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Letter: Mentally ill are not linked to majority of gun violence

Mentally ill are not linked to majority of gun violence

In a recent letter regarding the Second Amendment, the writer implies that most gun violence in our society is caused by emotionally distraught individuals or, as he calls them, “the psychotic members of our society.”

Clearly some horrific gun violence has been carried out by “psychotic minds.” I don’t think we need to be reminded of these terrible events. However, and this is my point, emotionally disturbed people committed less than 5 percent of gun homicides between 2001 and 2010, according to the New York Times. Further, federal law prohibits people who have been committed to mental health facilities from purchasing guns. Data regarding such commitments come from those states that are willing to submit it to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

It is likely that most of us would support efforts to increase facilities for the treatment of people suffering from mental illness, a position I think that is supported by the letter writer. However, to suggest, as he does, that finding and treating mentally ill people and keeping them from purchasing guns would solve gun violence is absurd. The data simply will not support such an assertion. And if the mentally ill are not responsible for the majority of gun killings in our society, might we suggest that it just might be those who are deemed to be psychologically normal?

David Day

Buffalo