In the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, President Trump has called for building new institutions to involuntarily commit people with mental health disabilities and has suggested that mental illness is the primary cause of gun violence. The Center for Representation (CPR) condemns these blatantly untrue and stigmatizing statements.
For the last 40 years, CPR has fought against the legal, civil, and human rights abuses of people with psychiatric and other mental disabilities. We have fought against the abuses and inhumane conditions that regularly occur in psychiatric institutions. We have vindicated the rights of tens of thousands of people with mental health disabilities across the country to live and participate in their communities through litigation to expand intensive community-based services as an alternative to institutions. We will fight any effort to go back to the shameful and discriminatory days of locking up and warehousing people with psychiatric disabilities in institutions.
These recent mass shootings are the result of easy access to guns by people who embrace a philosophy of hate. Hate, racism, bigotry, and misogyny are not mental illnesses. The evidence is clear: people with psychiatric disabilities are not more likely to commit violent acts and, in fact, are more likely to be victims of violence than other people. Involuntarily committing people with mental health disabilities in institutions will not solve America’s problem with gun violence. We call on the Administration and Congress to reject this stigmatizing and false solution and instead address the real problem of the need for better gun control laws.
We join with our colleagues in the disability rights community – including the Bazelon Center, The Arc of the United States, Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, National Council on Independent Living, American Civil Liberties Union, ADAPT, and National Council for Mental Health Recovery – in vowing to fight against any efforts to scapegoat people with mental disabilities as part of a response to gun violence.
To see CPR’s press release regarding this critical issue, please click here.