The idea of mental health screenings for gun purchases is one of those ideas that comes and goes out of vogue fairly regularly. Just yesterday, I touched on a suggestion for just that very thing.
On the surface, and to the uninitiated, it sounds like a great idea. After all, what better way can you come up with to keep guns out of the hands of crazy people than to have actual mental health experts evaluate people first. It sounds great to some folks.
The problem, however, is that a lot of mental health professionals are incredibly biased against guns, to the point that people who represent no risk would be denied firearms.
It’s not hyperbole, either.
You see, not that long ago, a friend of mine found out that a mentally ill family member–someone who has issued threats before and is disturbed enough to follow through with them–was coming back to town. “Bob” (his real name is hidden to protect the not-so-innocent as well as his family) and his wife decided they needed to get concealed carry permits and firearm training, just to be safe. After all, Bob and his wife have kids, some of whom are old enough and mature enough to be entrusted with learning how to use a firearm defensively as well.
Bob’s wife mentioned this to her boss, a mental health professional here in the U.S.
The boss promptly informed Bob’s wife that a firearm was a horrible idea. Why? Because Bob has ADHD.
That’s right. This supposed mental health professional objected to someone having a firearm because of Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder.
Now, ADHD does some odd things to a person. I should know. I’m ADHD, having been diagnosed both as a child and while I was in the Navy. I have other friends who are also ADHD as well.
What it doesn’t do is make us violent or even particularly dangerous with a firearm.
Oh, sure, we’re notoriously bad drivers. I haven’t met an ADHD soul yet who hasn’t had more than their fair share of fender-benders through the years. What I haven’t encountered are stories of ADHD people misusing firearms, though.
So what’s the problem?
The truth is, this mental health professional–the very kind of person some would have us go to for permission to buy a firearm–is heavily biased against not just guns, but people with one condition that has no bearing on whether those folks represent a threat or not. Her own bias made her see a man who wouldn’t harm a fly unless it was to act in self-defense as nothing more than a shooting waiting to happen.
I’m sorry, but you want me to trust my rights to someone like that?
I don’t think so.
Until and unless I somehow prove myself to be unworthy of having my right to keep and bear arms in some manner such as committing a felony, I’m not interested in giving up that right on the whim of some overwrought ninny who thinks guns are the boogieman and it’s their sacred duty to keep them away from people like me.
While a great many mental health professions are really professionals–I know a number who are also friends with Bob who think his wife’s boss is out of her gourd–there are also many that have a profound anti-gun bias. Frankly, I don’t trust them to keep that bias in check. No one should.
So no, I won’t be supporting mental health screenings for gun purchases anytime soon, even if I didn’t also think they were blatantly unconstitutional.