Informing Federal Policy on Firearm Restrictions for Veterans with Fiduciaries: Risk Indicators in the Post-Deployment Mental Health Study
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This article examines the public safety rationale for a federal policy of prohibiting gun sales to veterans with psychiatric disabilities who are assigned a fiduciary to manage their benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The policy was evaluated using data on 3200 post-deployment veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan war era. Three proxy measures of fiduciary need—based on intellectual disability, drug abuse, or acute psychopathology—were associated in bivariate analysis with interpersonal violence and suicidality. In multivariate analysis, statistical significance remained only for the measure based on acute psychopathology. Implications for reforms to the fiduciary firearm restriction policy are discussed.
KeywordsVeterans Mental Illness Suicide Gun violence Fiduciary
The research was funded by the VISN 6 Mid-Atlantic MIRECC and the Elizabeth K. Dollard Charitable Trust. The project was supported by the VA Mid-Atlantic Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (VISN 6 MIRECC) of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Mental Health Services and Suicide Prevention and the VA Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Network (VISN 6). The Mid-Atlantic MIRECC Workgroup contributors for this article include: Jean C. Beckham, PhD, Patrick S. Calhoun, PhD, Eric Dedert, PhD, Eric B. Elbogen, PhD, Robin A. Hurley, MD, Jason D. Kilts, PhD, Nathan A. Kimbrel, PhD, Angela Kirby, MS, Christine E. Marx, MD, MS, Gregory McCarthy, PhD, Scott D. McDonald, PhD, Scott D. Moore, MD, PhD, Rajendra A. Morey, MD, MS, Jennifer C. Naylor, PhD, Treven C. Pickett, PsyD, Jared A. Rowland, PhD, Cindy Swinkels, PhD, Steven T. Szabo, MD, PhD, Katherine H. Taber, PhD., Larry A. Tupler, PhD, Elizabeth E. Van Voorhees, PhD, H. Ryan Wagner, Ph.D., Richard D. Weiner, MD, PhD, and Ruth E. Yoash-Gantz, PsyD. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, or the US government. Dedert is funded by a Department of Veterans Affairs Clinical Science Research and Development Career Development Award. (IK2CX000718.) Kimbrel is funded by a Department of Veterans Affairs Clinical Science Research and Development Career Development Award (IK2CX000525). McDonald completed funding by a Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development Career Development Award (1IK2RX000703-01). Naylor is funded by a Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development Career Development Award (1lK2RX000908). Van Voorhees is funded by a Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development Career Development Award (1K2RX001298). The authors gratefully acknowledge the able assistance of Paola Fernandez and the helpful critical review of an earlier draft by Wendy Tenhula, Ph.D. and Stacey Pollack, Ph.D.
This study was funded by the VISN 6 Mid-Atlantic MIRECC and the Elizabeth K. Dollard Charitable Trust.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committees and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the Post-Deployment Mental Health study.
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