President Trump called mass shooters “mentally ill monsters” and advocated for the increased use of involuntary commitment “when necessary” during his Monday speech in response to two mass shootings over the weekend that left a total of 31 people dead. “We must reform our mental-health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence,” Trump said, “and make sure those people, not only get treatment, but when necessary, involuntary confinement.” Most states have three tiers of involuntary commitment already in place, and all states have some sort of civil commitment. In some states, involuntary commitment does not limit firearm possession. Trump’s comments were met with a backlash online, where Twitter users accused the president of blaming the recent bloodshed on video games and mental illness, while downplaying the role of guns and white supremacy.
The American Psychological Association also took issue with Trump’s comments, saying that blaming mass shootings on mental illness is “unfounded and stigmatizing.” The group went on to say a very small percentage of violence is committed by people diagnosed with or being treated for mental illnesses, adding: “The rates of mental illness are roughly the same around the world, yet other countries are not experiencing these traumatic events as often as we face them.” In his speech, Trump also proposed bipartisan gun legislation and condemned white supremacy.