Mentally ill people should not have firearms

Tristan Allen, Reporter

President Donald Trump signed a bill back in February nullifying a regulation that deemed people receiving Social Security checks for mental illnesses unfit to acquire firearms.

But, it would be in the best interests of the United States to bring back that regulation keeping mentally ill people from being able to buy guns and other firearms.

Some Republicans can argue that having a law preventing mentally ill people from acquiring firearms is that it takes away their Second Amendment right to bear arms. While this is a valid argument, an exception should be made in this case.

The preexisting regulation was in place to prevent violence by the mentally ill unto others. According to an article in the magazine The Atlantic, only 4 percent of any violence in the United States is attributable to mental illness. Indeed, that is a small number, but it is uncertain that the small number is not affected by the ban on the mentally ill from purchasing a gun. If this statistic has been affected by the gun ban, violence might increase, and people do not want that.

While violence towards others is something that gun control laws are designed to prevent, guns can also be used to commit suicide. In fact, the New York Times reported that in 2015 a majority of suicides were committed with firearms. If someone is diagnosed with depression, which is a mental disorder, a law barring that person from having a firearm could keep that person alive long enough to receive treatment, potentially saving their life.

Even though a mental health gun ban could save lives, some can argue that the previously existing gun control laws create an unfair picture of mental illness.

“This is a slap in the face for those in the disabled community because it paints all those who suffer from mental disorders with the same broad brush,” Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said. Even if these regulations create a bad picture, public safety should be a higher priority than a public image.

Regardless of the possible bad image of the mentally ill that a ban could create, mentally ill people should not be allowed to have access to firearms. It can be challenging, however, to accurately diagnose some mental disorders. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, bipolar disorder is “often misdiagnosed.”

If bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed, then it is possible that other disorders might be as well. But even though there are cases that are misdiagnosed, it is best to ensure that nobody who should not have weapons has them.

Everybody can agree that gun violence is a problem that needs to be solved, but they can also agree that mental health is not the only contributor to it. The U.S. National Library of Medicine even said, “Neither guns nor people exist in isolation from social or historical influences.”

Other factors do contribute to gun violence, yes, and some of these factors do not have a present solution. Gun violence as a result of poor mental health does have a solution, and that solution is a gun ban.