Op-ed: Solution to Violence Is Gun Control, Not Mental Health Reforms


Writing in the Washington Post, Martin Seligman, former president of the American Psychological Association, says the calls for improving “mental health services” following recent mass shootings “deflects from actions that would save lives.” This approach only serves to “compound our national reluctance to face facts about what can and cannot be changed.”

He writes, “I have found that drugs and therapy offer disappointingly little additional help for the mentally ill than they did 25 years ago — despite billions of dollars in funding. And there is zero promise that any developments I am aware of will help curb the violence that mentally ill persons commit.” He concludes that there is little hope that treatment can diminish violent acts by those with mental issues. He says a more rational approach would be steep taxes on guns. “Crazy people and evil people can commit mass murder, and they always do it with guns,” Seligman writes. “Our society's only real leverage, at least in the near term, lies in reducing access to guns.”

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