Gun Violence Isn't About Mental Illness. It's About Guns. Here's The Proof.

Less than five percent of gun violence involves mentally ill people.

In the wake of yet another mass shooting here in America, all the old standbys about gun violence are being trotted out again. 

Since the Oregon shooter killed eight students and a professor at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, a number of politicians and lawmakers have come out with solutions about how to help stop gun violence. President Obama implored Americans to stop being numb to the violence and reform gun laws. "Somehow this has become routine," Obama said. 

"We are not the only country on Earth that has people with mental illnesses or want to do harm to other people," Obama added. "We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months."

Meanwhile, presidential candidates like Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump said that in order to help stop gun violence, we should consider helping the mentally ill in our country. 

Of course, they are right. We should be doing more to help the mentally ill. But is that really going to stop gun violence?

According to The American Journal of Public Health, less than five percent of the 120,000 gun-related deaths in America between 2001 and 2010 were perpetrated by people with a mental illness. Mentally ill people are also far more likely to be the victims of gun violence than the ones enacting it. 

So what about gun laws? Well, those seem to be far more relevant to gun violence on a state-by-state basis. A chart compiled by Libby Isenstein of The National Journal suggests that the stricter the gun laws in a given state, the less likely the general population will die at the hands of a firearm. 


Want to make a difference? Help join on their mission to push for gun reform. 

(Cover photo via John Moore/Getty Images.)


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