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Guns For the Mentally Ill?

In the United States, those with mental illnesses severe enough to land them in psychiatric wards are not supposed to have guns by federal law. As someone with a mental illness (that did indeed lead to my being put temporarily in a psychiatric ward) and as someone who would like very much to own a gun, I’m not sure how I feel about this.

First thing’s first: you’re probably wondering why I want a gun so badly. Well, the answer is self-defense–I’m paranoid of people breaking in. I know what they say, that Americans love their guns, but really, the fact of the matter is this: in a country where guns are legal, it may be necessary to own a gun to defend yourself against them. If guns were outlawed by some kind of blanket federal rule, then no, I probably would not want to own a gun. But that is a very unlikely event.

But in the wake of Virginia Tech disaster, the public panicked, and the bureaucrats needed to reassure people that laws would be put in place to help prevent it from happening again. They accomplished this by targeting the mentally ill.

Now, yes, Cho (the VT shooter) was severely mentally ill. And obviously, he was violent. Yet this does not mean that the mentally ill population at large is any more likely to be violent than the sane population. But here’s the thing: the law does not apply to everyone with a diagnosis of a mental illness. If it did, then I would absolutely be against it.

The law only applies to those mentally ill who were committed, due to representing a threat to oneself or others.

And this seems to make sense to me. I mean, why hand a gun to someone who in the past had to be put away from society to prevent him from committing a suicide or homicide? And yet, again, as someone with a mental illness, it kind of stings.

I mean, other factors, including gender, are more likely to contribute to violence than mental illness is. Should we then ban all men (the most likely population to be violent) from having guns? Somehow I don’t think that would go down too well.

After doing a bit of research, I believe the law only applies to those who were involuntarily committed. As I was officially voluntarily committed, (I had zero choice in the matter; I simply did not resist being sent to the hospital and so my psychologist had no need to call it involuntary) I believe this means I could still legally own a gun.

But still, the law bothers me.

 

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About The Mental Chronicles

I am an otherwise "normal" person who suffers from psychotic depression. This blog is about me, things I like, and my struggle with mental illness.

7 responses to “Guns For the Mentally Ill?

  1. Sandy Sue

    While I’ve always wanted to learn how to shoot a gun, I would never own one. I have never been involuntarily committed, and haven’t been seriously suicidal in years, but the possibility still exists. I don’t need another method at my disposal. In my opinion, this is a sound law.

  2. I thought I had posted before but I was on my iPhone,maybe it did not get through (or you deleted it).

    I think being paranoid is a good reason NOT to have a gun. When you have troubles in the thoughts, a gun is not a useful tool at all.

    • I don’t believe I saw your previous comment; it must not have come through. I understand where you are coming from. However, someone has tried to break into my house before (on two different occasions, so it could have even been two different people) and that really scared me, so that is all I meant when I said I was “paranoid”. But, like I said, you do have a point, and I think that is why I am so torn about the subject.

  3. give yourself a check on your thoughts. Is the threat real? what if you had a gun the other time?

    With existing difficulties and an assumption you used the gun – are you capable of taking on the mental anguish? Even if it is done with what the government says is legal you will likely have emotional reactions. I have a hard time believing that your reaction would be positive at all.

    Of course all up to you and I am a person who thinks that we should not have as many guns out there. I do suffer from problems and i don’t think I could handle it

    1) going through the pain of shooting someone
    2) trust myself with the gun around.

    Be careful for yourself πŸ™‚

  4. I think the key is just to be careful if I do decide to own a gun. I should notify my friends and family if I buy one, and I should be properly trained in how to use it, as well as prepared for the consequences if I do.

    Haha, it sure does suck!

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