So, right after the Sandy Hook shooting, I was sitting in the doctor’s office, just minding my own business, reading the book I brought with me, waiting my turn. It was quiet in that waiting-room kind of way, where everyone jumps when someone’s name is called, when this orderly comes up and starts chatting with one of the ladies behind the counter, loudly and he starts expounding on the tragedy in Connecticut. Now, it was all still new and shocking, people still reeling about the fact kids not even in double-digits were the victims- and everyone had an opinion on gun control. These people’s conversation trended away from what was known about the tragedy, and trended towards the standard line of “what nut keeps guns around a clearly psychopathic kid? And with so many bullets! Do you really need something so deadly to protect yourself?” After it started towards the “gun nuts” portion of the mutual rant, I finally snapped, “We came here for medical opinions, not your political ones! Take it somewhere else.”
Now, imagine those orderlies were your doctor, with strong opinions on gun control and you have a prescription for antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication in your medical history (1 in 10 adults do in the US according to the CDC) or perhaps a family history of mental illness. They would have the power to submit your mental health records to DOJ so you would never pass a background check to purchase a firearm if the bill passes. And they don’t have to tell you. That’s a lot of power in the hands of doctors and even more power in the hands of the government granted by many of the proposed gun control bills in the Senate. Sloppily written language in the Manchin-Toomey bill leaves it open for your doctor to abuse the trust between you and him, based on personal beliefs and personal interpretations of your mental health (Title I, subsection 4). This would create another useless commission, penalize states for noncompliance and imprecise language might possibly allow for a national gun registry- which never works out well for anyone involved.
Also competing for attention in the Senate is Harry Reid’s bill. This would allow DOJ to require records be submitted for unlicensed gun transfers, with no specifics on who keeps those records or how they’re kept, which also leaves the door open to a national gun registry. The universal background check database proposed raised eyebrows with the ACLU of all people about privacy rights and civil liberties. If they’re questioning something to do with gun-control, you can bet it’s probably bad.
It seems to me that rather than actually examine the problems and circumstances that led to Newtown, Aurora and Tucson, everyone is letting their hearts and their ambitions (*cough*Congress*cough*Obama*cough*) dictate the next steps by eroding the one right in the Bill of Rights that guarantees all the others. I don’t have a perfect answer to stopping violence, largely because I don’t think you can, but I do know two things:
- These bills would give an awful lot of information to the government and
- Overzealous gun control measures will ultimately leave “we the people” unprotected, both from the government and each other.
For those interested, this is a survey conducted by Police One of law enforcement personnel on Congress’s and Obama’s approach to gun control and its effectiveness. Their answers are definitely not what the suits are saying in Washington- maybe we should listen to the boots on the ground about this one. Just saying.