Public Perceptions and Experts’ Opinions: Causes, Correlates, and Prevention

  • Lia AhonenEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Criminology book series (BRIEFSCRIMINOL)


In this chapter, a qualitative study is presented which identifies the discrepancies between public and expert perceptions on the causes of violence, and how violence can best be prevented. The results show large differences in public and expert opinions with respect to the degree that mentally ill individuals are prone to violent behavior, with the public more in favor of arming school personnel, increased police presence at schools, and enforced security in public spaces. The experts were not in favor of those solutions and were critical to the way mental illness is reported into the National Instant Background Check System. The chapter includes a discussion regarding background checks as a measure to prevent mentally ill individuals from committing violence and concludes with a discussion on future research needs and implications for practice.


Public perception Experts Mental illness Violence Shootings Background checks Gun laws 


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© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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