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September 7, 2011

Mental Illness and Firearm Violence

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco (avak.howsepian@va.gov).

JAMA. 2011;306(9):930-931. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1259

To the Editor: Mr Gostin and Ms Record suggest that in the absence of comorbid substance abuse, persons with mental illness are no more likely to be violent than the rest of the population.1 In support of this claim, they cite a single study that investigated rates of violence by persons during a 1-year period following discharge from acute psychiatric inpatient facilities and compared these rates with violence committed by others in the same neighborhoods.2 In contrast, Swanson et al3 found a statistically significant, albeit modest, increase in violence risk among seriously mentally ill individuals living in the community, which has recently been confirmed by van Dorn et al.4