The Centers for Disease Control and Protection concluded that in 2014, 33,594 people died in the United States from injuries caused by a firearm. Firearms accounted for 16.8% of all injury-related deaths that year, with 63.7% of all firearm-related deaths being suicides and 32.8% being homicides.
As a means of reducing these firearm-related deaths and injuries, some policymakers have turned to the restriction of guns for those individuals with mental illnesses. A 2013 study showed that 46% of Americans believe those with serious mental illnesses are significantly more dangerous than others, and that 85% of Americans want mandatory background checks for individuals who have received involuntary psychiatric treatment or who have been declared mentally incompetent by a court.
But despite these public opinions, research suggests that individuals with mental disabilities tend not to exhibit higher rates of gun violence than those without. A 2016 study found that persons in Florida with various, serious mental health disorders between the years of 2002 and 2011 were not any more likely to harm others with a gun than any adult in the general population. The study also found that those with serious mental health disorders were also only slightly more likely than the general adult population (13 per 100,000 people versus 9 per 100,000 people) to commit suicide using a firearm. Mental illness was found to substantially increase the risk of suicide, but did not increase the likelihood for a person to use a gun to carry out a suicide.
Likewise, another study published in 2009 found that mental illness does not predict future violent behavior. This study concluded that only 4% of interpersonal violence can be independently attributed to mental illness of any kind. This data coincidences with statistics provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, which reports that only between 3% and 5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals with severe mental health disabilities.