Reasons to be wary of restrictions on gun ownership for the mentally ill

It's not that preventing the criminally insane from owning guns is a bad thing; it's that the definition of "insane" will be watered down, deliberately and with malice forethought, into something that covers as many normal people as possible. The result, if not handled very carefully, will be gun owners reluctant to get treatment for common, treatable mental problems for fear of losing their gun rights -- and that's the way for those common, treatable mental problems to become dangerous.

Personally, I think that the problem isn't with the legal standard, but with the fact that states don't report or prosecute when needed. Alexis had multiple interactions with the police concerning his violent gun crimes over almost a decade before he finally shot actual people, including at least one case where he was complaining about hearing voices and people mysteriously following him. That's classic paranoid ideation and should have been a red flag, especially combined with his previous violent incidents.

If we are reluctant to institutionalize our mentally ill -- something that it is understandable to be reluctant about, for the cases that aren't dangerous -- then we need to get better at identifying the ones who are dangerous when they first start to put off danger signals. Alphecca has similar thoughts, including the important question of how do you get off the list once you get better?

This entry was published Mon Sep 23 06:06:10 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2013-09-23 06:06:10.0. [Tweet]

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