The Mental Health Diversion

Following the mass shooting in Newtown (Connecticut) on Friday, people opposed to limiting gun ownership have tried to shift the focus onto mental health. They argue that if mental health services are improved, mental people will be prevented from carrying out mass shootings. If improvements can be made to mental health services that stop mental people killing themselves or others, those improvements should be made.

However, opponents of limiting gun ownership want a choice to be made between improving mental health services and limiting gun ownership. They want people to discuss improving mental health services instead of discussing limiting gun ownership. Opponents of limiting gun ownership aren’t normally interested in mental health services, and are usually opposed to state involvement in health care provision.

The US government doesn’t have to choose between the two options. It can and should choose both. Adam Lanza couldn’t buy a gun, so he used the guns his mum had bought. Mental people may use guns that belong to other people if they can’t buy their own guns. People may become mentally ill after buying guns or after the people with whom they live buy guns. If people don’t have and can’t buy guns, there will be fewer mass shootings. If dangerous mental people are sectioned, they won’t be free to walk into schools or other places and kill people.

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