A new national poll recently released by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) reveals that a large majority of Americans, both Democrats and Republicans, see gun safety as a major public health issue and believe that Congress should do more to address the issue of mass shootings.
“This poll reflects Americans’ overall concern about gun safety and presents a strong call to action to address gun violence as a public health issue,” said American Psychiatric Association CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A.
The findings reveal that 87 percent of Americans see gun violence as a public health threat, including 77 percent of Republicans and 96 percent of Democrats. In addition, 85 percent of Americans believe that Congress should do more to address the issue of mass shootings, including 76 percent of Republicans and 96 percent of Democrats.
Americans blame the rash of mass shootings on both a lack of access to mental health care and easy access to assault style weapons. Lack of access to mental health services is seen as a contributing factor to mass shooting violence by 70 percent of Americans, while around half of Americans say lack of access to mental health services and easy access to assault style guns are equally to blame.
Around one in five Americans believe lack of access to mental services is more to blame and about one in five say that easy access to assault style guns is more to blame. African-Americans are more likely than Caucasians to blame easy access to guns (28 percent versus 17 percent) and Caucasians are more likely than African-Americans to blame lack of access to mental health services (23 percent versus 11 percent).
Furthermore, nearly half of Americans believe that individuals with mental illness are far more likely to be victims of violence than be perpetrators of violence (46 percent in 2018, up from 40 percent in 2017 and 37 percent in 2016). This perception is supported by previous research showing that those with mental illness are more likely to be victims rather than perpetrators of violence.
More than 75 percent of Americans support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducting research on gun violence as a public health issue. A spending bill recently passed by Congress now allows the CDC to conduct such research, but the bill did not provide any funding.
“Key to taking effective action to prevent gun violence will be better understanding the issues through research, which happens to be supported by most Americans,” said Levin.
Source: American Psychiatric Association