All We Need To Solve Gun Violence Is To Fix Mental Health, Right?

The NRA will let one week go by and then they’ll issue a statement about the Elliot Rodger shootings in Santa Barbara.  Actually, they’ll issue two statements which they always have ready to go.  First they’ll say that the slaughter shows that the mental health system is ‘broken’ and needs to be ‘fixed.’  Then they’ll say that a ‘good guy’ with a gun would have stopped the ‘bad guy,’ and they’ll remind everyone that CCW is impossible to get in California so there are no ‘good guys’ walking around in Isla Vista anyway.

The truth is that neither statement is true and have never been true.  But they sound like they’re true, which gets the NRA off the hook.  They can promote gun sales all they want but also come down on the side of safety and responsibility because it’s the mental health system that needs to be fixed, right?

Last week Dr. Richard Friedman, a Professor of Psychiatry, explained that the link between mental illness and violence is tenuous at best and accounts for less than 5% of overall violence at worst. Which means that if every nut lost his guns, the 10,000+ gun homicides we endure each year would drop by a whole, big 500 or so.  Wow – talk about ending gun violence by “fixing” the mental health system.  Some fix.

free school                As for all those ‘good guys’ walking around with guns, the FBI says there are roughly 300 justifiable homicides each year, a number that hasn’t changed even with the CCW upsurge in the past year.  Yea, yea, every year armed citizens ‘prevent’ millions of crimes just by waving their guns around in the air.  I also know that Martians actually did land in Parrump.

The self-satisfied folks who really believe that ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people,’ simply refuse to accept the fact that if you pick up a gun, point it at someone else and pull the trigger, that the result is going to be very serious injuries or loss of life.  There Is no other way, including running over someone with a car, that has such a devastating effect.  The NRA gets around that problem by promoting, with an almost mystical reverence, the notion of using guns for self defense.  John Lott’s nonsense to the contrary, there is absolutely no evidence which proves that guns save more lives than they destroy.

Now don’t get me wrong.  If you’re already sending a comment about how Mike The Gun Guy is really Mike The Anti-Gun Guy, why don’t you save the HP screeners a little time and at least wait until you read this entire blog?  Because believe it or not, I’m not anti-gun.  I have said again and again that 99.9% of all gun owners are safe and responsible with their guns.  I have also said, but it bears repeating, that we should be able to figure out how to end gun violence without making lawful and careful gun owners jump through more legal hoops, including expanded background checks.

This morning I received an email from one of the largest internet gun-sellers who is dumping new, name-brand  AR-15s for under 600 bucks.  These are guns that were selling for twice that much a year ago and, as the email warned, “any sudden media attention topoliticalsituations, restrictive laws and regulations can drive prices through the roof again overnight.”

The gun industry sits on the horns of a dilemma.  They can moan and groan all they want about gun control but it’s high-profile shootings that ignite the debate which then leads to stronger sales.  The NRA claims that it’s all about safe gun ownership but let’s not make it too safe.  Because if we do, it will be more than just a couple of Tea Party politicians giving away free AR-15’s.

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10 thoughts on “All We Need To Solve Gun Violence Is To Fix Mental Health, Right?

  1. Sheriff Brown of Santa Barbara County has issued exactly 52 CCW permits in the entire county. That covers his friends and major political contributors very nicely. Everybody else can pound sand.

    • You are also assuming that if the Sheriff gave out more CCWS’s that people would be streaming in to get one. And anyone in CA with a CCW can carry a gun in Santa Barbara County. The attempt by the NRA to paint this episode as an unfortunate consequence of gun-free zones is quite a stretch.

  2. 52 Mike, wanna bet that they are his political cronies and drinking buds? So, these 52, plus transient CCW holders ought to make anywhere in the state a non ‘gun free zone’, correct?

  3. Is the NRA’s ‘gun free zone’ somehow different than everybody else’s?
    I notice you don’t like to answer questions. In our conversation regarding the two florida shootings I asked you directly if you had done any research into how dangerous CCW holders are to the general public. I found that odd since your whole article seemed to stress how CCW was so dangerous that the state ought to reconsider ‘allowing’ people to walk around with firearms.
    Your silence answered my question.

  4. The problem is not with CCW holders or gun owners in general, both of whom tend to be very law-abiding. But despite popular belief, the actual number of times that CCW-holders have used their guns to disable a “bad guy” is very small, all those newspaper stores in the NRA website to the contrary. And as for mass shootings, since 209 there hasn’t been a single mass shooting (using the FHI definition of 4 or more persons killed) in which a “good guy with a gun” stopped anyone, despite the fact that more than half those shootings took place in areas that were decidedly not gun-free zones. As for the talk about the “millions” of crime that were prevented by people with guns threatening to use them against the “bad guys,” the research on which that entire argument is based was a 1993 telephone survey of 247 people, period. And not one person who said he used a gun to prevent what otherwise might have been a crime could prove what they said to be true either through a report to a law enforcement agency or the testimony of another person.
    I never said that CCW-carriers were threats to safety or anything else. I aid that CCW xdoesn;t make us safer. You asked for some research, there it is.

  5. I have been sitting back and watching this whole “guns vs. mental health” thing for a while. As a 20something year old woman with bipolar disorder and no guns (save a few muzzleloaders) I have honestly been hoping this miraculous “fixing” of mental health will happen -if only to allow me better healthcare! I’m not really sure it would do much more… We’ll see I guess.

  6. Okay- How many persons with CCW were present at all those mass shootings? Did they attempt to engage the shooter? No mention of cases where someone engaged a shooter before the magic threshold of 4 or more persons killed. Could it be that CCW holders actually prevent or limit those mass shootings?
    You mention the Kleck study which seems overly high to me. There have been others of more recent vintage.
    And no Mike, you never say anything directly. You just paint a picture of how scary gun owners are and then allow your audience to come to a conclusion based on the info you carefully feed them. Clever, in a way.
    I’m curious. Are you a current, dues paying member, of any gun rights organization?

  7. Please explain to me how I paint a ‘scary’ picture of gun owners? I have said numerous times that 99.9% of gun owners are regular, law-abiding people and that any attempt to legislate solutions to gun violence, including expanding background checks, will only serve to penalize law-abiding gun owners. I have said this in endless blogs here and on Huffington. What I wont do is bow down and scrape in front of the 2nd Amendment and pretend it says what ikt doesn’t say, namely, that it gives a gun owner the ‘right’ to self defense outside the home. It doesn’t. And anyone who says it does is simply saying something that is not true. Period.
    As for more recent studies than Kleck, please let me know where I can read them. John Lott also states that the DGU is in the million, but he didn;pt study this; he’s just repeating Kleck. I am pretty versant with gun studies on both sides. Sorry, but I don’t know of a single DGU syudy since Gary’s work, with whom I have corresponded at length, by the way.
    Your question about whether there was someone engaging the shooters before they got to the “magic number” is interesting, but I have been following the NRA “armed citizen” column for years both online and in the American Rifleman, and I do not recall a single incident in which a “good guy” shot someone after the “bad guy” had shot and actually killed someone. Have storeowners pulled out a gun from under the counter and thwarted an armed robbery? Yes. Have people in their homes stopped a home invasion by firing a gun? Yes. In fact, even the gun control people admit that if someone is confronted by an armed criminal, the odds of escaping harm are higher if that person resists than if they don’t. But resistance covers all sorts of behavior, not just pulling out a gun.
    You gun guys are funny. You can’t find a single thing I have ever said that would show that I am really anti–gun. I don’t support any legislation, I don’t support any policies, I have never once com e out in favor of anything that would make it more difficult for people to own or acquire guns. I have publicly stated again and again that the concern about “assault” rifles is nonsense and the idea of limiting magazine capacity is totally bogus.
    But because I won’t kiss the ass of the 2nd Amendment I must be anti-gun. So you resort to innuendo; i.e., I don;t say it “directly” That’s so childish it’s not worth the time you took to write it. Or the one I got last week from the guy who said i was anti-gun because I “never” tell people about all the good things that happen with guns. That’s the best you guys can do? Give me a break.

  8. Oh, and as to your question about whether I am a dues-paying member of any gun rights organization in fact I am a Life member of the NRA but I guess that doesn’t count because as a Life member I don’t pay annual dues; I sent them a fat check about ten years ago. So I guess that proves I’m anti-gun, right?

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