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May 25, 2011

Dangerous People or Dangerous Weapons: Access to Firearms for Persons With Mental Illness

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 2011;305(20):2108-2109. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.688

“None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped these shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man's mind,”1 said President Barack Obama while trying to console the nation in the wake of the January 2011 attempted assassination of Rep Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona. The shooting at a civic gathering left 6 bystanders dead, renewing the politically divisive debate about the appropriate response to violence: ban dangerous weapons or prohibit dangerous individuals from possessing firearms?