Can We Keep Guns Out of the Hands of the Mentally Ill?

 

 

 

 

” Glenn Reynolds points us to this thoughtful post by The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg that takes up the sensitive issue of the mentally ill and their access to guns:

We must find a way to make it more difficult for the non-adjudicated mentally ill to come into possession of weapons. This is crucially important, but very difficult, because it would require the cooperation of the medical community — of psychiatrists, therapists, school counselors and the like — and the privacy issues (among other issues) are enormous. But: It has to be made more difficult for sociopaths, psychopaths and the otherwise violently mentally-ill (who, in total, make up a small portion of the mentally ill population) to buy weapons.

One can immediately see the problems. There are privacy issues to consider, as well as trying to define “mentally ill.” John Grohol explains:

I don’t believe Obama was talking about anyone who’s ever had a mental disorder diagnosis — that would include over 25 percent of the population.

I think he meant to say those who fall under the Gun Control Act of 1968 — specifically people who have been involuntarily committed, found by a court to be incompetent or dangerous, or those who’ve already committed a crime but were found not guilty by reason of insanity.

According to Gostin & Record (2011), recent Supreme Court rulings generally push states to “regulate dangerous persons rather than dangerous firearms” but that existing gun restrictions pertaining to individuals with mental illnesses are ineffective.”

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