Sample Psychology Paper on Should the Government Focus on Mental Illness to Reduce Mass Shooting

A mass shooting, an incident in which four or more people are killed at a public location, generally being so irrational, horrifying and disturbing, understandably creates public outrage and outcry. Recent mass shootings have reignited the debate over the extent to which mental illness is responsible for mass shootings, and if it should be a focus for the government.

A criminologist, Grant Duwe, found that in a study of 185 public mass shootings, 59 percent of suspects had been diagnosed with mental illness or were displaying signs that suggested they suffered from a mental disorder before carrying out their attacks, (Swanson,  2014). In another analysis by “Everytown for Gun Safety”, an NGO, in 42 percent of mass shooting cases between 2009 and 2016, the shooters displayed troubling behavior or at least red flags that pointed to potential violent behavior.

Contrary to this, Knoll and Annas (2016) claimed that there was no significant relationship between gun violence and mental illness seeing as violent crimes committed by the mentally sick only account for about 3 percent of violent crimes while Swanson (2014), claimed that only 4 percent of gun and other forms of violence is traceable to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression which are the three main conditions found in violent incidence in a research he conducted for the National Institute on Health. According to him, the role of mental illness is overplayed after shootings.

While a majority of mass shootings are not a direct result of mental illness or related disorders, the government should nonetheless focus on mental illness to reduce the incidence of mass shootings, at least by the percentage mental illness is responsible for, seeing that these horrifying acts are disturbing and all necessary steps should be taken to reduce their recurrence.




Swanson, J. (2014). Gun Violence and Mental Illness. Retrieved from

Knoll, J. & Annas, G. (2016). Mass Shootings and Mental Illness. Retrieved from