Mayo psychiatrist: Taking guns away from mentally ill won't eliminate mass shootings

Mayo psychiatrist: Taking guns away from mentally ill won't eliminate mass shootings

J. Michael Bostwick, M.D., a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist discusses an editorial commentary on an essay in Mayo Clinic 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.

Dr. Bostwick 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.


  1. I’m glad he says these people aren’t mentally ill but he sort of backtracks it immediately, idk maybe it’s just the wording he says the courts use. Saying these people are mentally ill is an insult to people who are dealing with a mental illness. These people are evil not mentally ill, if mental illness was a cause there would be a lot more shootings but there aren’t because true evil is far less common

  2. The mass shooters are not mentally ill. They know how to plan all those shootings and they know how to aim and shoot. Mentally ill people arent capable of those. The shooters are just people who went mad, and took their frustration out with a gun.

  3. You sound very professional and obviously well-titled as a Psychiatrist. However, I also work in your industry with degree’s in psychology and I disagree with some points you are making here. These shootings are getting worse (since your 2013 post) and there is absolutely no reason why we need to have automatic weapons for individuals in the general public. Reducing the opportunity to get your hands on an automatic weapon will make it harder for them to do what they want to do, and may reduce the amount of deaths with the intention of a mass killing by a shooter in these single incident attacks. I believe the majority of these mass shooters/ mass murderers in these single incident raids have a strong history of psychopathy going back to childhood (which is what the DSM guide states as criteria for ASPD anyway). Also, I am not claiming that having ASPD will cause someone to become a mass murderer at all, because this is not true either. However, there is a direct correlation to childhood delinquency and fantasies with killings related to mass murderers. Btw, in this post I am addressing single incident mass murderers (particularly shooters). I am not addressing single incident suicides or gang related crimes in my argument here either. Also, you mention that we do not have the capacity to register the mentally ill. Registering those who are mentally ill has nothing to do with addressing the problems associated with individuals who are capable of mass murders (which I am agreeing with you on). And due to the extreme differences in the physiology of the workings of the brain amongst different forms of mental illness, to categorize depression in the same category as antisocial personality disorder is folly! Having a universal "mental illness" list will do nothing because this literally puts everyone in the same category as a potential threat. Because varying forms of mental illness present such different forms of treatment and symptoms, we should look to educate society (educators, parents, children) about the varying differences and forms of mental illness. We need better diagnostic materials and education about ASPD and other forms of mental illness put in place for educators, parents and kids so we can treat this condition as early as possible. Let’s be more proactive is my point! Saying "oh well" they are going to do what they are going to do no matter what is a defeatist attitude. Let us grow from these experiences starting with better mental health awareness for our educators, our students and parents. This is a place to start!

  4. Its ridiculous. People will no longer seek medical treatment because they dont want to be treated like subhumans and have their rights taken away.

  5. I think we should also consider that today’s youth are less mature than their forbearers of say 50 years ago
    Owing in part to parental and public school coddling, on average and a reduced presence of fathers in the home. Most of the shootings would go away if the gun age were raised to 25 or 28, excepting police and military employees. just as we return the drinking age to 21 we should also raise the gun possession age.

  6. TRUTH. Mentally ill folks are Less inclined to violence but More likely to be the Victims of crime.
    Trying to scapegoat these mass shootings on mentally I’ll and disabled folks is wrong and disturbing

  7. “Mass shootings happen in other countries” all the countries he has named besides one are modern countries. Up to standards with ours. The ones that are modernized aren’t looking at over 200 mass shootings just in 2019. That’s the difference.

  8. We differentiate physical ailments with specific diagnoses such as “kidney disease“ or “heart disease.” Similarly we need to differentiate mental disorders with more specificity: “Non-violent bipolar,” and of course…”TERMINATOR DISORDER” for all of those losers who fantasize that they are going to go down in some sort of “blaze of glory.”

  9. I don’t think mental illness is tied to mass shootings. I haven’t killed anyone . People carry out evil acts. Suicide victims are gone forever .

  10. Mentally ill are not violent
    Angry men are violent. And as long as big corporations keep controlling government there will be mass shootings. Capitalist at there best

  11. Every news channel is more responsible for the mass shootings than firearms. The constant barrage of carnage, violence, chaos, racism, and death getting pumped into the minds of everyone, everyday, for better viewership numbers, is starting to effect the mental state of the entire country. Until this is addressed mass shootings will continue to happen. If you take the guns away then we’d be dealing with bombs instead, and most likely higher death tolls.

  12. There is no solution anytime soon …outlaw guns in America? There tens of millions of them already here! If you ask me at the root of the motivation for mass murder is modern day mass communication ….social media/YOUTUBE/talk radio …people are whipped into frenzies by the zealots and they come away really believing the hype whether left or right …environmental or economics or religion ….end times for example …in a way never before people lacking meaning in their life can tune around and find someone speaking logic that appeals to them and then it is just a matter of how gullible they are (and plenty of people are OVER THE TOP gullible) …So I mean what can anyone do to change the danger but talk about how foolish people are being for buying into ANY sort of radical hype? But they wont listen ….And so you make it tougher and tougher to buy guns …listen you can kill a SHITLOAD of people with motor vehicle before anyone stops you…you can search the internet and learn how to build explosives from readily available materials…one could get their pilot license and rent a plane and fly it into a crowded stadium …. In my opinion it is not guns it is the phenomena of AMERICA …no other place shares the same ingredients if you ask me ….disasters waiting to happen every day….

  13. I have experienced a lot of mistreatment. It has recurred for years. I cannot walk from the front door to the mailbox without experiencing some sort of harassment. There must be others with a similar experience. I am surprised more people aren’t shooters. When the postal shootings started in the 1980’s people at the site said the shooters were being harassed and humiliated. Some witnesses even said the victims deserved to be killed. It will continue to get worse until more people learn to have empathy for others.

  14. where is he getting his numbers –Japan has very strict gun laws and very few shootings –look at shooting per 100,000 around the world -the USA numbers are off the chart

  15. I don’t care whether they’re on Prozac pills or not or they’ve been adjudicated.. if you’re a mass shooter we should hang you immediately in front of the whole neighborhood there wouldn’t be no more mass shooters

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