Bazelon Center’s analysis of firearm homicides and psychiatric bed availability: Homicides involving the use of firearms—notably, mass murders that generate significant media attention—have raised questions about the adequacy of U.S. mental health services. Some have argued that the closure of state hospitals is a contributing factor in these murders. In the wake of mass homicides, increasing the number of psychiatric hospital beds appears to be a straightforward response. A recent analysis conducted by the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law examined the relationships between states’ rates of murder by firearms, incarceration, and the availability of psychiatric hospital beds. If expanding the number of psychiatric beds is a meaningful remedy to firearm-related murders, one would expect a clear association between these factors, showing that states with fewer psychiatric hospital beds have higher rates of firearm-related homicides or incarceration. The analysis found that correlations among these factors are strikingly low. The analysis suggests that to the extent that unaddressed needs of people with serious mental illness contribute to the nation’s homicide rate, the public policy answers lie not in increasing the number of psychiatric hospital beds, but elsewhere. The six-page analysis, which includes breakdowns of findings by state, is available on the Bazelon Center’s Web site at www.bazelon.org.