From HealthNewsDigest.com

Mental Health
Taking Guns Away From Mentally Ill Won't Eliminate Mass Shootings
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Oct 16, 2013 - 11:42:31 AM

(HealthNewsDigest.com) - ROCHESTER, Minn. - A string of public mass shootings during the past decade-plus have rocked America leaving policymakers and mental health experts alike fishing for solutions to prevent these heinous crimes. A Mayo Clinic physician, however, argues that at least one proposal won't stop the public massacres: restricting gun access to the mentally ill. J. Michael Bostwick, M.D., a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist and author of the editorial published online in Mayo Clinic Proceedings today, argues several points including that mass shootings are carefully planned - often spanning weeks or months. There is plenty of time for a meticulous planner and determined killer to get a gun somewhere in that time, he argues.

For audio and video of Dr. Bostwick talking about the editorial, visit the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Dr. Bostwick's editorial is a commentary on an essay in the same issue of Proceedings titled "Guns, Schools, and Mental Illness: Potential Concerns for Physicians and Mental Health Professionals." The authors focus on recent mass shootings and argue that these actions were not and could not have been prevented by more restrictive gun legislation. They further contend that a diagnosis of mental illness does not justify stripping Second Amendment rights from all who carry such a diagnosis, most of whom will never commit violent acts toward others.

Before reading the essay Dr. Bostwick - who is generally in favor of gun control - expected to disagree with its contents. Instead, he agreed.

"We physicians generally do not know enough about firearms to have an informed conversation with our patients, let alone counsel them about gun safety," says Dr. Bostwick. "We also tend to ignore the reality that as long as the Second Amendment is the law of the land, the right to bear arms and therefore personal gun ownership, whether of long guns for hunting or handguns for personal protection, will be an integral part of the American scene."

A few points Dr. Bostwick argues:


"It is important to note that mass shooting are very different from murder and suicide," Dr. Bostwick says. "These conclusions should not be extrapolated either to other forms of murder - often crimes of passion in which there is typically only a single victim - or to suicide, a phenomenon that is more than twice as common as homicide in the United States and frequently an impulsive act. Research shows gun restriction among suicidal people works."


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About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is the first and largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice in the world. Doctors from every medical specialty work together to care for patients, joined by common systems and a philosophy of "the needs of the patient come first." More than 3,700 physicians, scientists and researchers, and 50,100 allied health staff work at Mayo Clinic, which has campuses in Rochester, Minn; Jacksonville, Fla; and Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz.; and community-based providers in more than 70 locations in southern Minnesota., western Wisconsin and northeast Iowa. These locations treat more than half a million people each year. To obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to www.mayoclinic.org/news. For information about research and education, visit www.mayo.edu.

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