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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Mental-health lobbying: Guns and double-edged swords

(Photo by DrHaggis)
A recent Christian Science Monitor article by Francine Kiefer reports that mental-health legislation is sometimes viewed as a way to get around the gun-rights lobbies.

Kiefer points out that “two draft mental-health bills are getting a fresh look in the House” in the aftermath of the mass killings by Elliot Rodger.  One, introduced by Democrat Mike Thompson of California, “marries mental health with preventing gun violence.”  It entails “provisions for involuntary commitment and family involvement in the mental-health treatment of other adult family members.”

These provisions raise serious questions about individual “civil rights, especially privacy.”  Should a balanced approach to gun control include such a double-edged legislative sword?

Mental-health issues are often (some might say always) at the root of mass killings.  Their prioritization is therefore warranted for that reason, and not as a political ploy.  However, to simply compound one serious issue (the indiscriminate use of guns) with another (the curtailing of individual civil rights) seems neither effective nor wise.

Copyright June 1, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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