Adding more questions regarding Mental Health on the Firearms Transaction Record
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The goal of this petition is to provide the reader with information that will better their understanding on the relationship between mass shooters and mentally ill citizens. By no means is this an attack or an attempt to slander citizens with a mental illness, but rather it is to raise awareness to an significant issue that is not given enough attention. With that said I would like to provide the reader with some basic information regarding mass shootings.
Since the year of 2000, there have been more than 160 mass shootings in the United States (Blair and Schweit 6). Occurring all throughout the country, there is an average of 11.4 incidents every year (6). In total, there have been 486 lives taken and 557 have been wound (6). With the amount of mass shootings trending upwards, there has to be a solution that would help reduce these heinous killings that take the lives of so many, and leave the survivors with mental and physical scars.
When analyzing mass shooters, research reveals one common trend; shooters have a mental illness. Since 2012, 10 out of 22 cases (45%) mass killers have shown signs of mental illness prior to the incidents (Follman et al.). In 17 out of 22 of those cases, the shooter had obtained their firearm legally (Follman et al.). This reveals that citizens with a mental illness still manage to own a firearm. With 1 in every 5 Americans being mentally ill, the next mass shooting could arise at any moment (National Institute of Mental Illness). To put that into perspective, there are about 65 million mentally ill citizens in the United States, around the same number of refugees in the entire world (Daniele Selby).
The current application used to buy, sell, and trade guns is called a Firearms Transaction Record or 4473 form. On it lies around 20 “yes or no” questions that covers a vast amount of material. However, there is only one question on it regarding mental illness and it states “Have you ever been adjudicated as a mental defective or have you ever been committed to a mental institution?”. This single question is simply too shallow, as applicants may still be able to obtain a firearm if their answer is yes. Secondly, not all of the mentally ill are or have been taken to an institution. This leaves many of them unaccounted for in this question.
With this said, keeping guns out of the mentally ill could help save many people in the future and could prevent America from losing thousands of innocent lives. People with a mental illness are not bad people, however, facts suggest that they are more likely to perform a mass shooting and therefore action must be taken. By signing this petition, you help raise awareness for the hundreds of lives that have been lost as a result of mass shootings and will improve the Firearm Transaction Record by tightening eligibility for gun owners. This tightening consists of additional questions and a more in depth analysis of mental health history. By adding more questions regarding mental health to the Firearm Transaction Record, the accessibility to firearms by the mentally ill will be more difficult. The effect of this would be fewer mass shootings which directly correlate to fewer fatalities and injuries of loved ones.
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