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Gun Control Debate Leading to Discussion of Mental Illness

January 21, 2013
Plain English Version

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution gives citizens the right to own guns.

Used legally – for target practice and hunting – guns are not a threat to society. People who use them to commit crimes are punished by criminal law.

The biggest challenge to the nation is to make sure mentally ill people do not obtain guns.

As stated by one observer, “Our legal system is designed to punish and isolate those who commit harmful actions, not unstable people who have yet to act.”

President’s Obama’s new gun control rules call for research into the reasons behind gun violence. The studies will ask questions such as: Who gets shot? What are the causes? What are the risk (of becoming violent) factors? What works to prevent gun deaths and injuries?

The NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) program is designed to keep guns out of the wrong hands by reporting people buying guns or getting gun permits. The problem is the program relies on the states for information.  Most of the states are not following the law.

There are proposals for more training of mental-health professionals. And for more aid for young people facing mental-health, drug abuse and anxiety issues.

Guns are the means by which so many people die. Mentally unstable people using guns are often the shooters.

Mentally unstable people live among us. Families, communities, professionals and police will have to use their knowledge. Programs for people who may pose a threat have to begin.

The Washington Post

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