Software engineer Christopher Lacy shot and killed California Highway Patrolman Kenyon Youngstrom during a routine traffic stop last week. And dailyrepublic.com set out to take the pulse of its Golden State readership in the wake of the murder. Here’s the poll question they posted: “Christopher Lacy, the man suspected of gunning down CHP officer Kenyon Youngstrom last week during a traffic stop, had been treated for mental health problems, according to his family. Do you think that alone should restrict someone’s right to bear arms?” . . .
If they’d been an attorney and posed that question to a witness in court, they’d have been flagged for asking an outrageously leading question. “Mental health problem” covers an almost unmanageably wide rage of conditions. The way the question’s posed, that could encompass anything from depression to paranoid schizophrenia. Should any mental condition cancel someone’s second amendment rights? Despite the way the question’s framed, it’s surprising that “only” 68% have responded that any mental illness should cancel your carry rights.
Lacy was actually bipolar with a history of hallucinations and paranoia, so yeah, no guns for him. But what about the person who seeks therapy for depression after a death in the family? Or someone who develops an anxiety disorder after a traumatic event? Should they be deprived of their Constitutional right to armed self defense? If we can’t trust a person with firearms because of mental issues, then that person shouldn’t be on the streets without a handler.
Where do you draw the mental health line where guns are concerned?