Guns, the Mentally Ill & the Second Amendment

Dude, Boarder,


Much discussion and debate has re-arisen from the fallout of the Virgina Tech Massacre. As with all things, it’s more hip to discuss and debate than not. One thing that’s stuck out in these debates, however, is the ubiquity of ‘gun control’ and it’s converse ‘anti-gun control’ fanatics coming out of the woodwork.

The seeming corollary to this particular case, and seemingly just as ubiquitous, is the issue of ‘mentally ill’ and guns (‘kinda sounds like a Hollywood comedy).

As you mentioned, Seung-Hui Cho was deemed mentally ill in 2005 – two years ago. Who are we to either assume or judge that someone deemed ‘mentally ill’ hasn’t recovered, reformed, or resolved their ‘mental’ ailments in two years? The only people qualified are the shrinks who, by law, posses a right and responsibility to alert authorities of imminent danger.

Cho was asked ‘Have you ever been adjudicated mentally defective or … committed to a mental institution?’, and said ‘no.’ He got his guns. But think about that question and try to put yourself in the position of someone who was deemed ‘mentally ill’ at one point or another. Now ask yourself, who in there life doesn’t have at least some minor phase where they’re ‘technically’ considered mentally ill?

Probably no one, most people either cope or it otherwise doesn’t get noticed. Say, for arguments sake, you’ve just gone through a particularly low point, e.g. your brother or father just died, have been depressed (even, maybe, hints of a could-possibly-be-thoughts-of-suicide), and you, for good reason, seek solution to your psyche. You’re completely honest with your counselor and even mention to her the could-possibly-be-thoughts-of-suicide. Now, even though you get over your ‘clinical depression’ and could-possibly-be-thoughts-of-suicide after a couple-a-few months, should you never ever be able to purchase a firearm because you experienced what most people experience during times of grief? You’re even on ‘the record.’

Though I agree we should question the true cost of the Second Amendment, and even more vigorously question it’s interpretation, mental soundness makes the issue more problematic. I’m not saying, by any means, that anyone and everyone should be able to purchase a firearm at will. But who in their right mind would have answered ‘yes’ to the ATF’s question?

A bigger right, responsibility and burden, is that the ATF cannot query mine or your medical records to find out if we answered correctly. What, however, would be sacrificed, if this were changed?

Seung-Hui Cho, hellbent on massacre, would have found fire-arms one way or another, and possibly easier if he purchased them from the black market (no Brady bill nor wait & all). Locking up or stripping rights from the ‘mentally ill’ seems like putting a band-aid on a compound femur fracture, and re-interpreting the Second Amendment seems more problematic. There is, however, a long standing law that says ‘don’t kill people,’ which doesn’t care about the Second Amendment, it just cares if you kill someone or not, regardless of means.

Yes we paid a terrible price for our freedoms; we paid a terrible terrible price. But what would be the cost of revoking our freedoms, having more rights and responsibilities revoked, liberating liberty?