Title: Gun Control Resolution: Finding a Common Ground in Mental Health Screenings and Background Checks
Thesis Statement: Though they will not resolve the whole gun violence issue, mental health evaluations and criminal background checks will reduce the frequency of gun related crimes by making it harder for criminals to legally obtain guns.
- Background checks: Even though we do not agree with mandatory mental health screens, we do believe for every legal gun purchase, one must have a background check. If, as a whole society, we made background checks mandatory, the number of crimes committed by a criminal with a gun would assumingly decrease. Criminal background checks have been implemented in the United States since 1993. “To strengthen Federal firearms regulations, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 (Brady Act) required the U.S. attorney general to establish the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL) to contact by telephone, or other electronic means, for information to be supplied immediately as to whether the transfer of a firearm would violate Federal or State law.” (National Instant Criminal Background Check System. (2013). Congressional Digest, 92(3), 14-17.)
- Mental Health Screenings: On the topic of mental health evaluations, let us begin with a quote from Sally Satel in the article Enforce Mental Health Laws, Don’t Add to Them she states “the vast majority of people with schizophrenia, bipolar illness and other psychotic disorders are not violent and most violence is not committed by people who are mentally ill (Satel, “Enforce Mental Health Laws, Don’t Add to Them”). . In the article Require Therapists to Warn Authorities of Danger, D. J. Jaffe, an executive director of Mental Illness Policy org. believes if mental health leaves the privacy of doctor to patient, individuals who did seek treatment for lower level issues will no longer seek help they may desperately need. So in lieu of requiring the mental health screens, we are suggesting optional mental health screenings, for responsible gun owners, so that individuals suffering from mental illness, don’t use this as an excuse not to get help.
Satel, Sally L. "Enforce Mental Health Laws, Don’t Add to Them." NY Times Room For Debate. NY Times, 17 Jan. 13. Web. 9 Nov. 15
National Instant Criminal Background Check System. (2013). Congressional Digest, 92(3), 14-17.
Fox, “Crackdown on Illegal Gun Trade”
"Gun Control." Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia (2015): 1p. 1. Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.
Benn Swann Debates Gun Control On RT. Perf. Ben Swann, Jill Stein, Richard Feldman, and Leah Gunn Barrett. Benn Swann Debates Gun Control On RT. Ben Swann, 14 Dec. 2013. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.
Jaffe, D. J. “Require Therapists to Warn Authorities of Danger.” NY Times Room For Debate. NY Times, 29 May 14. Web 9 Nov. 2015.
- Most likely, conservative Republicans will oppose the notion of stronger background checks and mental health screenings, out of a fear of “having their guns taken away.”
- The Democratic liberals may agree with mandatory mental health screens
- American people are innocent until proven guilty. Mandatory mental health screens would be unconstitutional, as they would infringe upon US citizens’ 4th amendment right. Mental health screenings should be mandated only to those who have lost their right to practice the 2nd amendment, in the efforts of regaining their right after rehabilitation and a lengthy amount of time maintaining a clean record.
- However, our suggested legislation will work to enforce laws that will keep guns out of the hands of those with malicious intent, while protecting the rights of responsible gun owners. Perhaps another method of reducing gun related crimes would be to increase stricter punishment on those convicted of making straw man purchases. Despite our differences in beliefs, in order for other gun control issues to start moving toward each other on the sliding scale, we all need to meet somewhere between criminal background checks and mental health screens.