Wednesday, June 1, 2022

APA Implores Congress to Act to Prevent Firearm Violence

The overwhelming majority of people with mental illness are not violent and are far more likely to be victims of violent crime than perpetrators, APA said in a statement released today.

“A vast majority of firearm violence is not attributed to mental illness,” APA said. “Rhetoric that argues otherwise will further stigmatize those who need treatment for mental illness without addressing the root causes of firearm violence. Although there is no single cause of firearm violence, individuals can and have been emboldened to act violently by inflammatory public discourse and provocative, hateful, and destructive rhetoric.”

The statement condemned the senseless loss of lives from firearm violence that has become all too common—most recently in mass shootings in Uvalde, Buffalo, Houston and more than 200 other locations across the country in 2022 so far. APA called firearm violence preventable and urged elected officials to take action to keep communities safe.

“APA is committed to federal efforts to protect our youth and all citizens from gun violence and implores Congress to enact firearm safety legislation that will promote safe communities and reduce morbidity and mortality due to firearm-related violence. We stand ready to work with Congress on sensible legislation that increases research into firearm violence, requires background checks, waiting periods, safe storage of firearms, and that allows physicians to make clinically appropriate inquiries regarding access to firearms.

“We implore our elected officials to act on meaningful, common-sense measures and begin to heal the divisions that have prevented progress in this area of public health for far too long. This senseless loss of life must end, and as a nation, we should expect action from federal and state legislative and executive leaders. Our children and communities deserve better.”

For related information, see the APA’s Position Statement on Firearm Access, Acts of Violence, and the Relationship to Mental Illness and Mental Health Services and the Psychiatric News article “Researchers Discuss Policy Solutions to Firearm Violence, Suicide.”

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