So, we don’t have a gun problem in this country. Instead, we have a mental health problem where folks who suffer from mental health issues snap and manifest their issues by shooting up your local: food store; movie theater; house of worship; school (elementary, high school, public, private, university); shopping center; or workplace. Or wherever those who are wanting to make their mark choose to unload their magazines.
Let’s look at mental health and see how this could be used as a factor in limiting access to guns, thereby reducing the toll of mass shootings. In order to be effective, there must be some sort of test a prospective purchaser of a gun must go through. That test would provide an objective answer as to who should be forbidden from purchasing a firearm. And of course, this would imply that every purchase of a gun is considered, thus closing any loopholes on purchases made outside of a retail establishment that sells firearms. In one fell swoop, those on the right have just made the case for universal background checks as a prerequisite for gun purchase.
Ah, but for many folks who have committed mass murder, they have no interaction with the mental health system. Literally the first time they exhibit clinical signs of a mental illness, is when they make the decision to pull the trigger on a crowd of people. Perhaps they would have shown evidence of anti-social leanings by looking at on-line postings. So Republicans seem to be advocating for some sort of screening of all social media postings, with the aim of preventing those who show anti-social leanings from acquiring more weaponry. Just like that, the right is arguing about the virtues of big brother monitoring the public space, and making determinations about what is protected speech vs. what provides evidence of mental illness. Amazing how arguing against controlling gun purchases actually leads towards imposition of massive state control.
Of course, if you have a system for detecting those who would have a propensity towards shooting up a public space, you must have some system in place to treat those who fail the tests of mental stability. Maybe we could re-open those state mental facilities that were closed down over the last several decades. That certainly was a preventive way to keep the looney population away from the rest of us. I don’t know how this approach squares with the actions of red state governors, who have slashed spending for mental health recently. I’m sure those governors will be happy to dedicate tax funding for such a worthy cause in the future, once it becomes part of a comprehensive approach towards minimizing gun violence.
What I just don’t know is how this sort of intrusive clearance process will be accepted by those who only focus on the portion of the second amendment which mentions a lack of infringement on the right to bear arms. That first part about well-regulated militia? Must be just a lot of gobbledy-gook words we can ignore. No, a true patriot just will not accept this sort of clearance process interfering with the rights of citizens from procuring the most modern machines for causing death and grievous injury. Why, those who would propose such limits would make themselves targets for the next round of action from the liberated souls who have purchased their manhood tickets these past years.
What, you mean to tell me it’s all been a ruse? Politicians on the right are just mouthing platitudes about mental health in order to prevent having to take real action about controlling purchases of weapons? I’m shocked, shocked to see such hypocrisy in our elected representatives. You might think they are afraid of their voters, and the hordes of mass shooters they’ve unleashed in their quest to ensure everyone in this nation is armed to the teeth. Who’d have thunk it!