Skip to Content

Mental illness and the second amendment.

 by Jamie Campbell

The second amendment says, “A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”

It says absolutely nothing about the mental state of those owning those weapons.

I have been struggling. Not in the typical “I am having problems with the world” sense, but in the I cannot write sense.

I thought I was going to be able to write about something light, you like the current healthcare issues facing the uninsured. Maybe even about the defunding of the food stamp program, adding millions of children to the roster of those who are underfed due to no fault on their own. I thought I could write “light” this time around and talk about the fact that we as a people are arguing again about going to war. Whether for noble reasons or not, we are talking about going to war or falling into the isolationist rhetoric of this is not happening in the United States, so why should I care?

Nope, I could not touch any of those topics. I think the main reason why I have been unable to write is because I did not want to speak what is on the forefront of my thoughts.

Mental illness and the second amendment.

For those unfamiliar with the second, it states:

“A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”

It says absolutely nothing about the mental state of those owning those weapons. I think it is because the authors of the constitution never thought that people who had some type of mental issue would be given a tool that could gravely injure or end someone’s life. We as a people used to police each, take care of one another. Not protect someone’s right to bear arms who is mentally unbalanced only because of the fear that you could lose your rights to own a gun.

In the wake of the past events not only in DC, Newtown, and Aurora, it would seem like the correct thing to do would be to reevaluate what the right to bear arms means. And please do not confuse the issue with that of the problems in Chicago. While the violence has the same medium involved, there is a difference in how the weapons become a part of the discussion.

Or maybe there is not.

If there were mandatory waiting periods on a national level may be some of the guns involved every summer in the homicides in Chicago would be reduced. While a criminal act is going to occur whether waiting period are involved or not, what could be the harm in waiting a few days for something that could change lives forever. What be the harm in submitting to a background check that inquires about mental illness? A doctor could be seen to have the final say on whether or not a person could handle the responsibility of owning a gun. Some people think that by having a criminal background check on guns violence will stop. The problem is the last few acts of violence have been carried out with legally obtained weapons, and in both cases doctors had shown concerns about the mental state of both men who perpetrated those vicious crimes. A background check, in my opinion could have, should have saved lives in both of these cases.

Think about this for a second, we go through more security to board a plane than we do to purchase a tool that can take a life.

I am the last person to tell anyone what to measures they should take to defend themselves and their family. However, I think we all need to examine what constitutes a right and what is a privilege. The last time I checked, militias were formed to protect people from foreign forces not just because the government in place is not in line with your current beliefs. Calling for a reexamination of gun ownership rules and regulations is something we need now, or we will be talking about another tragedy involving mental illness and gun violence.

 

 

Share this