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Gun violence is the brutality that arises when an individual uses a gun to carry out an attack on somebody or even himself/ herself. Gun violence is not considered a criminal offense at all times. Criminal gun violence may include homicide, suicide, and assault. Gun violence may not be considered a criminal offense when it is unintentional and accidental. It may also be used lawfully for self-defense for those who are licensed to carry and use the weapon for self-protection. Many questions arise as to whether the primary cause of gun violence is mental illness or not. The society also has a different perception of people who have been engaged in the extreme cases of gun violence. These opinions about gun violence vary from one society to the other. This research paper seeks to inform readers on the issue of mental illness and the knowledge of the people on those who engage in extreme gun violence.
Many people with mental illness do not commit violent crimes such as gun violence. Besides, the majority of those with mental illness do not engage in violent acts. More evidence- based policies are needed to help prevent the menace of gun violence in the society. Expansion of mental health services and improving access to treatment is a way forward to reducing the incidences of gun violence though mental illness is the major cause of gun violence. Policies should focus more on limiting access to firearms for the people who evidently have behavioral risk factors for violence during specific moments. In most states, ineffective functioning of the public health system has been confused with mental illness. It is the policies that regulate access to firearms poor access to mental treatment that increases the incidences of gun violence (Dodds, Anderson and Dodds, 2014).
Researchers and psychologists say that those with mental illness are more likely to kill themselves than kill other people. Mental illness disorders are more strongly linked to self-harm than to violence on other people. It is, therefore important that those with mental illness undergo treatment every year so as to prevent the incidence of gun violence on them. It is critical to note that a person with the severe mental illness is more likely to be of violent crime than a perpetrator. A very minimal proportion of people with mental illness pose a threat to others. Researchers have proved that incidences of stress, gun violence, and mental illness only intersect at their margins. Research also has it that approximately six out of gun violence incidences are those resulting from suicide; an indication that there exists a failure in the health care system and firearms regulations.
Domestic violence is the primary cause of gun violence in most states. Wrangles at home are the major causes of stress which subjects those involved in holding guns and committing suicide as the only left option. This has attributed to an increase in gun incidences because the health care system on issues of stress is also insufficient. It is crucial that the dialogue be given the first priority in case of a situation that could lead to gun violence at home. Taking control of the guns as well as being neutral when solving domestic violence can be very helpful in reducing the number of gun violence incidences (Keidan, 2014).
In the contemporary society, many people have owned guns as a radioactive political symbol. Limiting access to firearms may not be the way forward to reducing the number of gun violence in the states. The right to own guns should therefore be balanced with public safety concerns. It is upon the public health officials to be committed to their jobs and offer effective and efficient public health services. Incidences of gun violence could rise due to the number of people authorized to own firearms. This is a significant challenge to the public health care sector that has to be aggressive in balancing the situation of increased arms and their duty (Laine, et al. 2013).
In the United States, people with the serious mental illness have received negative public attitudes even if they have never been engaged in gun violence. People tend to make an assumption that the individuals suffering from the mental disorder are a dangerous lot that should not be around other people. The negative stereotype is common in America where the people suffering from the disorder are regarded more harmful to others than the general population. The society should not try to influence the laws of the state based on their perception on the issue of gun violence. The society might try to act in a manner that is not according to the law while dealing with such situations. Even as people have different notions about people involved in gun violence, it is important that the law is observed (Martinelli, Binney and Kaye, 2014).
This is the general perception that people have towards those who have engaged in gun violence, whether mentally ill or normal. The society views the individuals as criminals who do not deserve to be given any chance in the society to interact with other people. In order to reduce the negative stereotype among people, it is critical that policies are implemented in order to control the threat. It is a difficult task to employ various approaches and programs in reducing gun violence but very helpful in removing the negative perception that people have on those suffering from mental disorders as they are linked to gun violence (Makarios and Pratt, 2012).
There is a perception that children who engage in gun violence are users and addicts of alcohol and other drugs. The knowledge is based on the United States federal law that prohibits the issuance of firearms to those who are persistently under the influence of controlled substances. The law prohibits alcohol abusers from owning firearms so as to reduce to zero incidences of gun violence that are as a result of accidents. People frequently believe that the owners of guns are not abusers of controlled substances but instead, it is their children who are addicted to the drugs. Incidences, where children are engaged in gun violence are perceived by the people that the children who carried out the extreme gun violence were under the influence of drugs. The notion has been applied in any situation that a child is involved in gun violence. Studies show that substance abuse significantly contributes to gun violence in early childhood stages. The perception therefore holds on evidence- based research. It is thus significant that the issue of drug abuse is managed in dealing with the menace of gun violence in the society (Marcus and Jamison, 2013).
Organizations and individuals differ in their perception of the causes of gun violence. Organizations have the notion that the causes are preventable while individuals have the perception that somebody has to be held responsible for the gun violence. Organizations believe that gun violence can be prevented and drastically reduced to nil. Organizations argue on the basis that the causes of gun violence are simple issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse and minimal influence of mental illness. Practically, such causes are preventable and controlled by the public health care (Webster, 2015).
Individuals view the causes of gun violence as an act of negligence by the public health officials and the people surrounding the people involved. Individuals believe that the public health system has to be changed to a reduction in incidences of gun violence
In conclusion, mental illness contributes very little in the incidences of gun violence in the society. Mental disorders are just but a challenge to the public health system to find a solution to the effective ways of treating the illness. It also helps in improving access to treatment for the people suffering the disorder. The perception that people hold for people who carry out gun violence ought to be altered by creating awareness on the causes and effects of gun violence.
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