- Posted January 9, 2013 by
San Diego, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Gun control debate: Background checks
Keep Guns Away from Crazy People
When pondering who should have guns, it is easier to answer who should NOT have guns: anyone who is crazy. By crazy, I mean anyone who has been identified as being prone to violent outbursts and/or psychosis through a mental health evaluation. This is a problematic definition because it is not easy to identify these people and requires their seeking mental health assistance/treatment. While it’s not easy, it is certainly not impossible. At least three of last year’s mass murderers were people under psychiatric or psychological care at the time of their crime.
Mental illness and healthcare often appear in the background when discussing a tragic mass murder like the shooting that took place in Newtown, CT. It’s a valid conversation that should be had, but why not also improve gun control? Why not limit and control the weapons available to people with a predisposition for violent behavior by increasing the requirements for guns?
Anything can become a weapon, but few weapons are as precise as a gun. Guns are the most efficient way to kill rapists, thieves, mass murderers, ninjas, pterodactyls, zombies or whatever else you’re afraid of. The efficiency, precision and lethality of guns are exactly why they need to be kept out of the hands of crazy people. This can be accomplished through the implementation of specific gun control measures.
I don’t understand the need to have certain weapons, the desire to keep them loaded and unsecured at all times or the desire to not register these weapons once you have them. Despite not understanding these desires, I’m willing to concede to them if we change two things:
· Require background checks for all firearm sales
· Include all disqualifying mental health records in all background checks and enforce the submission of mental health information to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)
Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho was able to purchase firearms from two licensed dealers after background checks despite being declared a danger to himself or others. The loophole lied in Cho’s outpatient status which, at the time, was not required to be reported to NCIS. If all disqualifying mental health records were submitted, Cho would have not been able to legally purchase the weapons used in the Virginia Tech shooting. Additionally, residing with or being in frequent contact with someone suffering from mental health issues should be grounds for disqualification of gun purchases.
Every time a tragic event occurs, people get spun up on what will and won’t work. Every proposed theory or idea brings with it evidence that it will succeed or fail to some degree. A search for the perfect solution is a futile effort. Keeping things as they are and expecting a different outcome is also futile. The gun control measures I proposed above are certainly not perfect, but they are a good start. We need to be willing to try various approaches and modify as necessary. I hope we all share the collective goal of creating a safe society with equal rights for all. That safe society begins with ensuring that guns never fall into the hands of crazy people.