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Why People With Psychiatric History Should Not Be Allowed To Own Guns

1836 words - 8 pages

On December 14th, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut, Adam Lanza shot and killed twenty children, six staff members, and his own mother; this occurred because Adam Lanza was a man with a psychiatric illness with possession of many guns. If Adam Lanza did not have possession of this gun, twenty seven lives could have been saved. There are criminal background checks that take place in order to own a gun, however the government is missing one crucial aspect to it, and that is the medical background check. Even though there are laws against people with mental illnesses having guns, but the government has no way of checking if they have an illness because they do not conduct medical background checks ...view middle of the document...

This is significant because it shows us how these two diseases have such an increased chance of violence compared to any other mental disorder. When a person has both a mental illness and have some form of substance abuse, they have a higher risk of violence (Stuart). Researchers and scientist believe that this happens because the substance, whether it is alcohol or drugs, causes the brain to become even more chemically imbalanced because of the substance raising or lowering certain chemicals in the brain. This is very dangerous because when there is a chemical imbalance in the brain, it causes a person to not be in their right mind and to feel extreme emotions.
There has been a massive increase in the number of homicides caused by guns in the United States. For example, “In 2010, there were more than 31,000 deaths by a firearm in the United States; 32% of those were homicides” (Webster and Vernick 1). This is significant because the number of deaths caused by guns has increased dramatically throughout the years; also because out of those 31,000 deaths, about 10,000 of them were homicides. People may think that out of all of the violence in the United States that only 4% is attributed to people with a mental illness is a very small number, however when this violence occurs, it is usually on a larger scale, and therefore putting more lives in danger (In Gun Debate). These numbers are increased when a mentally ill person also has a substance abuse. For example, a study shows that about 23% of people with Bipolar Disorder and substance abuse committed at least one violent crime compared to just 5% with only Bipolar Disorder (Health Harvard). The increase in crime is caused by the chemicals in the brain being altered even more because of the substance abuse adding on to it. This is significant because it shows how much of an effect substance abuse can have on the chemical imbalance that is already occurring in the brain because of the mental illness. When the chemical levels are raised or lowered to a certain amount in the brain, it causes a surge of emotion. Once this occurs, there is no telling what they might do next; they might get extremely depressed or become filled with anger. If they do become filled with anger, it is best to keep a gun out of their hands so they do not endanger themselves or others.
Mental illnesses have many different symptoms, but there are certain symptoms that cause a person to act violently. For example, a symptom of Schizophrenia is hearing voices. Only the person with the illness can hear what is being said to them, and those voices might be telling them to do violent things. If those voices are telling them to do something violent, they could easily pick up the gun they have in their house and follow through with what the voices are telling them to do. Since people with Schizophrenia are not in touch with reality, and therefore not mentally stable, they are very unaware of what they are actually doing. Bipolar...

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