More Research Necessary To Identify Predictive Behaviors Of Violent Gun Owners, Prevent Shootings

May 31, 2017

In the past month, there have been six shootings in Wilmington – and one life lost to gun violence. But how do local and state authorities screen gun permit applicants? On this week's CoastLine, UNCW Psychology Professor Richard Ogle outlined the difficulties in identifying those who are more prone to violence. 

After mass shootings in the news, there’s often a call to address the mental health of the perpetrator. But Professor Ogle says simply flagging gun permit applicants with a history of mental illness isn’t the solution:

Richard Ogle: "When you look at the rates of various psychological disorders in the population, they’re really fairly high. And so the fear is that, simply because I have a psychological condition, I can’t own a gun. That actually is a bit of a problem in the sense that it actually works in reverse, and it stigmatizes of individuals with mental health problems because the vast majority of individuals with mental health problems are not violent. In fact, they’re more likely to be the victims of violence."

And according to Ogle, there isn’t an isolated behavior that can predict who’s going to use a gun to commit violent crimes. He says more research has to be done in order to identify such factors—and mitigate their violent effects.