Mental illness and gun control

Mental illness and gun control

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Firearms for sale at a Houston gun show. (Via Wikipedia)
Firearms for sale at a Houston gun show. / Via Wikipedia

MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, MD, July 15, 2014 – The National Institutes of Health estimates that over ¼ of persons 18 years and older in the US suffer from some type of mental health disorder. The World Health Organization indicates that this is the highest percentage in the world. Even though the statistics may be somewhat biased because mental health issues are likely reported more frequently in the United States than elsewhere, it is still an alarming number.

The issue becomes even more concerning when you combine the mental health problem with the wide availability of fire arms. There are currently about 270 million firearms in the United States, and they are relatively easy to acquire.

The NRA and the irrational cult of fire arms in our country has contributed to not allowing background checks to be implemented for people wanting to purchase fire arms.

In some regions in the US, any type of control or limitation on the right of citizens to purchase, possess and use fire arms means political suicide for any politician. While many of the rights addressed in our Constitution have been interpreted and made more current, the Second Amendment seems to have reverted to frontier days. Some states have greatly liberalized their gun control laws to allow the open bearing of fire arms and even their use when the bearer “feels threatened”.

For the last couple of years, mass murders attributed to a person with some type of mental illness have become too common. We all listen and move on to less “ho-hum” news. News about the latest i-phone delayed release generally rates more time in the news than the latest mass shooting. While this is alarming, the fact that our government doesn’t appear to be concerned to find some type of solution is even more dismaying.

The analogy of the requirement for people to own and use a motor vehicle and a fire arm has been repeated by many, but it is less and less impacting to the public. Especially to those that don’t want any limitations on fire arm ownership.

Most logical thinkers believed after the massacre at Sandy Hook that courageous politicians would address the gun control debacle. They also had thought the same after Virginia Tech., Columbine, and the other 70 mass shootings in the last three decades. These shooting were perpetrated mostly by people that obtained their fire arms legally. Obviously under very lenient requirements.

Returning to the motor vehicle analogy, doesn’t it make sense to have a sight test to get a license? Proper eye sight is required to drive a vehicle.

Doesn’t it make sense to require a background check on whether a prospective owner of a fire arm to reveal if he is not suffering from a mental disease?

If a person is required to have insurance to drive a motor vehicle, doesn’t it make sense to require insurance coverage for gun owners?

Are there driver’s licenses “shows” where one can get a driver’s license without any requirements, only by paying a fee? If not, why are there gun shows where people can get fire arms by just paying its price?

Maybe we are all affected by mental disease when we don’t see how illogical the legal status of fire arms ownership is in our country today. No wonder foreigners just shake their heads when they read about mass shootings in the US and the fact that we don’t have the political will to do anything about it.

Read my article about how we can establish a rational gun control system in the US.

Mario Salazar, the 21st Century Pacifist, continues to tilt at the gun control windmill. He is available in Twitter (@chibcharus), Google+ and FaceBook (Mario Salazar).


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