Published: August 7, 2019  Updated: April 1, 2020 at 7:30 am EST

The Left blames access to guns, while the right blames mental illness as the main driving force behind mass shootings. Researchers with both political ideologies in mind can derive either or as the main narrative for the reasoning behind such shootings.

However, what both sides of the aisle are failing to realize is the politicization of both science on the matter and how their political rhetoric is leading to an increase in mass shootings in the United States.

While mental illness plays a role in mass shootings, sometimes it may not be the sole driving force behind the motive. In addition, access to guns is also not the ‘sole’ driving force behind mass shootings. After all, a firearm is merely a tool, like a hammer, or a pair of scissors.

The world over, where guns are not accessible, people who wish to harm others find a means to cause destruction regardless of the tool. Further, the tool is not the driving force of the narrative in a murderers mind.

Mental illness is not something to be demonized and slandered; people need help, and are less likely to get it, if it’s believed to be ‘such a bad thing.’

Moreover, the United States was built on the right to keep and bear arms; there are over 300 million guns in the United States, surely, if access to firearms were the driving force of mass shootings, they wouldn’t be such rare events.

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A study published in 2016 sheds light on an additional significant factor in regards to a driving force behind mass shootings. According to the study conducted by James Knoll IV and George D. Annas there is significant evidence to conclude that sociocultural factors play a drastic role in the ’cause’ of mass shootings.

“We conclude by proposing that instead of the focus on mental illness, increased attention should be paid to sociocultural factors associated with mass shootings and exploring other interventions and areas for further research.”

In examining the motives of the shooter’s there are various factors at play; mental illness, sociocultural beliefs, medications, lack of parental oversight, bullying, school environment, cult-like following of political ideologies, social media and several other factors that go into the reasoning behind mass shootings.

Regardless of the media’s attempt to oversimplify the reasoning of mass shootings, it takes a person to pull the trigger, no amount of legislation is going to fix the underlying personal problems behind mass shootings. Instead, an approach which focuses on identifying when a person is in trouble and acting as quickly as possible to prevent them from causing harm to others, regardless of the weapon used, is a viable solution.

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