocent people’s lives. However, the real reason people are killed by guns is that of the people using the gun.
In the past, the major gun control legislations that have been put into effect have not stopped people from obtaining firearms (Gun Control.) There have also been cases in the past where cities have attempted to ban handguns. After the ban was put into effect, murder rates tended to rise instead of drop, unlike what most people might assume. Crime rates and violence also skyrocketed after the bans were put into effect. Another problem with taking guns away, or banning them, is that the government cannot expect everyone to abide by the laws.
Another question is “Are guns really necessary in our daily lives?”. Many people buy guns for many reasons. However, there are others who abuse that power to inflict pain upon others. The sad truth is, banning all guns will not stop all the gun violence because ultimately, its not the guns that kill people. However if somebody wants to buy a gun, then there should be stricter background checks on medical records to see if there are any issues with mental health.
In our country we tend to blame our mass shootings and homicides on guns, but without a human behind it guns are harmless. Instead of banning these firearms all together, which may only cause an uprising in illegally owning guns, why don’t we strengthen our gun control laws? By banning people the right to carry and own a gun, we are restricting them of their basic rights. If we increase background checks, insist on mandatory classes and shooting practice, requiring safe and secure gun storage, and engaging in legal and responsible gun dealers.
In the book Girl, Interrupted, by Susanna Kaysen, one of the biggest focal points is mental illness. Mental illness can be tough to talk about, simply because the phrase “mental illness” encompasses such a wide range of conditions and conjures up images of deranged people, but it is very important, especially in this book. There is a certain stigma that people who are put into mental hospitals because they have medical problems or are insane and a possible danger to society. While this is sometimes true, it is far more common for patients to need help for a disorder, but just don’t know where to go or what to do, and can end up putting themselves or someone else in danger.
Many people say that the real weapon used is rage. Guns are not bad things or good things. They are things, inanimate objects, chunks of metal with no will of their own (Medred 2). Why do we as a society not address mental illness more? The majority of all “school shooters” are misfits.
The mass incarceration of the mentally ill can be reduced by reverting to institutionalization Researchers and activists alike are concerned about the rate at which individuals with mental illness are incarcerated in the United States. Many consider that the increase in incarceration is a direct result of deinstitutionalization. In this essay, I will discuss how the solutions to the prevention of the incarceration of the mentally ill but ultimately lead to the common goal of improving the care of the mentally ill. This will be done by comparing and contrasting the key points of Knoll, Etter et al and Kincaid.