“Crazy people shouldn’t have guns! Do you believe that they should?!”
In addition to authoritarians and others who hate or misunderstand firearms, many others often ask this question. I’ve heard it from conservatives and gun owners who genuinely believe that the local or federal government should prohibit mentally incompetent people from obtaining firearms. This is a reasonable concern, and if you told me that people who are mentally insane should not possess firearms, I would completely agree with you. What’s my issue, then?
Who’s in charge?
As we often mention, although a certain behavior may be healthy (exercising) or unhealthy (drinking soda), we should not allow the government to mandate how people exercise and what we eat and drink. Firstly, the government has proven that they are incompetent in regards to exercise and nutrition. Secondly, each new politician to hold office might have totally unique perspectives on which behaviors are healthy. Similarly, ‘mental illness’ has become massively broad and extremely variable. To provide a simple example, many conservatives consider LGBT people to be mentally ill. Many progressive socialists consider capitalists and religious people to be mentally ill. If you thought that discrimination was currently an issue, imagine if one president allowed everyone to have firearms besides for the LGBT community and then the president after that one only allowed socialists to have firearms. Under a conservative government, global warming alarmists might be deemed ‘mentally ill’. Under a progressive president, Christians might be deemed ‘mentally ill’. Talk about fueling the political divide in the US!
What constitutes ‘mental illness’?
As politicians broaden the restrictions that prevent the mentally ill from obtaining firearms, massive factions (millions) of Americans would unfairly lose their natural rights to self-defense and their natural property rights. Currently, over half of the people in the US suffer from at least one form of mental illness, according to the US Government Center for Disease Control. Over 40 million adults in the US (over 18%) currently suffer from anxiety – which is considered a mental illness according to the CDC. The DSM (the standard for psychiatric diagnoses) currently lists 297 disorders. The WHO considers people to have a mental disorder if they exhibit behavior as benign as playing video games on a regular basis. If you’re a military veteran with PTSD, depression, or any other mental illness, you should expect to lose your right to possess weapons if the progressive politicians have their way.
President Obama used the Social Security Administration to prohibit the elderly from possessing firearms by disqualifying every American who ever required help from another person when filing for social security. The anti-gun regulation claimed that those who are so old and demented that they need help to reclaim their social security benefits (read: the money that was stolen from them by the federal government throughout their lives) are clearly mentally unfit to possess firearms. President Trump repealed that law immediately upon taking office – which caused the anti-gun left to lose their minds.
If the government is granted increased power to prevent people who they consider ‘mentally ill’ from exercising their natural rights, over half of the adults in the US would instantly lose their right to protect themselves with firearms.
Mental illness is very often a subjective determination. Donald Trump, the president of the United States is considered by millions of Americans (possibly the majority) to be mentally incompetent. Yet, he legally controls the entire US military, nuclear codes and all. Congressional leaders like Maxine Waters are considered by many to have a mental deficiency, and a DC pharmacist has reportedly filled prescriptions for dementia medications for multiple members of Congress.
Additionally, nearly every member of Congress rejects the notion that people are free and they regularly violate the natural individual rights to property and self-defense (I believe that 100% of the members of Congress support taxes and gun laws). Anyone who rejects property rights is mentally incompetent, in my opinion.
If anyone ought to be deemed mentally unfit to possess weapons/control the US military, it’s the crazy politicians, not innocent people who are prescribed Zoloft or Ativan.
Not the first wide net
Prohibiting every person with any ‘mental illness’ from possessing a firearm is not the first wide-net approach that authoritarian politicians have proposed. Currently, every single person in the US who purchases a firearm from a store must fill out form 4473, which is the federal NICS background check. One of the questions on the form reads:
“Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?”
How many substances does the federal government recognize as a ‘controlled substance’? How many substances could you count on this 16-page list, in which each page lists over 20 substances? (20 x 16 is like 320, isn’t it?) Many of these substances are as benign as Ambien (helps people sleep), Lyrica (treats nerve pain), and testosterone (a naturally occurring predominantly male sex hormone). If you are one of the millions of Americans who takes one of these medications every day, it would seemingly be very easy for a judge – who works for the government – to rule that you are technically addicted to it. This would result in you losing your right to possess firearms. Currently, this law does not seem to be enforced often, but if the federal government decided to crack down on this, millions of Americans would immediately lose their right to possess firearms.
Utilizing doctors for gun control
The efforts by the anti-gun left to encourage doctors to ask and advise patients about gun control have been well documented. Over the past few decades, authoritarian politicians and doctors have conspired to subtly inject gun control into medicine. In this brilliant scheme, it became standard practice for doctors to ask patients whether they have any firearms in the home (under the guise of ‘asking about any potential dangers that could harm patients or their children – like pools and trampolines’). Keep in mind that once your doctor knows that you have firearms and that you have depression, the next step is obvious and seamless – your guns are removed by law enforcement. And the increasingly popular ‘red-flag laws’ make this confiscation even easier for politicians and police. Furthermore, the associations that control what is considered the ‘standard of care’ have instructed doctors to explicitly tell their patients that they ought to remove all firearms from their home.
Could people lie to their doctors when asked whether they own firearms? Currently, any American is free to lie to any other American – as long as you don’t lie to anyone who works for the federal government. Could this be another reason why the authoritarian left is so eager to give the federal government control over every aspect of medicine?
It is worth noting that the NICS background check form 4473 (the background check that every American who purchases a firearm must pass) currently includes the question:
“Have you ever been adjudicated as a mental defective or have you ever been committed to a mental institution?”
Answering ‘yes’ automatically disqualifies the potential buyer.
Authoritarian politicians aren’t satisfied with this form. They want to disqualify as many Americans as possible from possessing firearms. They wish that the above question could include “…or have you ever been diagnosed or have you ever suffered from depression, anxiety, OCD, ADHD, PTSD, or any other mental disorder?”
What’s the solution?
Now that we’ve established that giving the government the power to declare who is mentally fit enough to protect themselves is a horrible idea, how do we prevent those who are truly psychotic from obtaining firearms?
It is not possible to totally prevent any population from obtaining any item (see: war on drugs). However, stores are extremely unlikely to sell a firearm to a person who seems psychotic. Regardless of how much businesses do want to make a profit, they dread the PR nightmare that would ensue if a psychotic person was to use a firearm bought from their store to commit a crime. As for the private sales, people generally sell only to their friends or family. People naturally do everything they can to avoid empowering a psychotic person to commit violent crimes.
Being that the government is comprised of the most evil and untrustworthy humans to ever walk the planet, they should be the very last entity that society turns to when searching for a solution to ‘gun violence’. We must keep in mind that every power that the government wields could be used for (what each individual would perceive as) evil just like it could be used for good. If you truly want to reduce firearm-related injuries, become a firearm safety instructor. If you see mental illness as the primary issue, volunteer to help the mentally ill or study to become a therapist or psychiatrist. If you worry about people with depression or autism being ostracized, try to befriend the next person you see struggling. Be the change you want to see in the world. Don’t vote for politicians who will use men with guns to change the world by enforcing your opinions on others.