Eliminating guns that look scary or limiting the capacity of magazines has not, does not and will never decrease gun violence. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has been working tirelessly to ensure that mental health screening be part of whatever legislation that may emanate from the Senate. In the last string of active shooter mass killings, the perpetrators were all young males with documented mental health issues. Though one must worry about potential abuses of any rules associated with controlling access to guns for those who have documented mental illnesses, one must wonder how things might have turned out had the young men who killed so many in Arizona, Colorado and Connecticut been referred to professional help and had been denied access to guns. Perhaps they may have gotten them anyway, but observation and intervention would have seemed prudent in any event.
Another frightening aspect of these last three shootings is that each of the young men were attending school and had been identified as having mental problems. Each case, unique as it might be, point to significant issues associated with self-reliance and self-defense. When people have been identified as being a potential danger to themselves and others, then we have a societal obligation to protect ourselves and each other while working to ensure that we protect the rights of those who are troubled. This “balance” is a challenge in a free society, but it is a balance that must be established and maintained.
Any one of us could find ourselves or our loved ones on either side of these circumstances. Careful, introspection ought to lead us to outcomes that will endure and still comport with our Constitution.