First, the quote of the day, an explanation to follow:
President Obama has renewed his commitment to keeping guns out of "the hands of the mentally ill." See the story in Bloomberg here.
In my world, I'd like to keep guns away from most people, but no one asked my opinion. I realize there was a reason for the Second Amendment and that no one is going to go along with a repeal of the right to bear arms, so instead of designating people as targets for legislation based on having received medical treatment for psychiatric disorders, I'd like to talk about who is not safe with a gun. I'm more interested in behaviors than labels.
Who shouldn't be allowed to own guns:
People who are violent, impulsive, and who exhibit poor judgement. I may be alone in this belief.
~Anyone found guilty of a violent crime, even one that is minor in nature -- a bar fight, an assault. Why? Because it shows someone is capable of violence on a level that comes to the attention of authorities.
~Anyone with a history of a suicide attempt that is lethal enough to require a medical admission.
Most firearms deaths are suicides not homicides. Even if the admission is for an overdose, someone who is a proven danger to themselves should not have a gun.
~People with substance abuse problems -- intoxication leads to impulsive acts and leads people to do things they wouldn't otherwise do. Obviously, everyone who has a few too many isn't dangerous, but our state law prohibits "habitual drunkards" from owning guns. While people are reported to the NCIS database to prevent gun ownership if they've been hospitalized on a psychiatric unit for 30 days, you can go into rehab repeatedly without being reported.
~People who are committed to a psychiatric unit for being dangerous. I don't mean everyone who is admitted against their will, but if it goes to a hearing and a person is found to both have a mental illness and to be dangerous and is unwilling to get treatment, then the court proceeding should include the loss of a right to own a weapon. (This may make me unpopular, but it seems a reasonable level for safety).
~People who reside with anyone in the above categories. If you can't own a gun, what difference does that make if your sister leaves hers lying around.
~Anyone with any firearms misconduct at all. Period. If you're not able to be responsible with a weapon, you shouldn't own one. Which brings me to the quote of the day above. It was made by Representative Leslie Combs, a state legislator in Kentucky after she accidentally discharged her legal gun in her office in the state's capital annex building today. Apparently there are no charges being filed because it was an accident and no one was hurt, but really....if you fire a gun in a state capital even once, isn't that grounds to say someone might not be safe with a firearm? If it were not a lawmaker, would this be tolerated?
"I'm a gun owner. It happens." Really? I'm astounded.