In the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, elected officials nationwide — and even the National Rifle Association — focused on the link between mental health and gun violence. Though there's good reason to imagine that mental illness played a role in the Sandy Hook shooting and some other mass shootings, it is not, overall, a major driver of the homicide rate. It is, however, perhaps the most significant factor in the gun death rate. The reason is that suicides by firearm far outnumber gun homicides — 19,392 to 11,078 in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Breaking the link between mental illness, gun access and suicide could go a long way toward improving Maryland's standing.