New poll gives insight on what Utahns think causes mass shootings

Jul 6, 2022, 12:26 PM | Updated: 12:36 pm

A police officer holds a gun. Mass shootings, like the one in Uvalde, prompted the gun buyback prog...

A Salt Lake City police officer inspects a handgun during a voluntary gun buyback program outside of the Public Safety Building in Salt Lake City on Saturday, June 11, 2022. Photo credit: Spenser Heaps/Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — In the wake of another mass shooting, a new poll conducted by Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics gives a glimpse into what Utahns think is at the root of the violence. The poll was conducted after the mass shootings at a Uvalde, Texas elementary and at a Buffalo, New York supermarket, but prior to the recent shooting in Highland Park, Illinois that killed seven. 

Utahns were asked what they think is the main cause of mass shootings. The number one answer? Mental health. 

43% of poll respondents said mental health treatment challenges are the primary cause of mass shootings.

A report from the National Council Medical Director Institute said most people with a diagnosable mental illness are not violent towards other people. And most people who commit mass violence do not have a major psychiatric disorder.

A psychiatry professor at Duke University who studies gun violence and mental illness also said most people with a serious mental illness are not violent towards other people. And, as reported by the New York Times, he said if we completely eliminated these serious mental health disorders, community violence would only go down by about 4%. 

The second-most common answer was inadequate gun control laws, with 27% of respondents choosing it as the cause.

Respondents who identified as conservative were more likely to blame mental health problems. And those who identified as liberals were more likely to point to poor gun laws.

The rest of the respondents blamed inadequate security at schools and other public spaces — which 11% chose — or wrote in their own responses — which 18% chose. 


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New poll gives insight on what Utahns think causes mass shootings