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March 27, 2013

Mental Illness and New Gun Law Reforms: The Promise and Peril of Crisis-Driven Policy

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina.

JAMA. 2013;309(12):1233-1234. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.1113

The December 2012 tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, transfixed the nation in a moment of shared grief for 20 small children and 6 adults who died in a merciless hail of bullets. The weeks since have brought numerous federal and state policy proposals to curb gun violence. Whether these crisis-driven reforms can help inch society toward the goal of reducing firearm-related deaths, the new laws' broader social consequences could long outlast the memory of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Policy makers would do well to pause and think them through.

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