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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Gun Control with Mental Health

Ok, I don’t have a big problem with guns. I’ve fired a few myself and have had a good time doing so (no one was hurt in the process). I do believe that a weapon in itself is a tool. It’s the person that uses the tool for either good or evil or otherwise. Guns are amoral and have no preference for their particular use. But, the supply of guns and the control of this supply should have limitations. Because people can act in an evil or reckless manner, we can certainly have a problem with an evil or reckless person with a gun. And it’s becoming all too apparent that evil or reckless people can get guns way too easily. I don’t think we have the complete answer for gun control or its administration, but I do think it’s necessary to add a mental health component to the issue. Not that all people with mental illnesses are evil or reckless, that’s not the point. But someone with a mental illness can become dangerous when armed with a firearm. If someone has a history of mental illness, that person should be screened out and prohibited from purchasing a weapon. Of course, the exact definition of mental illness needs to be debated on when creating this standard. Not that the process is foolproof either, it’s not. But it’s one less avenue for someone with a mental illness to purchase a weapon to harm innocent victims. The argument can construed and made out to be harsh towards those with mental illnesses. That is certainly not the intent of the argument. The argument is rather for the protection of the public and the general well-being of the public. The intent is not to be discriminatory, but rather to be protective of innocent lives. The country shouldn’t have to wait for another tragedy or series of deaths to occur in order to make this new control happen. We need an extra blanket of security when someone decides that they need various firearms for their personal use. And a national mental health database that is checked before issuing a purchased weapon should be enacted as soon as possible.

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