The first thing that struck me about this article is, how do we know if someone is mentally ill? In the case of the shooter of Gabrielle Giffords, he was told by his school he could return only if he obtained “a mental health clearance indicating, in the opinion of a mental health professional, his presence at the College does not present a danger to himself or others.” A letter in support or opposed to his returning to school could cite a mental health diagnosis or not. It does not sound like it is necessary for him to have diagnosis to be a danger to himself or others. The diagnosis would help with medication, court procedure and perhaps insurance payments. Can we rely on diagnoses? Can we rely on mental health professionals’ assessments? Should someone’s mental health status be publicly recorded so that when someone attempts to buy a gun the seller will have access to it? Even if they don’t have access to it and it simply flags the person as someone who cannot buy a gun now people will know that this person either has a criminal record or a mental illness. Shouldn’t our mental states be protected under confidentiality? Oh wait, I think they are…kind of.
I don’t see a winning option here…unless we outlaw gun, which is clearly not an option for many people. I am not advocating either way here, I simply do not think that is the main point. It has been deemed appropriate to discriminate against those with a criminal background and with a mental illness (kind of…where it’s recorded and accessible whether accurate or not) when it comes to guns. Unfortunately we don’t know about all the domestic violence perpetrators out there who should probably be discriminated against as well. It is too difficult to quantify these things. Again I’m not saying we should or should not have stricter gun control, no gun control, or no guns but it would seem no guns might be the best solution.