Statement from the American Psychiatric Association on Firearm Violence
Washington, D.C., June 1, 2022 — The American Psychiatric Association (APA) condemns the senseless loss of lives from firearm violence that has become all too common in this country, most recently in mass shootings in Uvalde, Buffalo, Houston and more than 200 other locations across the country in 2022 so far.
Firearm violence is a public health crisis, and it is preventable.
APA is committed to federal efforts to protect our youth and all citizens from gun violence and implores Congress to enact firearm safety legislation that will promote safe communities and reduce morbidity and mortality due to firearm-related violence. We stand ready to work with Congress on sensible legislation that increases research into firearm violence, requires background checks, waiting periods, safe storage of firearms, and that allows physicians to make clinically appropriate inquiries regarding access to firearms.
It is important to note that the overwhelming majority of people with mental illness are not violent and are far more likely to be victims of violent crime than perpetrators thereof. A vast majority of firearm violence is not attributed to mental illness. Rhetoric that argues otherwise will further stigmatize and interfere with people accessing needed treatment without addressing the root causes of firearm violence. Although there is no single cause of firearm violence, individuals can and have been emboldened to act violently by inflammatory public discourse and provocative, hateful and destructive rhetoric.
We implore our elected officials to act on meaningful, common-sense measures and begin to heal the divisions that have prevented progress in this area of public health for far too long. This senseless loss of life must end, and as a nation, we should expect action from federal and state legislative and executive leaders. Our children and communities deserve better.
American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 37,000 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please visit www.psychiatry.org.