The Law of Unintended Consequences warns that for every action you take, there’s a potential for unforeseen problems to arise. Pass a tax and behavior might change in a way that creates less revenue. Ban something, and people might start using an alternative that may be more dangerous.
To be fair, not all unintended consequences are bad. It’s certainly possible to have something unexpected happen that can be a net benefit that you never saw coming.
But a lot of them aren’t.
The thing is, if you look at some proposals, you can see what some of the unexpected consequences might be. Such as a proposal that may land people on a registry barring them from owning guns if they’re suicidal.
Donna Nathan, who had been in and out of psychiatric hospitals three times this year, drove to Gretna June 26 and bought a .38-caliber revolver. Eight hours later, she was found dead from a gunshot wound in Audubon Park.
She left a handwritten note to her boyfriend that said, “I’m sorry. I love you.”
Two days later, Katrina Brees offered an idea in a Facebook post about how to save others who might think about doing what her mother had done:
“My mom bought a gun in New Orleans on Tuesday and drove to (Audubon Park) and opened the box and shot herself.
“I’m telling you all because gun control is not only about homicide, it is twice as likely to be a suicide. People suffering from bipolar and depression have no way to protect themselves from a suicidal gun purchase in Louisiana.
“I wish my mom could have registered herself as being unfit to buy a gun. She would have signed it years ago to protect herself and our family. I’m sorry to be so raw, I feel raw. I can’t believe how impossible it was to get my mom help and how easy it was for her to buy a gun.”
The problem with this idea is that, even if voluntary, it may stop people from getting the help they need.
They would go, register themselves as unfit, then go about their day, confident they can’t kill themselves. The problem is, there’s still rope, cars and garage doors, and gravity. Rather than get help, they’ll get a government fix that will, at best, force them to shift how they would commit suicide.
And, let’s be honest, it won’t stay voluntary for long.
We all know that at some point, some enterprising politico will decide that there needs to be an expansion. This registry will merge with red flag laws to some degree, and almost anyone could get someone added to the list. Because of that, people won’t want to talk about what’s going on. They won’t want to let the people they love to know what’s happening because they don’t want to be stripped of their Second Amendment rights.
Look, suicide is a horrible thing for a family to endure. I get people are looking for answers, but let’s stop pretending that the weapon is responsible. It’s not.