JUDY WOODRUFF: In the aftermath of the school shooting in Florida, there has been discussion about a number of ways to prevent a repeat of these tragedies, from arming teachers, to stricter gun laws, and addressing people with mental and emotional problems. But preventing violence by using mental health records is more complicated than many realize. For example, posting a disturbing message on social media doesn't necessarily mean an individual has a mental health concern, and someone treated and diagnosed for a specific illness may never turn up in the federal background check system. To help us lay this out and look at some of the challenges, I'm joined by Dr. Jeffrey Swanson. He's a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University. Professor Swanson, thank you for joining us again on the "NewsHour." Just to -- I want to clarify something going in. You were just reminding us that the vast majority of people who have mental and emotional challenges don't turn out to be violent. Is that right?
DR. JEFFREY SWANSON, Duke University: That's right, Judy. There are probably over 40 million people in the United States who would meet criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition, 10 million with a serious disorder such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder or major depression. And the overwhelming majority are not violent towards other people, and never will be.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, right now, just tell us generally what do the laws say about preventing somebody from -- banning somebody from getting a gun if they have some kind of mental or emotional problem?
DR. JEFFREY SWANSON: Right. Well, the federal law goes back to the 1968 Gun Control Act, and, basically, the law identified a couple of categories of people who would be prohibited from purchases or possessing firearms, most importantly people with a felony criminal conviction. But with respect to people with mental health records, it's really about an adjudication, so people who have been involuntarily committed to a mental hospital, people who have been found in a court to be incompetent to manage their own affairs and have a mental illness, people who, on the criminal side, have been found not guilty by reason of insanity or incompetent to stand trial. So there's been a legal determination, and most of those categories have something to do with dangerousness, and there's also been some due process, which actually is important when you think about the fact that people are going to be deprived of a constitutional right.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, given that, what has to happen for there to be information in the national criminal background check system on someone?
DR. JEFFREY SWANSON: So, the information in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System is reported by states typically, and the background check, as regulated by the Brady law, is only as good as the information that's there. So, sometimes, the state courts report the information. Sometimes, it comes from a mental health authority in the state. There are records of involuntary commitment that are submitted. And -- but a lot of people might not be reported, even though they have been involuntarily detained and evaluated during a mental health crisis, because they're only there for a short period of time, say 72 hours. After that, they may sign into the hospital voluntarily, if they're able to do that and willing, or they may be discharged. And if it doesn't progress to a gun-disqualifying involuntary commitment hearing with a judge and the opportunity for the person to be represented by counsel, then that record is not going to be in the national instant check system. I think, as a result, the records that are there, they are kind of spotty, and also, when we look at the criteria, they're probably too narrow and too broad at the same time. There are lots of people who have been involuntarily committed who are not violent towards others or themselves, and there are lots of people who actually do pose a risk. Maybe they're just really angry, disturbed people, and are never going to have a gun-disqualifying involuntary commitment record or maybe not even a felony conviction.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So is there a better way? I mean, I know mental health professionals like you talk about this, look at this, research this all the time. Is there a better way? Are there things that could be done to catch more of these people who could be potentially dangerous?
DR. JEFFREY SWANSON: Well, I think so. If you wanted to focus first on that point of sale that -- when people come in to purchase a firearm from a federally licensed dealer, we could have better criteria. We could, for example, do, as about half the states do, and say let's restrict firearms, at least temporarily, from people who have been detained in a short-term involuntary hold. We could say let's prohibit people who have a misdemeanor violent crime conviction, because we know that violence escalates. And today's fist and black eye could become tomorrow's gun and dead body. But we could also say, look at all the people out there who already have a number of firearms and don't have a disqualifying record. And so what if we put into the hands of police officers the clear legal authority to intervene upstream and remove firearms from people where there is clear evidence that they pose a risk, and also allow family members to initiate that process? If they know someone's at risk -- and often they have that information very specifically about people -- give them an avenue to remove the firearms, at least for a period of time. And I think that's a solution that is getting some traction. It's called extreme risk protection orders or gun violence restraining orders. In Connecticut, the pioneering state, called it a risk warrant law. I think that is another solution, because it doesn't require that the person have this record. And it also solves the problem that if you just stop someone from buying a new gun, and they already have 10 or 12 or 15 at home, it might not deter them.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But you are suggesting clearly that a number of these methods have been tried, and they just -- they're not passing, they're not -- they don't gain the support that they need in so many states.
DR. JEFFREY SWANSON: Well, that's right. For one thing, the number of states that have enacted a risk warrant law is very small and, until recently, just a couple of states. But, also, as with any public health law or policy, you need to do more than just passing the law. There has to be a very systematic effort to implement it and to make sure that people who are in a position to use it, the actors around it, actually know about it, whether it's law enforcement or others. And so I think that's an important part of the message as well.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And do I hear you saying, Jeff Swanson, that what is needed is action at the federal level, that it really isn't enough to have some states pass these kinds of regulations?
DR. JEFFREY SWANSON: I think the federal and the state laws can work together. For example, there are a lot of state-level measures that would work better if we had comprehensive background checks required at the federal level, so that -- you know, if you stop someone with a good state law, they can't just go next door to a neighboring state with weaker gun laws, and maybe doesn't have a requirement for a background check. So, you know, I think the answer is both. But even federal measures often have to be implemented at the state level. And the restriction with respect to involuntary commitment is a good example. That's a federal law, but commitment statutes and practices vary a lot from state to state. And some states use it a great deal, and others don't. So the chance that the same person with the same mental health crisis will be prohibited may depend on what state they're living in. So, I think we need to have a comprehensive solution, but also an on-the-ground, state-level implementation.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it is no question -- no question this is complicated, but it is also clear that progress has been made, and there's some impetus now to be trying to make more progress as we go forward. Professor Jeff Swanson of Duke University, thank you very much.
DR. JEFFREY SWANSON: Thank you so much.
1.committed to 决心从事
Every man who could fight was now committed to defend the ridge
2.work together 合作共事
They live and work together in complete equality and brotherhood.
But China has been making it more difficult to conduct their kind of on-the-ground research.
4.enact law 颁布法律
The authorities have failed so far to enact a law allowing unrestricted emigration
杰夫瑞·斯旺森博士，杜克大学：是的，朱蒂 。在美国达到心理疾病诊断标准的人数可能超过4000万，而严重精神紊乱的人数达到1000万，如精神分裂症、双相情感障碍症或重度抑郁症 。其中绝大多数人对别人并不暴力，而且永远不会 。
杰夫瑞·斯旺森博士：好的 。嗯，这方面的联邦法律可以追溯到1968年《枪械管制法》，基本上，该法对某几类人购买持有枪支做出了明确禁止，其中最重要的是重刑定罪人士 。但关于有精神健康记录备案的人，这真是一场宣判，于是那些被迫进入精神病院的人，那些法庭认为无能管理自身事务的人，那些患有某种精神疾病的人，那些，在刑事方面，由于精神错乱或受审能力不足被判无罪的人 。所以这里有一个法律界定，其中大多数类别都涉及到危险性，也有一些法定诉讼程序，实际上，当你想到人们会被剥夺宪法所赋予的权利时，这点相当重要 。
杰夫瑞·斯旺森博士：那么，全国即时犯罪背景调查系统中的信息通常由各州报告提供，而背景核查，根据《布来迪法案》的规定，不逊于此处所提供的信息内容 。因此，有时，州法院会报告这些信息 。有时，这些信息来源于国家心理健康机构 。在提交的记录中还有被迫进入精神病院的案例 。但是，很多人可能不会被报出，即使他们被迫留在精神病院，遭遇（疾病状态）评估，因为他们只在那里呆了短短一段时间，比如说72小时 。之后，他们可以自愿进入医院，如果他们能够这样做，而且愿意，或者他们可以出院 。如果它不朝着取消持枪资格的非情愿拘禁听证会的方向发展，该听证会应有一名法官并且该人员有机会寻找代理律师，那么这条记录是不会进入国家即时调查系统的 。我认为，结果是，那里的记录，它们有点参差不齐，而且，看标准时发现，它们可能太狭隘了，然而同时又太宽泛了 。很多人都是被迫认罪，他们对他人或自己并不暴力，而实际上有很多人又的确构成了风险 。也许他们只是真正生气而不安的人，他们不会被取消持枪资格或者甚至连重罪定罪都不会涉及 。
杰夫瑞·斯旺森博士：嗯，我想是这样 。如果你首先关注销售点——当人们从联邦授权的经销商那里购买枪支时，我们可以设立更好的标准 。例如，我们可以这样做，大约有一半的州就是这样做的，并说，让我们至少暂时地限制那些被短期拘留的人持有枪械 。我们可以说，我们禁止有暴力犯罪的轻罪人士，因为我们知道暴力会升级 。而今天的拳头和被打的肿眼可能成为明天的枪和死尸 。但是，我们也可以说，看这里所有的人，有谁已经拥有一批枪支，而没有被取消持枪 。因此，如果让警察拥有明确的法定权利去干涉上游部门，除去证据明确表明的危险人士手中的枪支，并允许家庭成员启动这一进程，又会如何呢？如果他们知道有人涉险——而且他们通常非常了解那些人——给了他们一个途径去除去枪支，至少在一段时间内 。我认为这是一种正在发展的解决方法 。这被称为极端危险保护令或枪支暴力限制令 。在康涅狄格州，这一开拓进取之州称之为风险防范法 。我认为这是另一种解决办法，因为它不要求此人有此记录 。它也解决了这样一个问题：如果你阻止某人买新枪，而他们家里已有10、12或15支，这就可能不会震慑到他们 。
杰夫瑞·斯旺森博士：嗯，是的 。一方面，颁布了风险防范法的州，数量很少，直到最近，才有几个州 。但是，和任何公共卫生法或政策一样，你需要做的不仅仅是通过法律 。必须通过非常系统的努力来对它加以实施，并确保在位之人去使用它，它周围的执行者，实际上了解它，无论是执法者或其他人士 。所以我认为这也是那些信息的一个重要部分 。
杰夫瑞·斯旺森博士：我认为联邦和州法律可以合作共事 。例如，如果我们在联邦一级要求进行全面的背景调查，那么州一级的很多措施将会更好实施，所以，如果你利用一个好的州法阻止某人，他们也不能直接跑到另一个枪支管理法律更弱、甚至都不需要背景调查的邻州去 。所以，你知道，我想答案是双管齐下 。但是即便是联邦措施，也必须在州一级得到贯彻实施 。对被迫承诺的限制就是一个很好的例子 。这是一项联邦法律，但承诺法规和做法各州之间不尽相同 。一些州用得很多，其他州则不用，所以对于同样一位精神危机人士，他用枪是否会遭禁止，可能取决于他们生活在那个州 。所以，我认为我们需要一个全面的解决方案，而且需要落地的国家级执行 。
朱蒂·伍德瑞夫：嗯，这是毫无疑问的，没有问题，这是复杂的，但同样清楚的是，它已经取得了进展，现在我们要为取得更大进步而努力 。杜克大学的杰夫瑞·斯旺森教授，非常感谢 。