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Am J Public Health. 2014 Nov;104(11):e22-6. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302171. Epub 2014 Sep 11.

Using research evidence to reframe the policy debate around mental illness and guns: process and recommendations.

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Emma E. McGinty, Shannon Frattaroli, and Daniel W. Webster are with the Department of Health Policy and Management, Center for Gun Policy and Research, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD. Paul S. Appelbaum is with the Division of Law, Ethics, and Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, NY. Richard J. Bonnie is with the Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy, University of Virginia School of Law, Charlottesville. Anna Grilley is with the Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Joshua Horwitz is with the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, Washington, DC. Jeffrey W. Swanson is with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC.


Recent mass shootings have prompted a national dialogue around mental illness and gun policy. To advance an evidence-informed policy agenda on this controversial issue, we formed a consortium of national gun violence prevention and mental health experts. The consortium agreed on a guiding principle for future policy recommendations: restricting firearm access on the basis of certain dangerous behaviors is supported by the evidence; restricting access on the basis of mental illness diagnoses is not. We describe the group's process and recommendations.

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