Improving mental health service: a viable alternative to gun control?
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This paper examines whether gun control laws and mental health services are complements or substitutes in reducing gun violence in the United States. To study the relationship between these variables, I used data from the Violence Prevention Center, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I also examined the public hearing testimonies of gun control bills that have been proposed in specific states since the shooting at Sandy Hook to investigate the political dimensions of gun control laws versus mental health services. I found there to be significant correlation between states with stricter gun control laws and lower gun violence rates. I did not find there to be a strong correlation between states with highly rated mental health services and lower gun violence rates. In terms of actual policymaking, it seems that mental health is being used as an alternative to gun control.