"Mentally Ill" = Dangerous?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
"Mentally Ill" = Dangerous?
Thu, 04-11-2013 - 9:08pm

According to a Wednesday release from Manchin's office, the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act is designed to prevent convicted criminals and mentally ill individuals from obtaining guns, while maintaining Americans' constitutional right to bear arms. Existing background checks are also expanded to gun shows and online gun sales, which previously stood as loopholes in the system.

The Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act
Our bill does three major things: 1) expands the existing background check
system to cover commercial sales, including sales at gun shows and internet
sales; 2) strengthens the existing instant check system by encouraging states to
put all their available records into the National Instant Criminal Background
Check System (NICS); 3) establishes a National Commission on Mass
Violence to study in-depth all the causes of mass violence in our country.
1. Leveling the playing field for gun sales:
 Under current law, if you buy a gun at a gun show from a licensed dealer,
you have to undergo a background check by that dealer. But you can go to a
non-dealer table at the gun show, or into the parking lot, and buy a gun
without a background check.
o Our bill ensures that anyone buying a gun at a gun show has to
undergo a background check by a licensed dealer.
 Under current law, if you buy a gun online interstate (from one state to
another), the gun must be shipped to a licensed dealer, you must go to that
dealer and get a background check before you purchase the gun. However,
for intrastate (in the same state) sales, no background check is required and
you can sell the gun to the person without ever meeting face-to-face.
o Our bill requires that the current system for interstate sales be
expanded to cover intrastate sales as well—so all purchasers buying
guns online must undergo a background check by a licensed dealer.
 As under current law, background checks are performed by licensed dealers,
and recordkeeping will not change—dealers will keep the records in bound
books, like they do now. The federal government cannot keep records.
 Our bill explicitly bans the federal government from creating a registry and
creates a new penalty for misusing records to create a registry—a felony
punishable by 15 years in prison.
 As under current law, temporary transfers do not require background checks,
so, for example, you can loan your hunting rifle to your buddy without any
new restrictions or requirements.
 As under current law, transfers between family, friends, and neighbors do
not require background checks. You can give or sell a gun to your brother,
your neighbor, your coworker without a background check. You can post a
gun for sale on the cork bulletin board at your church or your job without a
background check.
 Our bill also fixes problems in current law that unfairly limit the Second
Amendment rights of law abiding gun owners by:
o Allowing interstate handgun sales from licensed dealers. Outdated
current law only allows interstate sales of rifles and shotguns. This will
bring more sales into the background check system.
o Allowing active military to buy firearms in their home states and the state
in which they are stationed. Current law restricts them to purchasing
only from their duty station.
o Allowing dealer-to-dealer sales at gun shows taking place in a state in
which they are not a resident. Currently these sales are only permitted
for dealers from the same state in which the gun show is being held.
o Protecting sellers from lawsuits if the buyer is cleared through the
expanded background checks system and the weapon is subsequently
used in a crime. This is the same treatment gun dealers receive now.
o Authorizing the use of a state concealed carry permit that has been issued
within the last five years in lieu of a background check when purchasing
a firearm from a dealer because background checks are required to
receive conceal carry permits.
2. Getting all the names of prohibited purchasers into the background
check system
 There are serious problems currently with states not putting records into the
NICS system. One tragic example: records on the Virginia Tech shooter
that would have put him on the prohibited purchasers list had not been
entered into the system.
 Our bill encourages states to provide all their available records to NICS by
eliminating unnecessary responsibilities for states and directing future grant
money towards creating systems to send records to NICS. The bill will also
reduce federal funds to states that do not comply.
 Provides additional Second Amendment protections to our veterans.
 Requires that if a background check at a gun show does not result in a
definitive response from NICS within 48 hours, the sale may proceed. After
four years, when the NICS improvements are completed, the background
check would be required to clear in 24 hours. Current law is three business
3. Establishes a National Commission on Mass Violence
 Creates a commission of non-elected experts in their fields who will study
the causes of mass violence in the United States, looking at all aspects of
the problem, including mental health, guns, school safety and portrayals of
violence in the media. This broad approach is absolutely necessary to truly
address our culture of violence.
The bill will not, in any way, shape, or form infringe upon anyone’s Second
Amendment rights to keep and bear arms.
The bill will not take away anyone’s guns.
The bill will not ban any type of firearm.
The bill will not ban or restrict the use of any kind of bullet or any size clip or
The bill will not create a national registry; in fact, it explicitly prohibits it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Thu, 04-11-2013 - 9:26pm


It's a difficult issue for NAMI, which believes disproportionate blame is placed on the mentally ill when mass shootings occur. The alliance points to a 1999 report by the U.S. surgeon general on mental illness that concluded that the overall contribution of mental disorders to the total level of violence in society is "exceptionally small."

"We would ideally like to see the whole issue of violence separated from mental illness," Honberg said. "Are there some people with mental illness who are potentially violent or who are violent? Yes, but it's a small subset of people. The majority aren't, and a lot of policy makers, a lot of commentators, have not been very careful about drawing those distinctions.

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Fri, 04-12-2013 - 2:49am

 It will get worse as the general public has been fed misinformation.  Worse now many will be afraid to see any counselor for fear that their rights will be taken away. 


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012
Fri, 04-12-2013 - 4:14am

Who determines what is, and what is not, "mental illness?"  And once the first psychiatrist gets sued for not diagnosing the next school-shooter, we'll see everyone from a depressed divorcee to a police officer suffering anxiety having their medical records publicized...and then a desert of people NOT getting the counseling they need because it will put them "on the grid."  The unanticipated consiquences are all too predictable, just to sate the left's hatred and fear of guns...the very guns they privately hire to protect themselves.  Fools.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Thu, 04-18-2013 - 10:07pm

I agree. I think the most obvious consequence of discussing legislation to "background check" people's mental health history, it that fewer people will seek mental health treatment. For those who could benefit, that is unfortunate.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Thu, 04-18-2013 - 10:51pm

and then a desert of people NOT getting the counseling they need because it will put them "on the grid."  The unanticipated consiquences are all too predictable,

Sad really given how clear the outcome is, that so few legislators get it. :(

just to sate the left's hatred and fear of guns...Fools.

My stereotypes of the Left and Right may not match yours, or others, but in the matter of guns and mental illness I do not believe that either the Left or the Right has any grip at all about the reality of the situation. The Left thinks that guns are bad and therefore the events at Sandy Hook shoud be a wake up call to limit guns. The right thinks that business/NRA/guns are good and the therefore in order to protect mosts people's right to possess a gun, they are willing to sacrifice the rights of the "mentally ill" to own guns in order to protect gun ownership in general. Neither perspective is even close to accurate.

Here's a snip-it from http://www.browndailyherald.com/2013/04/10/panel-refutes-link-between-mental-illness-and-gun-violence/ :

Violence by those with mental illness is not the real problem - every day violence is the real problem.

Friedman began the panel by pointing out that only 4 percent of gun deaths annually in the United States can be attributed to individuals with mental illnesses ­— far lower than most people think, he said. If America could hypothetically solve the problem of mental health issues leading to violence, “you’re likely to see a reduction in suicides, not homicides,” he said.

Every year in the United States, firearms kill 30,000 people — 17,000 by suicide and 13,000 by homicide, Friedman said. While only a small percentage of the homicides are due to mental health issues, the majority of people who commit suicide have an illness like depression, he said.

Disproportionate media coverage of mass killings “creates distorted perception of the risk” of mental illness in influencing gun violence, Friedman said. Mass killings “represent 0.13 percent of all homicides in the United States,” he said.

IOW, the events at Sandy Hook are only peripherally related to our gun problem. The Right's willingness to throw the mentally ill under the bus, so to speak, will appease the masses, but it will not impact gun violence. The Right wins because business/NRA/gun ownership, in general, will not be adversely impacted if they can limit the "background checking" to people who have a history of mental health treatment. If they were to make any genuine attempt to identify why enormous numbers of Americans shoot each other compared to the rest of the world, then there might be a significant impact on gun ownership and gun violence, in general.

Here's a snip-it from: http://cda.uams.edu/?id=12710&sid=51

Within the past few weeks, two 4-year-old boys have shot and killed themselves while playing with unsecured guns in their homes. One of these, in Texas, was a stolen weapon; the other, in Michigan, was legally owned, and the child was the son of a law enforcement officer. Two young boys were shot to death in Connecticut by their mentally ill grandmother. Here in Arkansas, a 1-year-old girl was shot to death during an apparent domestic assault. 

These are but a few examples of recent gun-related child fatalities. The 2012 mass shooting in Newtown was an unfathomable horror that provoked deep emotions and a renewed national conversation about U.S. gun violence. However, victims of mass shootings represent a tiny fraction of the more than 30,000 Americans killed by guns each year, and the discussion must move beyond mass shootings to the larger question of how to reduce firearm-related morbidity and mortality.

The Left wins because they can use the deep emotions provoked by Sandy Hook to gain traction in their war against the every day violence, even though mass shootings are not representative of violence, in general.

Both the liberals and the conservatives are using Sandy Hook for political gain. Neither's ideology incorporates the reality of the tragedy and neither's policy will have a lasting, positive impact on the prevention of mass murders in the future or our treatment of the mentally ill.