Gun Control Legislation That Would Help
The thread is mental health, not gun ownership.
The common thread uniting and tying together the mass shooters we have faced in recent history is emotional/mental instability. Mental and emotional instability are conditions that can be professionally identified and also professionally treated. The treatment is considered private and privileged information, meaning that a local psychiatrist or the like is not obligated to reveal their patient’s list to law enforcement.
James Holmes is reported to have had some sit-down sessions with psychiatrists, 3 of them, before his rampage in Aurora. Adam Lanza was diagnosed with Aspergers, an emotional disability within the Autism spectrum. Jared Loughner, after his horrific shooting spree, was apprehended and diagnosed as having schizophrenia.
The thread that units these particular three? Intellectual/emotional disabilities.
So here’s my proposal for Congress: Let’s just stop pretending that there should be a patient/doctor privilege when dealing with any peoples being diagnosed with any emotional/mental disabilities. Just knock it off. It has been shown, without a doubt, that such individuals are a very real threat to public safety. Their privacy is not the issue here. Pubic safety is. The needs of the few can never outweigh the needs of the many.
Now then, before anyone decries this and feels I am being harsh and cruel, consider that while you cannot prohibit law-abiding sane people from buying weapons, you damn sure can flag individuals with criminal records and record of having been diagnosed with mental deficiencies who might also be on prescription psychotropic drugs. That information should be presented to local law enforcement agencies for the protection of the local communities they represent. Period.
Let us deal with these individuals who need mental health expertise as best as we can, helping them as much as possible. But we also need to flag them via a national database from ever, EVER, being allowed to legally purchase firearms in our country. I would also have the owners of the residences that these people might happen to reside in, should they have legal firearms, to make that fact known to local law enforcement. I would do this as a safeguard, not as a punishment. Perhaps, as part of the State’s help to these individuals through mental health, a financial concession could be made to assist the home owners in purchasing a proper gun safe for their firearms. I’m just thinking out loud on that one.
Listen, we all know that guns are not the issue here, but it is the mental health of these madmen and animals that is. No more patient/doctor privilege. Will it bring a certain amount of stigmatization? Probably. Maybe. Who can say? But someone’s hurt feelings is an easy price to pay for the safety of innocents.
Legislate this now. No more privileged information between patient and doctor. We want to know who is being prescribed pyschotropic drugs. We want o know who is dealing with schizophrenia. We want to know and we need to know. We no longer have the luxury of touchy-feely sensitive rainbow and unicorn feelings. No longer.
Is this a fool-proof or air-tight solution? No. But I believe it is a reasonable start.
That is all.
I am working through this right now, intellectually, seeking all the different ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’. This is merely a rough draft, so to speak. Your comments and ideas would be appreciated.