Former public safety director: Trump misses the mark on guns, mental health

Two mass shootings in a single weekend have a nation asking where to focus efforts moving forward -- some experts say it's not mental health that's the problem, but rather gun regulations.

News 12 Staff

Aug 6, 2019, 9:56 PM

Updated 1,718 days ago

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Two mass shootings in a single weekend have a nation asking where to focus efforts moving forward -- some experts say it's not mental health that's the problem, but rather gun regulations.
Current University of New Haven criminal justice professor and former state Public Safety Director Mike Lawlor says people concerned with mental health issues when it comes to gun safety are missing the mark. He says people with mental illnesses are no more likely to be dangerous than anyone else.
"Who knows what triggered the kid in Ohio, but we do know what triggered the kid in Texas. It was just pure hatred, based on the kinds of things that are being said at the White House and online," says Lawlor.
Lawlor says President Trump's rhetoric implies if you have mental health issues, you're dangerous. He adds that language could have unintended consequences as far as stigma goes, because people might be reluctant to seek out mental health services.
In terms of the shooters who commit these crimes, Lawlor says many are mentally sane, but ideologically driven. He says the Red Flag Law, which he helped implement 20 years ago, will allow for safer gun regulations while still upholding the Constitution. He believes more states should adopt it to promote gun safety.
"If you see something, you need to say something. In Connecticut, if you call the police, they can take action, and if appropriate, someone will get referred for mental health evaluation," says Lawlor. "But they will be separated from their firearms. That's the key thing."
On Tuesday, Ohio's governor announced he was going to propose the Red Flag Law, which would expand background checks for all gun sales.


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