Outgunned: Stigma Over Mental Illness Linked to Gun Violence

In part 3 of a five-part series, the NAACP says that treating mental disorders among African Americans could curb crime.

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The NAACP is calling for federal restrictions of gun purchases by people with serious mental illnesses. At the same time, we call for fully funded federal incentives for states to provide the National Instant Check System with information about gun buyers’ disqualifying mental-health conditions. State and local governments should also adopt legislation that provides mental-health and counseling services for the victims of gun violence and for offenders.

Our nation cannot stomach another mass shooting like the one we saw play out in Washington, D.C., where a dozen lives were taken by a troubled man who needed help for his mental illness. We cannot allow children, who are often the victims of gun violence, to suffer without treatment. We can change the tide of gun violence in this country by improving our nation’s mental health. 

Shavon Arline-Bradley is senior director of health programs at the NAACP. Follow her on Twitter.

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