Scientists pinpointed factors that put a community at risk of a mass shooting — and found 2 gun laws that could make a difference

thousand oaks shooting people comfort

A mass shooting at a bar in the Los Angeles-area suburb of Thousand Oaks has left 13 people dead, including a police sergeant and the shooter.
Recently, researchers from the University of Toledo in Ohio analyzed 155 mass shootings that occurred in the US to investigate trends and risk factors.
They found a few clear patterns. Their results suggested that communities with better access to mental-health services had less risk of a mass shooting.
While not all gun laws made a difference, two were associated with lower risk of a mass shooting: reporting of mental-health records in background checks, and restrictions on open carry.
Lead investigator Dr. Stephen Markowiak said the study was intended to highlight a holistic approach to reducing gun violence.

There have been 307 mass shootings in the US so far in 2018.

On Wednesday, a 28-year-old Marine veteran opened fire inside a the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, a Los Angeles-area suburb. Thirteen people are dead, including a police officer, Sgt. Ron Helus, and the shooter, Ian David Long , who killed himself. Up to 15 other people were injured and taken to hospitals.

Because these deadly events have become so common in the US, a team of researchers from the University of Toledo in Ohio set out to look for patterns or similarities among communities that have dealt with a mass shooting.

They looked at 155 mass shootings in the US (defined as an event with four or more fatalities, excluding the shooter). Their research, which was presented at the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress last month, found several factors that are clearly associated with a higher risk of a mass shooting.

These include a shortage of mental-health professionals, a lack of opportunities for social interaction, greater income inequality, and relatively high housing costs.

Two common gun restriction laws were also found to be correlated with a lower incidence of mass shootings: a requirement that mental-health records get reported in criminal background checks, and restrictions on open carry firearms.

Mental healthcare as prevention

Dr. Stephen Markowiak, a general surgery research fellow at the University of Toledo, led the study.

“From the clinician side of things, when somebody gets shot, we’re on the receiving end of that,” Markowiak told Business Insider. “We have entire chapters in our textbooks dedicated to how to fix the problem once it happens, but there’s relatively little available to us on how to keep it from happening in the first place. That’s such a shame in a world where people know prevention is more powerful than cure.”

From their research, Markowiak’s team concluded that access to mental-health resources is an extremely important factor when it comes to the risk of a mass shooting. Communities with more mental-health providers per capita saw lower rates of mass shootings in their analysis.

That finding is similar to that of a 2016 study, which suggested that states that spend more money on mental health care and K-12 education have fewer school …read more

Source:: Business Insider – Science

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