Unless you're a special kind of asshole, we can all agree that mentally unstable people should not be able to buy a firearm. We’ve heard it a million times… “That guy (meaning the piece of shit that doesn’t deserve to be named or remembered here or anywhere else) should never have been able to get his hands on a gun and take it into an elementary school. He should have been in an institution somewhere. Why the Hell would his mom have guns in the house if she knew he was fucked up?” These are all great yet deceptively simple points.
For the sake of argument, let’s assume that no mother, gun owner or not, wants to believe, or even entertain the idea that her son will become a baby-murdering fuck stick. It’s easy in hindsight to say she shouldn’t have had guns in the home, but what the Hell do we know, really, about their lives before the shooting?
Every time a mass shooting occurs, the general public cries out for gun control reform. They want to know why we don't restrict access to firearms to people with mental illnesses. The truth is, we already have a law restricting gun sales to people that have been adjudicated mentally defective. These aren’t people that lost their shit and spent a few weeks in an acute ward while their Prozac was adjusted.
These are people that have been judged incompetent to handle their own affairs through the courts, or as is increasingly more common, the Veteran’s Administration. Every state has different criteria for having an adult committed against their will, but the common theme seems to be the person has to be considered dangerous to themselves or others. Most states include the language “imminent danger”. So, basically, if you’re already standing in a room full of people brandishing a weapon, you’re considered a danger and can be committed.
The problem lies in the fact that we can’t just go revoking the civil rights of people based on a belief that they could possibly become dangerous, someday. Most people suffering from mental illnesses do not become dangerous to other people, at least not on the scale we’re discussing here.
So while everyone calls for reform concerning mental health care, few people seem to realize the extent of the complications associated with imposing further mental health regulations concerning firearms. First of all, any sort of expansion relies on states providing the federal government with accurate and current information and we all know how good states are with that...
And then of course, where do we draw the line when deciding that people with mental illnesses are going to become dangerous? Do we put everyone that has been treated for certain illnesses on a list somewhere? And if so, where would we draw the line? Should we put anyone with severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia or psychosis on a list? Who decides what is severe, and when would it stop?
Would the list expand to include any diagnosis, such as depression, anxiety or even ADD? And, of course, we have to consider the amount of people that would not get the help they need for fear of being placed on some federal list somewhere.
So, essentially, while we can all agree that people with severe mental illnesses should not be able to easily access weapons, there is simply no way to ensure they won't without severely violating the civil rights of a huge percentage of American public.