Friday, March 08, 2013

The one thing Cuomo and gun advocates agree on

North Country Public Radio had an interesting piece on how mental health advocates are protesting some provisions of New York's controversial gun control law.

By rights, the concept of banning the 'mentally ill' (whatever that means) should provide a great argument for gun advocates to add to their lawsuit against the gun law. After all, the sainted 2nd Amendment doesn't include an exception for them.

If nothing else, the law bans gun ownership for that group without due process, without even defining what 'mentally ill' means or a legal process for deeming people such, merely because some random psychiatrist deems them to be 'dangerous.' This alone should force at least part of the law they hate so much to be struck down.

The right to due process is also in the Constitution. Any other withdrawal of civic rights requires some sort of legal process. We see how fail-safe this lack of checks and balances has proven with the no-fly list.

Instead, the many gun advocates have chosen to make the 'mentally ill' a scapegoat so they don't have to be the scapegoat anymore. Since the law doesn't define mentally ill or any legal process for determining it, can a shrink decree you 'mentally ill' and 'dangerous' simply because you own a lot of guns? Gun advocates should be careful about this scapegoating because it may well backfire.

So we're left with the grotesquely hypocritical situation of many of gun advocates denouncing the idea of a government registry of gun owners while they are supporting a government registry of the 'mentally ill.'

Apparently, their contention is that gun ownership isn't a crime but being 'mentally ill' is.

Update: Most gun owners I know say that the mentally ill should not be allowed to own guns. Let's assume for a second that such a situation factors in a proper definition and due process. Here's a rhetorical question. Statistically, the mentally ill are far more likely to be VICTIMS of crime than perpetrators. So if guns are a deterrent, don't they need guns MORE than the population as a whole? Why should gun owners tell them to 'just rely on law enforcement' in a way they'd totally reject for everyone else?


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