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Gun Control, Mental Illness, and Safety: A Letter for Ted Cruz

Deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill is the root cause of most of these shocking acts of mass murder, and the much more common but less publicized murders that happen every day in America, which very seldom involve high-capacity magazines or scary looking black rifles.

Pretending that gun control is going to have much of an impact on this is like putting a Band-Aid on an arm with a severed artery. It is only a short-term solution, because it covers up a deeper problem. It is time to recognize and solve the root problem.

Very Truly Yours,

Clayton E. Cramer

[1] Mark Greenblatt, Carol McKinley, and Mike Gudgell, “James Holmes' Psychiatrist Contacted University Police Weeks Before Movie-Theater Shooting: ABC Exclusive,” ABC News, August 6, 2012, http://abcnews.go.com/US/james-holmes-psychiatrist-contacted-university-police-weeks-movie/story?id=16943858#.UCGGtfaPWzk, last accessed February 6, 2013.

[2] Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California, 17 Cal.3d 425 (1976)(obligates mental health workers to warn individuals or police of threats of violence by patients).  Other courts have imposed variations of Tarasoff in most other American jurisdictions.

[3] Colorado Revised Statutes 27-65-105(a)(I) (2011).

[4] “Did CU Officials Consider James Holmes 'High Risk' For Violence?” The Denver Channel, August 16, 2012, http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/did-cu-officials-consider-james-holmes-high-risk-for-violence-, last accessed February 8, 2013.

[5] Jana Winter, “EXCLUSIVE: Fear of being committed may have caused Connecticut gunman to snap,” Fox News, December 18, 2012, http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/12/18/fear-being-committed-may-have-caused-connecticut-madman-to-snap/#ixzz2KB2OXmv4, last accessed February 8, 2013.

[6] Paul Payne and Martin Espinoza, “Sebastopol woman accused of killing mom had a history of arrests,” Santa Rosa (Cal.) Press-Democrat, February 7, 2013, http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20130206/ARTICLES/130209699/1350?p=all&tc=pgall, last accessed February 7, 2013.

[7] David Uberti, “Mass. keeps mental health data from FBI gun checks,” Boston Globe, January 28, 2013, http://bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2013/01/28/massachusetts-among-worst-sharing-mental-health-data-for-gun-background-checks/WmvEKsnUWsQWxvvsXwLY5O/story.html, last accessed February 8, 2013.

[8] Peter Grier, “Jared Lee Loughner: what is known about Tucson, Arizona, shooting suspect,” Christian Science Monitor, January 10, 2011, http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2011/0110/Jared-Lee-Loughner-what-is-known-about-Tucson-Arizona-shooting-suspect, last accessed February 8, 2013.

[9] Richard J. Bonnie, James S. Reinhard, Phillip Hamilton and Elizabeth L. McGarvey, “Mental Health System Transformation After The Virginia Tech Tragedy,” Health Affairs, February, 2013, http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/28/3/793.full, last accessed February 8, 2013.

[10] Using the numbers from Clayton E. Cramer, “Reforming Colorado Mental Health Law,” Independence Institute, 9-10, scaled up to the United States as a whole.

[11] Clayton E. Cramer, My Brother Ron: A Personal and Social History of the Deinstitutionalization of the Mentally Ill (2012), 146-50.