Statement from Progress Center for Independent Living on Mental Illness and Gun Control

Stop blaming mental illness

“We are going to face the difficult problem of mental health,” said President Trump recently, speaking about the mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglass School in Parkland, Florida.  The President’s statement is an offense to the community of people with disabilities and specifically to the community of people with mental health conditions.

Unfortunately, President Trump isn’t the only one.  Too often, elected officials and others leaders lay the blame for mass shootings on the mental health community. This does a disservice to people with disabilities. This also does a disservice to the victims of mass shootings and their families.

People with mental illness are much more likely to the victim of a crime than to be the perpetrator. Rather than blame the mental health community, leaders and communities should address the current system of gun control, and address the ease with which weapons are obtained in this country.

We urge political leaders to legislate for stricter gun measures.  Current policy and current enforcement makes it easier for potential murderers to buy weapons than for children to buy candy. This puts school children and the population in general at great risk.

The Parkland shooting was latest in a long list of recent school shootings.  In the wake of nearly every shooting, blame turns to people with mental illness.

Progress Center calls on Mr. Trump and others to stop focusing on disability, and instead address gun control and special interest groups that stand in the way of gun control, the safety of school children, and the safety of all United States Citizens.


Horacio Esparza

Executive Director of Progress Center