Academic Studies on Mental Illness and Gun Violence

“Four assumptions frequently arise in the aftermath of mass shootings in the United States: (1) that mental illness causes gun violence, (2) that psychiatric diagnosis can predict gun crime, (3) that shootings represent the deranged acts of mentally ill loners, and (4) that gun control “won’t prevent” another Newtown (Connecticut school mass shooting). Each of these statements is certainly true in particular instances. Yet…notions of mental illness that emerge in relation to mass shootings frequently reflect larger cultural stereotypes and anxieties about matters such as race/ethnicity, social class, and politics. These issues become obscured when mass shootings come to stand in for all gun crime, and when “mentally ill” ceases to be a medical designation and becomes a sign of violent threat.” – From Mental Illness, Mass Shootings, and the Politics of American Firearms by Dr. Jonathan Metzl and Dr. Ken MacLeish.  Dr. Metzl has published extensively on the intersection of gun violence and mental illness.  He is also The Safe Tennessee Research Director.

Below are a series of academic research studies and publications related to mental illness and firearms.

Dangerous weapons or dangerous people? The temporal associations between gun violence and mental health
Preventative Medicine
April 2019

Redirecting the Mental Health and Gun Violence Conversation From Mass Shootings to Suicide
Psychiatric Services
November 2018

Mental Illness and Gun Violence: Disrupting the Narrative
Psychiatric Services
June 2018

Severe mental illness and firearm access: Is violence really the danger?
International Journal of Law and Psychiatry
February 2018

Mental Illness, Mass Shootings, and the Politics of American Firearms
The American Journal of Public Health
February 2015

Mental illness and reduction of gun violence and suicide: bringing epidemiologic research to policy
Annals of Epidemiology
May 2015

Mass Shootings and Mental Health Policy
Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare
March 2014

Guns, Public Health, and Mental Illness
The Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy
December 2013

Triggering the Debate: Faulty Associations Between Violence and Mental Illness Underlie U.S. Gun Control Efforts
The London School of Economics and Politics