By Dr. Mallika Marshall


BOSTON (CBS) – Up to 40,000 Americans die from firearms every year and mental illness is often blamed, but a new study from the University of Texas says don’t blame mental illness, blame access to guns.

They surveyed more than 600 young adults and asked about firearm possession as well as symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress, PTSD, and other mental illness.

They found that the majority of the mental health symptoms examined were not related to gun violence. Instead, they found that people who simply had access to a gun were 18 times more likely to have threatened someone with a firearm compared to people who had no such access.

Researchers say the few studies that have been done have been misleading and that they found that the link between mental illness and gun violence is simply not there and that the key to reducing gun violence is to limit access to guns and not to focus solely on addressing mental health in this country.

Dr. Mallika Marshall

Comments (13)
  1. Gee Meltzer says:

    you should include blood pressure medicine and blood thinners as a cause for dementia .. that once diagnosed, it’s only 5 years of controlling symptoms before swallowing .. and other organs decline .. there’s only 6 months left before deciding comfort through hospice .. i’ve been dealing with this as a daughter and caregiver for a long time ..

  2. Duncan Walker says:

    Guns aren’t the reason for violence. Close to half of all gun deaths are suicides and those people would still be dead if guns didn’t exist.

    1. Michael Frey says:

      Actually, it’s more like two thirds of gun deaths that are suicides.

    2. Jim Bridges says:

      Actually Duncan, suicide by gun tends to be much more efficient and likely than other means of suicide. Thus, without guns, some of those suicides may have survived or changed their mind, because of the likelihood of a slower, drawn out death.

    3. ianosmond says:

      Speaking as someone who works in suicide prevention — “those people would still be dead if guns didn’t exist” is false. Access to guns doesn’t make anyone more likely to consider suicide, but it makes them more likely to follow through with an attempt, and makes them VASTLY more likely to succeed.

      While there are exceptions, most suicide attempts are spontaneous — people have been in pain for a long time, but there is a moment when everything comes together — the amount of pain is so high that death looks good, but the person also has the motivation to take action. Since depression both causes pain and saps motivation, this is a fairly narrow window. The window of danger may be only half an hour or so.

      So one of the biggest predictors of the ability to complete suicide is the ability to go from making a decision to kill someone to actually killing someone in half an hour.

      There is no more convenient way to kill a human being than with a firearm. If there WAS, then we’d use THAT tool when lethal force was called for. We’ve designed the firearm for a specific purpose, and one which IS useful — I own a few myself. And it is the best-designed tool for the purpose.

      If you had to kill a single person conveniently, and you had access to all tools in the world, is there any tool you’d use OTHER than a handgun? While you COULD kill someone with something else, it would have to be a very unusual situation to make the other tool a better choice in general.

      Easy access to a firearm, and especially a handgun, makes it easy and convenient for a person to successfully end their own life within the half-hour window of danger. Guns don’t make anybody more suicidal, or more violent, but make the consequences of being suicidal or violent more extreme.

  3. Having access to a pool increases the likelihood of drowning and, oh, having access to a car increases the likelihood of a car accident. If access were the reason for people resorting to violence, then why don’t we have more violence? There are over 330 Million guns in this country so why aren’t more people killed?

    This article has to be the lamest tripe put forth by someone who is denser than lead.

  4. they need to make it where your permit says what gun is registered so you is only allowed to purchase bullets for what is rehistered and must be shown at POS then anyone not having a permit or dont have their gun registered cant buy bullets making their gun not useful

  5. First, and most importantly – thank you ianosmond, for your involvement in Suicide Prevention.
    Second – current statistics on firearm deaths show 2 out of three deaths attributed to suicide, and LEO shootings are also included in that overall figure but conveniently neither of those two factors is mentioned by the author of this article as having been considerations in this ‘study’;
    Third – the discussion on this article (NOT suicide) would better be focused on the fact that this ‘study’ was on a miniscule number of people in a targeted age group – there is NO control group cited, and it seems – to me – that the ‘findings’ were the beginning point, and the rest of the ‘study’ was sculpted to meet their specific goal, i.e.Gun Control. Correlation -v- causation is very weak here, and is a slap in the face to scientific standards –
    I have access to a vehicle that could do massive damage IF I intended such, I have access to chemicals that could have similar affect IF I WANTED TO DO THAT TOO – the simple fact remains that people who intend to do harm to others WILL FIND A WAY regardless of the tool(s) employed – BASED ON THEIR MINDSET (AKA: Mental Health).
    This ‘study’ is intentionally correlating firearms with violence without including any other influences, or implements of harm in their survey, which as a singular focus gives nothing to compare & contrast their finding with.
    With millions of people having legal access to firearms legally, and the massive majority of those firearm owners peacefully coexisting with others without incident – I find it unbelievable that anyone would give credence to this ‘study’ – but people believing something just because they read it on the internet is part of the problem in our world today…

  6. I have never seen people so insidiously devoted to disarming American citizens. How about publishing a link to this “study” so the rest of us can read it, or is this more bong-hit bs? Not that I want to hear more about your views. I’m keeping my guns, 18 times more likely to keep them.

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