ROCHESTER, Minn. — Oct. 16, 2013 — A string of public mass shootings during the past decade-plus have rocked America leaving policymakers and mental health experts alike fishing for solutions to prevent these heinous crimes. A Mayo Clinic physician, however, argues that at least one proposal won't stop the public massacres: restricting gun access to the mentally ill. J. Michael Bostwick, M.D., a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist and author of the editorial published online in Mayo Clinic Proceedings today, 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.
MULTIMEDIA ALERT: For audio and video of Dr. Bostwick talking about the editorial, visit the Mayo Clinic News Network.
Dr. Bostwick's editorial is a commentary on an essay in the same issue of 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.
Before reading the essay Dr. Bostwick — who is generally in favor of gun control — expected to disagree with its contents. Instead, he agreed.