Mental health versus gun control - are the two related?

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- The Texas church shooting on Sunday has everyone debating, did mental health issues lead to the tragic shooting. If so, do we need tighter gun control regulations?

Some say the two issues should not be associated.

"The Texas case actually highlights the differences between mental illness and criminology," Forensic Psychiatrist, Brian Barczak says.

"Mental health is a completely different issue itself," Vice President of Behavioral Sciences at Lifeskills, Colleen Marshall says. "We should be more concerned about helping those who go through mental health issues."

Gun experts tell 13 News that the right to bear arms is also a right to protect.

"When a shooting occurs such as what happened Sunday, it was actually an armed citizen that got the attack to stop," Phil Kimbel said. He teaches concealed carry for license in the Warren County area.

Barczak says violent minded people will commit the act they want, regardless of imposed sanctions.

"If someone is determined to commit a violent act, they are going to do so, gun control or not," he said.

Stricter gun control laws could lead to dangerous situations, some say.

"If we are deprived of having (guns), we are also deprived of the ability to defend ourselves."

Mental health experts want there to be a clarification between someone with a mental illness, and someone who is capable of committing a criminal act.

"By definition, (mental illness) is involuntary. It's something someone wouldn't choose," said Barczak.

"The easy answer is to go 'There must be a mental issue with this person because his actions doesn't make sense to me,' and that's not always the case."

​Mental health experts say the question in this situation should not be gun violence or gun control, but rather how we can catch psychopathic behavior before a tragedy occurs.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with any kind of mental illness, feel free to contact Lifeskills for help.

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