Samantha R. Colorado

Gun Control

The person holding the gun is the problem, not the gun itself.

Dear Future President,

In the past couple of years, there has been controversy surrounding gun control. In several instances, people who murder with an agenda are usually people that have been proven to have a mental illness, either in their previous experience or in their current state of mind. Multiple individuals believe that taking away guns will reduce the risk of public shootings, when in reality guns are not the problem, it is the person holding the gun.

The mental state of human beings helps determine their actions. In July of 2012, James Holmes murdered several people in a Colorado movie theater in the middle of a showing of The Dark Knight Rises. Holmes went to jail and during the trial the jury decided that he will live life in prison rather than face the death penalty. During the trial his psychiatrist stated, “…that Holmes was mentally ill but legally sane…schizotypal personality disorder. In other words, the expert said, Holmes was indeed sick and anti-social, but he was rational,” (O’Neill). The conclusion drawn by Holmes psychiatrist proves that Holmes’ mental illness provoked the attack, and he as a person is the problem, and not the gun itself.

People who are not treated for their mental illness can create an unwanted outcome. On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza killed several students at Sandy Hook elementary school. In previous years prior to the shooting many different professionals encouraged Lanza’s family to treat his mental illness but they refused. The medical team at Yale University determined, “he was ‘completely untreated in the years before the shooting’ for psychiatric and physical ailments like anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and was also deprived of recommended services and drugs,” (Cowan). Since Lanza was not treated for his mental illnesses, he killed several young elementary students, confirming that he was the problem, not the gun that he used.

Not all public shootings are the cause of someone who is mentally ill. But studies have shown that, “People with serious mental illness are three to four times more likely to be violent than those who aren’t,” (Beckett). Considering that someone with a mental illness is more likely to start a public shooting establishes that the person holding the gun is the problem, not the gun itself. There are, however, many solutions that could prevent a person who is mentally ill from obtaining a gun or weapon. For example there could be more background checks on people attempting to purchase a gun. People with a mental illness could take a test to see if it is permitted for them to purchase a gun. There could be a code or lock on guns, in case it gets in the hands of the wrong person the gun cannot be fired. Or even more research on specific illnesses and what restrictions can be made on people with a specific mental illness.

In conclusion, the controversy of gun control should be focused more around the person holding the gun, rather than the gun itself. The mentally ill are more likely to be violent than those who are not, and people like James Holmes and Adam Lanza were mentally ill. Even though the issue of gun control is a huge affair, there are many solutions that could prevent horrible tragedies.

Thank you,


Works Cited

Beckett, Lois. "What We Actually Know About the Connections Between Mental Illness, Mass

Shootings, and Gun Violence." Pacific Standard. N.p., 10 June 2014. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

Cowan, Alison Leigh. "Adam Lanza’s Mental Problems ‘Completely Untreated’ Before

Newtown Shootings, Report Says." The New York Times. The New York Times, 21 Nov. 2014. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

O'Neill, Ann, Ana Cabrera, and Sara Weisfeldt. "A Look inside the 'broken' Mind of James

Holmes." CNN. Cable News Network, 10 June 2015. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.