Overhaul Mental Health Laws Not Gun Laws
On Thursday President Joe Biden spoke to the Nation about his ideas for greater gun control. If taken at face value, the gun control argument is about keeping innocent people safe from "bad guys" with a gun. I don't believe that. Bad guys with guns know the law but don't care and mentally ill people with guns don't know reality much less care about gun laws. So who do gun control laws impact? The answer is you and me - the law abiding citizens exercising our constitutionally guaranteed right.
Clearly we have it backwards in our approach to guns and safety. Let's be honest. We look at the shooting carnage that takes place every week in Chicago and many of our other predominately big cities where thousands of people, including a disproportionate number of minorities, are shot and hundreds die over the course of a year and we seem willing to accept that. (WHY?) But it's the mass shootings of four or more that arouse our national attention and trigger our push for greater gun control.
More often than not, what these mass shooting events seem to have in common is the compromised mental health of the shooter. Almost all turn out to be mentally ill and have shown outward signs of that for some time. It would seem like the right idea would be to overhaul the mental health system rather than our gun laws.
Part of the current conversation revolves around what are known as "Red Flag" laws. These are laws authorizing law enforcement to be able to step in to temporarily confiscate guns from people who some authority has deemed potentially dangerous. Gun rights advocates are very wary of this approach and it's easy to see why. NO TRUST !
Mike Johnson is the CEO of Yakima's Union Gospel Mission and he has seen more than his fair share of people suffering from mental health problems. He is of the opinion that our society has to have the courage to intervene in the kinds of circumstances that would trigger a red flag but do so on behalf of the mental health considerations.
He asks how society can say to someone - you are "sick" enough for us to suspend your constitutional right to bear arms but you aren't sick enough for us to mandate your commitment to a treatment facility?
He made an excellent argument this morning on KIT's Morning News Radio Show.