Clinical Implications of Violence Risk After Civil Commitment in Florida

J Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 2020 Dec;48(4):468-472. doi: 10.29158/JAAPL.200085-20. Epub 2020 Oct 14.


In their article, Swanson and colleagues examine the long-term risk of firearm-related and other violent crime in a large population of adults with serious mental illnesses following a gun-disqualifying involuntary civil commitment, compared with similar individuals who were evaluated for commitment but released or voluntarily admitted and with a third group with no holds or commitments. They build on prior research from a sample of individuals from public behavioral health systems of two large counties in Florida. This commentary provides further context for their research by highlighting additional factors related to mental health in the state of Florida. Understanding recent legislation regarding the medical privacy of firearm owners, mental health spending, trends in involuntary examinations, and related firearm laws in Florida will contribute to describing the backdrop of the current study. While Swanson's research proposes greater policy implications, this commentary will examine the direct impact on the practice of clinical psychiatrists.

Keywords: emergency holds; firearm restrictions; involuntary commitment; serious mental illness; violence.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Crime
  • Firearms*
  • Florida
  • Humans
  • Involuntary Commitment*
  • Violence