Interview with Jonathan Metzl on Gun Violence and Mental Illness


Vox interviews Vanderbilt University’s Jonathan Metzl about his research into the relationships — and lack thereof — between gun violence and mental illness. Metzl “argues that mental illness is often a scapegoat that lets policymakers and the public ignore bigger, more complicated contributors to gun violence.”

“Metzl, who reviewed the research on mass shootings and mental illness in a paper for the American Journal of Public Health, points to studies that show people with mental illness are more likely to be victims — not perpetrators — of violence, and that very few violent acts — about 3 to 5 percent — are carried out by the mentally ill,” reports Vox. “And while mental illness can be a contributor to some violent behaviors, other factors — such as substance abuse, poverty, history of violence, and access to guns — are much stronger predictors of violence and shootings.”

Everyone blames mental illness for mass shootings. But what if that’s wrong? (Vox, June 23, 2015)


  1. Truth of the matter is that in other Western countries where people don”t have that much access to guns there’s less gun violence. It won’t solve all the social issues around crime but it will take the dangerous toys away from problematic people.

    Report comment