Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013 7:17:24 PM
As a youth, I recall my Mother attending community college and writing a paper on gun control. I do not recall what she wrote in that paper but I do recall thinking that guns were never something I wanted in my own home.
As an adult and parent of three children, my view has not changed much.
What has changed is my view on who should have the right to legally own guns and the laws that govern gun ownership in our country.
Newtown, despite its sadness, has helped raise some very valid questions about the laws that regulate gun ownership, one of them being medical disclosure of mentally unstable individuals that apply for gun license or purchase guns.
I do not believe guns should be fully banned. I do think that better control of the licensing procedure will reduce the number of guns that land in the hands of people that are not mentally stable and run the risk of causing harm to others with those guns.
Currently, the law does not require the medical community to register any individual that has undergone medical treatment for personality disorders such as bi-polar or schizophrenia. This type of personality disorder causes the patient to make irrational decisions that can be both dangerous for themselves and others. At the same time, the licensing procedure for individuals to carry a gun does not look into the medical background as it is considered confidential.
Based on this standard, an individual that is on any type of antipsychotic drug to help relieve symptoms of personality disorders is not required to release this information to the licensing agency.
Historically, individuals responsible for larger mass gun incidents (IE Aurora) have not been required to register their illness. At the same time, there is no registry system that also holds individuals accountable for their guns if they share residence with an individual that takes these antipsychotics.
I agree that it is every Americans right to own a gun. However, all too often the constitutional right to own guns supersedes the safety factor of gun ownership. We need to balance this constitutional right with the rights of others to be safe. In my eyes, it is a fifty-fifty give and take.
Opening up some type of registry for the medical community will aid in allowing the licensing agency to see who is considered clinically unstable by medical standards. This will make it easier to regulate the number of potential gun owners that are at risk of misuse of a gun. This registry needs to extend to complete households; much like a census includes everyone in a residence and covers such information as family history of mental illness.
This type of registry may not prevent 100% of all future gun incidences but it will significantly reduce the number of guns that are falling into the hands of individuals that are not mentally stable.