depression mental illness mass shooter red flag law
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By Mark Houser

In the gun control debate, the invocation of “mental health” is, unfortunately, a red herring. The failure to recognize that reality leads to policy ideas that threaten both our liberty and the wellness of those who struggle with mental health issues.

In the wake of murderous mass shootings, people cite “mental health” as both an explanation for the murders and a means by which they can be prevented. Conservatives and Republicans, grasping for alternatives to conventional gun control, however improbable, are perhaps especially prone to making this mistake. Donald Trump himself has said, “I don’t want mentally ill people to be having guns. Take the guns first, go through due process second.”

Suppose it’s true that all or most mass shooters are mentally ill. Maybe that’s true by definition: If a demonstrated willingness to carry out mass murder isn’t indicative of mental illness, what is?

But does the observation that mass shooters are mentally ill have useful public policy implications? Will looking to “mental illness” help to identify potential mass shooters before they commit their crimes? Probably not–but the costs of that approach are certain and severe.

Perhaps all mass murderers are mentally ill, but hardly any mentally ill people are mass murderers. By attempting to use mental illness as a screening tool, you’re not making it easier to find the needle–you’re making the haystack bigger and filling it with pins that look like the needle you’re trying to find. And at the same time, you’re further stigmatizing mental illness and pressuring people to hide their problems instead of getting the help that they need.

As the Firearms Policy Coalition’s Matthew Larosiere pointed out in a recent interview, that’s one problem with “red flag” laws: If someone fears he might lose his rights because of an allegation that he’s mentally unwell, he may not seek therapy, medication, or other necessary treatment that would identify him as someone struggling with a mental health issue.

And how exactly does anyone presume to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people? The existing background check process, to which the vast majority of gun purchases are subject, already addresses the clear-cut cases. The standard form completed by gun purchasers asks, “Have you ever been adjudicated as a mental defective OR have you ever been committed to a mental institution?”

But most mass murderers, prior to the commission of their crimes, could honestly answer “no.” Indeed, though many things may seem like “obvious signs” in hindsight, most murderers don’t seem like murderers until it’s too late–that’s why they weren’t incarcerated or institutionalized in the first place.

We already have laws that can do that. Even if we passed an additional law to impose background checks on the small number of private gun transactions, it would suffer from the exact same deficiency.

Fine, you say–then what about ambiguous demonstrations of potentially dangerous mental illness? What about signs and indicators of mental illness short of an actual adjudication or diagnosis? Can’t we stop mass shootings by paying more attention to those?

Probably not. The problem here is one of false positives. Millions of people struggle with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other common mental health problems at some point in their lives, if not persistently. And everyone occasionally says or does things that, to another’s subjective–and perhaps ignorant–perspective, may indicate the presence of a mental health issue.

Should, therefore, everyone be in danger of losing their rights at the whim of some new government agency? Imagine if other constitutionally-protected rights, like freedom of speech, could be violated so easily. If the bar for the deprivation of a fundamental right is set so low, contingent merely upon some agent’s subjective determination, none of our rights would be secure. This is a cure infinitely worse than the disease.

So conservatives are wrong to see red flag laws and similar policies as a reasonable or modest concession to gun control proponents: it’s more like handing over a blank check. Worse still, by stigmatizing mental illness and discouraging people from seeking treatment, red flag laws exacerbate the very problem they’re supposed to fix.

Seizing upon “mental health” as the solution to gun violence will lead to erroneous and dangerous conclusions that threaten the wellness of people who live with mental health issues, and the liberty of us all.


Mark Houser independently researches and writes on firearms-related issues.


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  1. Beto Orourke should be red flagged after he fantasized running over and killing two children playing in the street. That pool excuse of a person doesn’t have all of his marbles. And his poem “Brush my Balls” which seems to be lusting after heifers doesn’t contradict him being off balance.

  2. Well and simply stated. If only more than a scant handful of the jokers running for election were able clearly articulate on issues like this Mr. Houser has done.

  3. They’re looking to bring back government funded psychiatric hospitals which means it will get bipartisan support. If there’s one thing D.C. loves, it’s spending money. Look for increased lobbying as the healthcare industry lines up to make more money.

    • These hospitals were defunded because the politicians felt it would be far cheaper to let the mentally ill fend for themselves.

      Like almost every government backed program, they had their good points and their bad points and it was almost always money that created the bad in institutionalize care. Few people wanted to spend what it would have taken to do it as well as it could have been done.

      As an undergraduate (psychology) I worked in two different facilities. As a Doctoral candidate, I worked in another. This was required and mostly allowed the institutions to obtain cheap labor although it was also a learning experience as well.

      • The original destruction of mental health infrastructure in the USA can be laid at the feet of both liberals and conservatives. There were terrible abuses, this cannot be denied. Instead of correcting those abuses the liberal side championed protecting the rights of the mentally ill by closing the facilities they lived in. The conservatives championed the cause of saving taxpayer dollars. Both sides embraced false numbers to support their causes, including a rosy picture of what would come next.

        Back in the early 1970’s I recall my mother describing the situation she, as an RN and senior on staff, along with the doctors all predicted would happen. That sick people would be pushed out into private homes where the families were unprepared and untrained to care for them. Or out onto the streets, become homeless bums with mental defects. Only the very worst already incarcerated would remain so and there was pressure on releasing them too via transition homes.

        My mother’s statement at the time was that the great bulk of the harm would land upon the mentally ill themselves, as many would lose the support system that allowed them to function. The other harm would land on the general public due to those released who should not be released. She never brought up guns, but what we see today fits her assessment perfectly.

        What was predicted then, and not listened to, is precisely what happened.

        We need two fundamental things. To go back to old systems and restore them while simultaneously examining the original abuses and correcting them.

        Next, go beyond that to provide training and a response system. For police, educators, doctors and nurses and allied medical staff. For judges and lawyers.

        The problem is quite large. We here only become aware of it when the rare individual comes along and does mass murder with a gun.

    • It’s something that’s actually needed, however. After all the asylums closed, all those people didn’t just disappear. Most of them eventually ended up in prison, and contributed greatly to the prison population over the decades. These people also made prisons far more dangerous and violent then they already were. Many prisons became de facto mental institutions quickly and without the experience or infrastructure needed to house and control psychotic people. These same people often were killed off by other prison inmates as their mere existence in a prison setting contributed greater restrictions on the general prison population. After decades of this, however, I agree it would be a financial waste to bring back a full on system of institutions and personnel from the ground up. Many state and federal corrections agencies have since grown and became somewhat capable of managing this issue. So personally I think state and federal governments should expand the existing corrections system to include a few more institutions but generally separated from the rest of prison system or inmate population.

  4. If mental health isn’t an avenue for trying to prevent mass shootings (as distinct from other kinds of violence), and gun control isn’t an avenue for this either (and I oppose this adamantly). Then what are we left with? Is there anything gun owners can suggest in terms of prevention? The only thing I can think of is a faster, better armed response to these kinds incidents, which isn’t really prevention so much as intervention. Perhaps we need to concede that an evil person with strong enough motivation will find a way.

    One thing I might suggest, however, is that “the media” (whatever that means) stop fetishizing mass shootings. Evil people (some of them crazy) will commit evil no matter what, but I have a growing suspicion that the barrage of hyperbolic, breathless “news” stories about shootings is turning this particular method of sowing fear and pain into a technique of choice.

    • You can’t consistently prevent mass shootings, but you can stop them swiftly when they happen by having an abundance of armed populace at the scene ready to put two in the chest and one in the head of the evil scumbag that engages in the next rampage killing.

      • This. Not just as a method to reduce violence but in all things related to life.
        The more people take care of their own shit, health, finance, threats to person, the fewer resources are wasted figuring out to best apply the energy of others toward talking care of your own shit.

        Save your pennies, exercise, dont consume garbage, don’t sleep around and understand that somewhere out there is a person or persons who at worst want to see you dead and at best are indifferent to whether you live or die.

      • ^^^ NOT THIS ^^^

        I believe absolutely in the Second Amendment and encourage people to carry a sidearm, openly or concealed according to their preference. Many laws are infringements upon this right and should never have been enacted, including bans upon owning automatic and “military” or “weapons of war”.

        All that said I have never bought into this notion that what we need to do is have someone available to shoot back. Nothing against that so long as we do not propose it as a solution. If all we do is try to reduce the death count per incident, we are still failing and still losing. Failing to save lives and failing to win the political battle that seeks to destroy our rights.

        Restoring and improving the mental health system in this country is a major part of the PREVENTION solution. Stop the problem before it involves bullets, instead of during or worse, the cleanup after. There are proven approaches to do this, approaches not employed in any of these shootings in recent years.

        Which is an outrage, as they have been known and published since Columbine.

        I know, because after Sandy Hook I made a point of publishing that work at my own expense to every school resource officer, school board member, numerous school principals and teachers and local politicians I could.

        I have tried to share links on TTAG in the past, but they get deleted.

        • Hmm, just like ending gun free zones, if we start snuffing out these mass shooters in the first 10 seconds of their assault, I can guarantee that mass shooting attempts will start to decline dramatically. They are all cowards and do not like resistance. I’m all for preventing things without having to resort to gunfire, but let’s get real. Every mass shooter was stopped by a gun, and that will be solution going forward once they start.

        • Mark –

          Wrong. You do not hear about prevented mass killings. We had one here, a teenager discovered thru the same process as the Secret Service promotes in the Safe Schools Initiative. The threat was detected early, assessed and an intervention planned before the attack could be carried out. The teen was found to have made a bomb and was in the process of taking further steps to execute the plan. Instead, there was a search warrant while the teen was out of the house, the materials seized and the teen arrested while off school grounds. Later placed under psychiatric care.

          All this was local news, never got outside the city and county. Because nobody died, no shots fired, no state lines crossed, no big flashy FBI SWAT bust with coordinated TV coverage.

          Early Detection, Threat Assessment and Planned Intervention work. It is how the Secret Service protects the President.

          The guns? Sure, they need them. For when they fail in their primary method and matters become desperate. Because they are very good at their primary method, gun play is very rare.

    • Well, for one thing, law enforcement could/should look into actual threats either posted in social media, before 2 or more people, or in other ways that would lead one to believe they need protection from said threat maker. I believe this has been done within the past week or so, one case involving a 15 year old boy. In the very least, teaching the American public that words, spoken and/or written do actually mean something might start a trend of having people grow up, mentally and intellectually. We do not “kid” others about causing mayhem, not in real life, of which, to some, TTAG doesn’t seem to be. Some of the threats and wishes for harm to others that are posted regularly on this site amaze me, except that all of them are done anonymously. Sign your name when making these postings…

      To be certain, actual threat assessment can be “weaponized” if we allow it to happen but there has hardly been a case of “massed shooting” where the signs weren’t there ahead of time. Mental health? I beleive lack of mental maturity is an even greater issue regardless of the age of the killer.

      • So law enforcement actually woke up and realized they could be enforcing existing laws? Better late than never.

      • Stating something on line that you would like to happen(or that you would not lose any sleep over) is NOT the same as making a threat. Saying that RBG is declining and you hope that she retires soon is not wishing her ill, it is actually the opposite. It would serve the country better to replace her with a judge that believes in the constitution, I hope she can live out her retirement in a pain free manner, rather than dying while sitting on the bench.

        • Yet that IS her choice, to keep her seat JUST to deprive President Trump of appointing one more SCOTUS Justice. Talk about vainglorious. Spiteful and vindictive to the End… NOT a great Jurist, nor a good human being…. just a good LEFTist operatchik. How SAD is that? I suspect History will say unkind things about her and a number of President who thought they were hot spit!

        • I wrote “threats” online, not hoping for something to happen. You’re probably not the only one around here who has no clue of the difference. And therein lies one of the real problems: people just don’t grow up and learn to regulate their own mouth or keyboard. A lot of the mentality that goes into many comments here is on perhaps a 9 year old, or 3rd grade level. I suppose most of the guys now were never raised by their father so they never really learned what it was to act like a man. And the women suffer as well when both boys and girls are raised as the same In both cases it causes standards to be lowered to that of the other gender.

      • While I disagree on belittling the mental health part of this problem and how many lives restoring that system could save, I do absolutely agree on Threat Assessment.

        This is what came out of Columbine. The US Secret Service and the US Dept of Education were tasked to study and report on targeted attacks in schools and how to prevent them. Many schools around the country now apply the lessons learned from that study.

        Search on the internet for “Secret Service Safe Schools Initiative”. Search also for “violence prevention”.

        I’d supply links but when I have done that before, my posts get deleted.

  5. We should also consider what our young people have to endure in the indoctrination/re-education camps called schools.
    The lies are diametrically opposed to the observable real world.
    That would drive anyone insane.

  6. I totally agree. We can not throw people with mental illness under the bus. It will do ltierally nothing but make it so less people can protect themselves.

    I see people commenting ” what can we do though” nothing that is the point. There is no such thing as preventing murders and crimes. There was a anime studio burned down recently where they killed like 30+ people.

    It’s nonsense to think there is a solution and it’s worse to try to do something that would just make us less free.

    The current laws on the books don’t do anything good and can’t be made to do anything good. Why in gods name would anyone want to expand them?

    I have a feeling though we will just keep expanding the qualifiers of prohibited persons and then bad things happen anyway and both sides will support more expansions again.

    Say it with me. There is no prevention. None zilch, nodda. Just let people protect themselves and get rid of restrictions.

    • I no longer trust the mental health professionals since Johns Hopkins fired a former head of the psychiatric department for not backing down on his position that transgenders are mentally ill.

      Seems to me that their administration need some rearranging.

      • Yeah that’s crazy but that’s part of the problem with all of this. People think if you call something a mental illness it means you can’t function in society and need to be watched.

        That’s what I see here a lot. If I was trans I would be worried about being labeled mentally ill with the way people talk about it. People should be able to talk about things as they are and not worry about government intervening in their lives.

        I know gay people and trans people. They worry about it being used against them like in the past. I know it’s silly to think but I get it. I had someone close to me tell me gay people should be locked up and given electro shock therapy to help them. He had no idea I was dating a guy.

        Not to mention now how every kid is being diagnosed with something now too. I know I type too much. I’m sorry. lol

        • It’s the same way with Vets. I refuse to visit the VA because they may take away my guns without due process. There was a Ventura Co Sheriff, many years back at one point that was hesitant to issue CCW permits to Vets because of a few maybe bad experiences. Not all Vets have PTSD and many that do are working it out with the many Vet nonprofit orgs out there.

        • I have observed very poor treatment of vets over fears of mental illness in public settings. A professor said they were afraid to teach class because there was a vet in taking the class. “He could have ptsd” She said.

          It’s insane to me people want to expand the role of government in mental health.

          We should be deregulated the medical fields and getting government out of healthcare, mental health and all for that so it can be solved free market for people who actually want help and they don’t have to worry about losing their rights.

        • I’m transgender and I worry about that every day. I’m a law abiding citizen, served on juries, pay my taxes, never have had any mental wellness issues beyond transgender, never been in legal trouble (not even a traffic ticket) and yet if mental illness, however harmless to others it may be, is a disqualifier for 2a rights then I am defenseless.

          Sounds like gun controllers want everyone to be victims or something…

      • There is yet another aspect of the problem of using a mental illness diagnosis to uphold/forbid a Constitutional right. Which diagnosis applies to which right?

        The DSM-[edition #] includes numerous defined diagnoses. Which are applicable to gun rights? Which to voting rights?

        If a man is diagnosed as impotent is he thereupon to be deemed incompetent to exercise his 2A rights?

        If a woman is diagnosed as a narcissist is she thereupon to be deemed incompetent to exercise her voting rights?

        The criteria for determining a mental disqualification from 2A rights are remarkably vague. It’s really quite difficult for anyone to determine just which apply; and, which do not apply.

        Moreover, some diagnoses are mere “personality disorders” which make the sufferers’ lives unpleasant (and make the lives of their associates even more unpleasant). Nevertheless, these disorders do NOT render the sufferer incompetent to stand trial or be held responsible for her acts. So, are they disqualifying in the sense prescribed by law? Probably not!

        At the same time, it might well be that certain of these “mere” personality disorders have far MORE to do with violent behavior than other more serious and disabling mental illnesses. Should this be so (to a significant extent) then we may be chasing after a relatively less significant aspect of the problem (mental illness) while ignoring the more significant aspect (certain personality disorders).

        It seems as though this discussion of mental illness and the dis-ablement of the right to arms is definitionally ill-defined and poorly understood by both legislators and mental health practitioners.

        • +1

          Your posts are (typically) “commonsense” in their scope and application…thank you.

        • If EVERYONE in Congress was REQUIRED to undergo Psychiatric evaluation BEFORE being Sworn In there would be a serious shortage of Congress Persons…. Just look at their actions over the past 18 months… Not very many could say that what they’ve been doing is SANE… AOC? Tlaib? Omar? Pelosi? Biden? Harris?Gillibrand? They would ALL be on the Ash Heap of History as being UNFIT FOR SERVICE. Yet these are the LooneyTunes that are WRITING LEGISLATION>?? WE have hundreds of thousands of LAWs in the U.S. Code already and MOST ARE IGNORED…When ever it’s easiest. From speeding to Sodomy, drugs, to drive-by’s, folks DO whatever they WANT TO. How many “mass-shootings” were committed by people ALREADY KNOWN to “Law Enforcement” long BEFORE the shootings AND demonstrating violent behavior?? How many of the violent one’s were actually flagged for their offenses…. NOT “maybe’s” but ACTUAL offenses? The Government DROPPED THE BALL on virtually EVERY ONE. The MORAL of the story is NEVER put Government in charge of ANYTHING if you want it to WORK. Let the 2nd do what it was intended to; protect Americans in ALL walks of life from attack by criminals AND Government run-amuck! It’s been done before…. look-up The Battle of Athens (Tenn)

    • Utter nonsense. We used to succeed at prevention routinely. That system was torn down long ago, many are not old enough to remember that it ever existed.

      Restoring that system would only save lives.

  7. Moronic, empty headed nonsense. This is the sort of thinking that destroyed the mental health system in the USA beginning in the 1950’s and wrapping up in the early 1980’s. We used to have much more robust laws and institutions. But there were abuses and in place of solving those problems both liberals and conservatives tore it all apart.

    The people who suffer in the greatest numbers are the mentally ill who cannot get help. There is not the funding, or the beds. These days in most of the USA the single greatest provider of mental health services are jails and prisons. It is an enormous disservice to wait for a person to offend in some manner to help them.

    Mass murderers are a subset of that population. Ignoring this fact only assures continuing violence and death.

    Remember that Mrs Lanza struggled to get help for her son, and was denied at every turn. She was the first one he murdered.

    This was not always so, in prior generations, we did better.

    Loughner, booted out of college for scaring the crap out of people. The college police had no clue how to handle him.

    There was a time in the country that would not have been the case.

    Holmes, the university had scheduled a review, concerned he was a danger. While they wasted time, he gunned people down in a movie theater.

    Time and again opportunities are missed.

    Hell yes we need a major focus on mental health. In most cases we would be helping non-dangerous people to be productive members of society. That is a good thing.

    In those few cases of truly dangerous people we would be saving the lives of others.

    But hey, it’s all a conspiracy to steal our Second Amendment Rights. So let’s just embrace the killing and ignore the fact that every such incident builds the case against those very rights. Builds public sentiment against the Second Amendment.

    Arguing against improving mental health care, funding, infrastructure, training for police and educators is a plan to lose.

    And it is working.

    • We have a good mental health care system. When you can get it. The problems is holding doctors accountable for not letting the authorities know their patient is dangerous. Doctors have had to report gunshot patients to the police for decades now. Also hold the police accountable as well. Elliot Rodger was interviewed by police in southern california. His parents called the police. They were afraid of him. But cops refused take him away.
      He murdered I think 8 people a fews days latter.

      • Everything you said after your first sentence disproves that we have a good mental health system.

        You can’t get help. You either cannot pay for it or the public resources are very limited.

        Laws are weak, there is little funding and when someone is deemed to be a threat there is frequently no place to put them.

        Training stinks. For police, for school teachers and administrators. There is little funding an dnot much law to support them. Let along,again, that lack of hospital space for the mentally ill.

        Sure, we have pieces of a good system. Broken up, disjointed, inadequate, pieces.

        • But, the disjointed pieces provide just enough information to find gullible ones that the FBI can make use of to feather their own nests…

          The only way out of crap like this is: This corruption at the top must be ended. So long as this kind of betrayal exists all other government corruption will only increase to match it. If it is not stopped by the people, then it will end itself anyway, through a flurry of self destructive behavior that will not be believed, or even understood, just as we are all witnessing right now.

        • Enuf
          You sound like a typical Liberal who never wants to hold government employees, unless they are cops, accountable.

          Liberals want national “free health care”. They want national tax slavery to get it. VA doctors and administrators were fired because they let veterans die under their care. Those government employees sued and got their jobs back.

          There’s not enough $$$ in the world to change gov hiring and firing rules.

          The “head shrink” who over saw the Colorado movie theater shooter is a government employee. She still has her job after she failed to explain to the police just how dangerous he was.

          Government employees still have their jobs in Parkland Florida.

        • Chris T in KY –

          No. Nobody is promising free health care, no one ever has. Nor does that have anything to do with this topic. In any case I would never support either single-payer or single-provider. Possibly I’d support the German system, feel free to Google it. A very old system, first in the world, has survived two world wars and all sorts of political and economic turmoil. Capitalist based, private insurer/private provider, but mandated by law and not-for-profit. It works vastly better than our mess.

          As for the history of the Mental Health system we destroyed, this was the responsibilities of cities, counties and states. Federal involvement was minimal.

    • “These days in most of the USA the single greatest provider of mental health services are jails and prisons. It is an enormous disservice to wait for a person to offend in some manner to help them.”

      These people are not helped in jail or prison, they are kicked to the street as soon as the state can. We need hospitals for the criminally insane as well as lock up facilities(hospital settings) where those who refuse to take court ordered meds can be kept from society for increasing periods of time until they get the idea that they must take those meds. We also need places for these people to voluntary go when it gets to be too much for them to handle. It is cheaper to keep these people in a hospital setting than in a prison or jail and would be serving the tax paying citizens by freeing up parks, bus stations and other community areas from the homeless.

    • That and as I noted above, the large part of those in asylums or would’ve ended up in asylums, ended up being offloaded into prisons. The result was incredibly more dangerous prisons from the 90s onward. I agree with you in that we simply cannot ignore the mental health argument. In the article the author states:

      “Perhaps all mass murderers are mentally ill, but hardly any mentally ill people are mass murderers.”

      This is true, however, a great deal of mentally ill people end up committing other crimes of violence, and this needs to be remedied. And even as mass shootings are statistically rare, the more they occur the more our rights become under assault. We can’t simply ignore this. The status quo won’t last and eventually there will be a mass shooting that turns public support against gun rights. We can avoid that by cutting down the frequency of shooting events combined with a far greater amount of concealed carriers.

      • Not so clever leftist word salad Hank…..what proof do you have aside from your opinion that “a great deal of mentally ill people end up committing other crimes of violence”? And you set up the leftist Hegelian dialect with “The status quo won’t last and eventually there will be a mass shooting that turns public support against gun rights”…setting up the disarming of the public ‘problem-reaction-solution’ of the left. You’re a transparent leftist hack, pretending to support the 2A, no wonder you hate it when I speak out against the mandatory medical procedures the left is pushing.

        • Shut up retard, nothing I said was remotely leftist. Your the leftist here. You’re a troll sent here to make gun owners look crazy. There’s absolutely nothing leftist about improving the mental health system in this country. In fact, in my opinion noted above, I layed out the most conservative method of doing so, by slightly expanding and reorganizing existing corrections agencies, instead of building a brand new system. Your the leftist word salad here who would happily get your salad tossed by a big ornery Muslim if given the chance.

  8. Gun writer Bob Owens and Pink Pistols founder Doug Krick, both suffered from depression. I don’t know but what if they avoided getting help because they feared losing their civil rights?
    The Democrats just want power over others. And the craven Republicans who support this crap just want to stay in office.

  9. Remember that in the bad old days in the Soviet Union political dissenters were regularly locked up for “mental illness”. Since Communism was a perfect system anybody who disagreed with that system was obviously insane and needed treatment.

    Stalin applied similar logic to aircraft design. In the 1930s if an experimental aircraft crashed the designer was shot or imprisoned for sabotage. It didn’t matter that the plane was underpowered or had serious aerodynamic faults. It was designed under the Communist system which was perfect. Therefore the aircraft was the perfect product of that system. Should the bird fall out of the sky, it was somebody’s fault and that somebody was obviously a capitalist saboteur. A Nagant or Bolo Mauser bullet to the back of the head solved the problem but such an incentive program was a bit rough on designers.

  10. Most if not all mental health is purely subjective opinion. There are no lab tests which can confirm or deny any mental illness. Some place their hopes in brain imaging to identify mental illness, but to date no where near enough evidence based data exists to support this. Without objective criteria to make diagnosis for mental illness and relying 100% on “expert” opinion, we should be very careful letting this camels toe under the tent.

  11. “By attempting to use mental illness as a screening tool, you’re not making it easier to find the needle–you’re making the haystack bigger and filling it with pins that look like the needle you’re trying to find.”

    You ‘broke the code’.

    I’ve said it before – If the political Left are forced, kicking and screaming, to accept that anyone can walk around in public armed, then they will do *anything* to massively expand what makes someone a ‘prohibited person’.

    They are not rational. They are terrified of us. And when someone gets that wound up, they will grasp at any straw they can to ‘get rid of the guns’.

    If you thought they were unbalanced before, they are going to freak the fuck out if SCOTUS rules anyone not a criminal (or otherwise deemed prohibited) can be in public armed. So they will do *anything* to expand the definition of ‘prohibited’. Like what they determine is aggressive behavior, for example, or someone blowing their cool in a loud argument.

    They will get desperate. And desperate people do irrational things. Buckle up, because it’s gonna be a bumpy ride…

  12. If we mark folks with mental illness as not being able to own guns, how long until they do here what they did in Poland (and USSR) and claim that anyone who does not believe what they do means you’re mentally ill? That’s how they got many of the Polish fighters after WW2 – claiming that to not support communism is a sign of being mentally ill. This strategy could backfire.

  13. I’m 37 and was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and panic disorder, yet I own several firearms and there’s never been an incident. Only reason I see my doctor is for refills, every three months, because I do take medication (one of which I am currently tapering off of, so far it’s been successful). I did not lie on my application to buy a firearm, I do not have a drug problem, and I have never been arrested for anything. So, that’s my story.

    Also, about 10 years ago I was seeking treatment on a weekly basis and ended up working at the same place that helped me. One thing I noticed: Out of the….I want to say…100 people I crossed paths with, I can remember only 3 of them being prone to violence.

    • Thanks for sharing. My wife and one of my kids have anxiety/depression and take meds and see therapist once a week, same with a few friends. They support themselves and have the support of family and friends. I feel very comfortable with them owning guns and going to the range with them.

    • Oh, I forgot to add: Being that I live in California, there were some new laws that went into effect at the beginning of the year, one of them pertaining to mental health that was signed by Gavin Newsom. As a chilling effect, I refuse to see a psychologist or therapist because the law to have your guns taken away have been made that much easier on their part. It would take no more than signing one sheet of paper and it becomes my responsibility to prove otherwise, including the cost of hiring a lawyer. In one move, Governor Newsom stigmatized mental health, gun ownership, and seeking help.

      I’ll give you an example: I was the emergency room about two months ago for a problem I do not care to discuss the details. The intake nurse was seated next to a doctor in a white coat and the nurse asked the usual “Do you feel like harming yourself in the future” etc etc. I said I don’t understand the question, and the person in the white coat butted in and said just answer it, do you feel like hurting yourself or others and again I was like, I don’t know what you’re talking about, I don’t understand the question. And he said “So yes then?” and I said “I never said that, that word never came out of my mouth” and their logic is that the answer is a yes or no question and because I didn’t say no, the answer must be yes. An argument was had later on and I told the doctor if they wrote yes, they’re lying, because I never said that. And guess what? He fucking wrote “yes” because it wouldn’t have come up otherwise. I assume every doctor in the state got the memo from Newsom because that kind of treatment would have never been tolerated in the past. We still have a fifth amendment right guaranteed by the constitutional to not answer any question that we think may be incriminating.

  14. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to determine in advance which mentally ill people might prove to be violent. If we could make such determinations, we could clean out Congress.

  15. There are lists of school shootings (going back to the 1840s) and mass shootings (going back to the early 20th c.) on Wiki. After looking at them, I was of the impression that the current rash of mass shootings only took off within the last 20 years or so. There were some earlier mass shootings (St. Valentine’s Day (Mafia), the Texas Tower) but most within the past 20 years. My theory is that this sudden spate of mass casualty shootings is due to sensationalization by the media. The mentally weak/sick people who desire to be headlines know how to do it now. I also attribute the phenomenon to the loosening of society and its interference in the family. Back when I was a kid, there were no mass shootings – we usually settled our scores with fistfights – even though there were guns around. I was bullied in school and discipline was physical at home, too. My dad had a .45 revolver and some ammo, plus a couple of shotguns, and we kids knew where they were. But I never had the urge to blow away my parents or the kids at school that I considered bullying shitheads. The values my parents put in me, reinforced by the church we went to, forbad that. So I just dealt with it. Now the parents are afraid to say “boo” to their kids because they are afraid of getting turned in and having the kids taken by child welfare. There are a lot of people out there fighting with their internal demons. Most manage to do it and are no threat to anybody. Some don’t manage to do that and most people still consider them to be okay – until they’re not. How to tell in advance when somebody’s going to snap and want to be famous, that’s the problem. I don’t know how that will be done, if it ever will. I just don’t want mass control/punishment (of gun owners or anybody) for the crazy acts of a few.

  16. Its only a matter of time anyone who takes anxiety medication will labelled unfit to own a firearm.

  17. I just stumbled across something in the comment section of ArsTechica in an article about Australia cracking down on ‘hate speech’ online.

    The implications of this are nothing short of *chilling*. :

    “If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.

    In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.”

    The only way we can be a tolerant society is to NOT allow the tolerance of hate groups that would seek to eliminate the very tolerance they exploit.”

    Let this sink in –

    “But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; ”

    It reminds me of the Nazi propaganda poster in WW2 – “God is on OUR side!”

    Oh, they have ‘plans’ for us…

    • Yet OZ will happily endorse a precivilized death cult in the name of multicultural diversity, tolerance, etc etc etc.

  18. Meh. Whole lot of smoke and mirrors here. We all know that guns don’t kill people if their own volition, let alone do they commit spree shootings. The fact remains that America doesn’t need gun control. America needs crazies control.

    Denying that reality and decrying all efforts to address the crazies just means that you’re forfeiting that job and allowing gun grabbers to use it as a pretext for civilian disarmament.

    Thanks a lot, 2A extremists/absolutists/fanatics.

    Rather than work to develop an approach that keep guns away from the crazies, or better yet, keeps the crazies from walking the streets at all, while operating within constitutional parameters, you’d rather just purity-test us all into wholesale disarmament.

    • ^^^WHAT HE SAID^^^

      All this extremism and conspiracy theory foolishness only makes certain that the killing shallcontinue and we shall continue to be blamed. Eventually we will lose on the Second Amendment not because we are at fault in the killing but because we refuse to allow any effort to prevent the killing. Which in turn only invigorates the blame being unfairly thrown at us and the effort to do away with the Second Amendment.

      Not addressing the broken Mental Health non-system in this country is a plan to lose.


    quote———————And how exactly does anyone presume to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people? The existing background check process, to which the vast majority of gun purchases are subject, already addresses the clear-cut cases. The standard form completed by gun purchasers asks, “Have you ever been adjudicated as a mental defective OR have you ever been committed to a mental institution?”———————-quote

    quote————-But most mass murderers, prior to the commission of their crimes, could honestly answer “no.” Indeed, though many things may seem like “obvious signs” in hindsight, most murderers don’t seem like murderers until it’s too late–that’s why they weren’t incarcerated or institutionalized in the first place.———–QUOTE

    QUOTE————-We already have laws that can do that. Even if we passed an additional law to impose background checks on the small number of private gun transactions, it would suffer from the exact same deficiency.————–QUOTE

    Our existing back ground checks are woefully inadequate. It was found that after one of the church shootings the nut case did indeed have a mental history of bizarre behavior and that info was never entered into the data base. Many U.S. States have done everything possible to prevent mental health care records from being entered into the national back ground check system due to privacy laws.

    Other nations besides having better records in their data bases also interview prospective gun buyers especially first time buyers by having them tested for mental competency which the U.S. does not do.

    Lastly and laughably the paragraph that says there are only a small number of private sales is perhaps the biggest piece of bullshit in the entire article. Really was the author on LSD or just a plain pathological liar. The U.S. used gun market rivals that of the new gun market and large numbers of gun owners even refuse to even buy a new gun because they do not want to go through the background check system either because they have a checkered past or they have the erroneous idea that if a certain gun is banned they will be able to keep such weapons which in reality is nothing more than a fantasy unless they are already bonafide street criminals.

    One must realize that the Gangster Criminal Greed Monger Republicans are the ones most responsible for the cry to out law assault rifles because they are the ones who have constantly blocked Health Care as a human right something the rest of the civilized world has done decades ago. The Republican Criminals claim we cannot afford it but other nations far smaller and less rich have financed health care decades ago. The Republican criminals also passed a tax rape law that drove the national debt up 2 trillion dollars all of which went right into the pockets of the upper 1 per cent and now they want to reduce health care even further to absolutely zero. The Republican Criminals have already succeeded in weakening the Obama Care Plan and now another 20 million Americans were cut off from even basic health care to die like dogs in the street from lack of affordable operations or drug care or mental health care. Diabetics are now dying in droves weekly while Republican Criminals take in millions in bribes from the drug companies.

    With mental health care either non-existent or unavailable or way too expensive nut cases simply deteriorate until they commit mass murder which drives the engines of destruction for gun ownership of all weapons not just assault rifles. So thank the real enemies of all gun owners The Gangster Criminal Greed Monger Republicans the lowest form of life on the planet.


    • Pathological liar is a pretty apt description of you, vlad. And are you going to be really butt hurt when Trump gets sworn in for his second term.

      And what rumor was I hearing about ruth bader ginzberg…………

      • RBG isn’t far enough left for him. Her recent comments where she disagreed with liberal court packing caused him to refer to her as a “sex traitor,” and an “old bitch”. Funny how fast liberals eat their own.

        • He will probably beat his mother with a bag of dimes when he realizes Trump gets to pick her replacement. Wonder if he’s figured that part out yet? He ain’t very bright.

    • Mental Health care has always been a passion for the boy. In his entire life, the only people he has come into contact with, who have been halfway decent to him, have been therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists. And, they charged a lot of money to not be abusive towards him.

  20. I believe depression is overdiagnosed and overmedicated. Since the symptoms of depression and grieving for a loved one are pretty much the same, there used to be an exception to the depression diagnosis for the loss of a loved one. That exception has been removed, and now 1/3 of people who lose a child are put on anti depressants. You’re supposed to be sad and feel like crap when that happens, but you eventually go on with life. People are miserable in their lives, and they try to take pills to make them happy. There’s arguments whether serotonin, melatonin, or dopamine needs to be regulated. There are definitely people who have neurotransmitter disorders, but I think a vast majority need just need to change their lives. They’ve been pursuing the false gods of fame and money, or they’re doing something that is supposed to make people happy instead of doing what will make them happy. Get out of the job or marriage where you feel abused and unappreciated, go volunteer where you can see an accomplishment and people are appreciative that you’re there, do something you’re been dreaming of, etc. Depression and being suicidal are not the same things, and being depressed doesn’t mean you’re a threat to your life.

  21. Clear signs of danger were noted by school officials in Parkland and Dayton. They were ignored or dismissed by law enforcement. I’m sure there were also concerns about the Sandy Hook wacko as well. Fix the current background check system and a lot of these problems are prevented.

    • Well yes, fix the current NICS system but that’s a different topic. Related, but different.

      The required mental health data that should be reported to NICS but isn’t, is also mostly not available anyway. We lack the mental health support / funding / training / hospital beds / facilities for it to be available. It won’t help to fix the reporting if our ability to identify the dangerous people remains in the sorry state it is now.

  22. Mental health is the cause of, not solution to- the mass shooting problem. Ban SSRIs before we ban guns.

    Second, we need to address the fact that we’ve destroyed Christian culture. Thanks Hollywood- you’re degenerate filth has eroded the culture. Who runs Hollywood? European-style socialists.

  23. I think the starting point would be admitting things that no one really wants to admit because of the sacred cows on both sides.

    Namely that we’re a dangerous species. We’re an intelligent, tribalistic, predatory bipedal ape. We lack large teeth, claws, raw physical power, speed etc. We don’t smell or hear well and we don’t see that well I the big scheme of things either.

    Out primary weapon is between our ears and that weapon is increased in effectiveness by numbers and tools.

    As such, the most dangerous weapon in society is an undisciplined mind. Mostly I don’t think this is “mental health”. It’s that we’ve set up an educational system that actively teaches lack of discipline and a desirable behavior and a social structure that rewards it.

    • Jesus. With the typos and the autocorrect. Mulligan! Fuck it, I’ll do it live…

      I think the starting point would be admitting things that no one really wants to admit because of the sacred cows on both sides.

      Namely that we’re a dangerous species. We’re an intelligent, tribalistic, predatory bipedal ape. We lack large teeth, claws, raw physical power, speed etc. We don’t smell or hear well and we don’t see that well in the big scheme of things either.

      Our primary weapon is between our ears and that weapon is increased in effectiveness by numbers and tools.

      As such, the most dangerous weapon in society is an undisciplined mind. Mostly I don’t think this is “mental health”. It’s that we’ve set up an educational system that actively teaches lack of discipline as a desirable behavior and a social structure that rewards that behavior.

  24. Ban SSRIs. Require prayer in schools.

    I guarantee if you did that, there would be a two order of magnitude decrease in mass shootings.

    But no- the European-style socialists will try to stop you.

    • “Require prayer in schools.”
      So you are pro 2nd amendment but anti 1st amendment? Interesting…

  25. As far as the left-wing Demon-Rats are concerned, anyone who believes the Second Amendment applies to ordinary citizens is “mentally ill” by their standard and definition. And you are “mentally ill”, according to them, if you do not give your guns up so that they can shoot you now-or later, if they want to.

  26. The level of mental health of a person at any given time is determined by numerous social, psychological and biological factors. There are also specific psychological and personal factors that make people vulnerable to mental health problems. It is especially important to be able to observe the state of the psyche. Moreover, it is necessary to control the state of one’s own psyche and be able to analyze the psyche of loved ones.

  27. Let’s note the Big Lie this article makes:
    “Even if we passed an additional law to impose background checks on the small number of private gun transactions, it would suffer from the exact same deficiency.

    “22 percent overall said they obtained the guns without a background check.”

    How much is 22% of the 40 million guns sold in 2020? (” Nearly 40 million guns were purchased legally in 2020….” USAtoday)

    So over 10 million guns were likely transferred/sold without background checks. Is 10 million a small number?

    And what is the deficiency? “most murderers don’t seem like murderers until it’s too late–that’s why they weren’t incarcerated or institutionalized in the first place.

    We already have laws that can do that. ”

    This is another Big Lie: since about half of all gun murders are done by family or friends of family (a husband, a boyfriend), according to the FBI, we can look to evidence of domestic abuse. iN SOME cases, domestic abuse is not counted as “violence” and so no laws kick in: “1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. This includes a range of behaviors (e.g. slapping, shoving, pushing) and in some cases might not be considered “domestic violence.”

    “1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence (e.g. beating, burning, strangling) by an intimate partner in their lifetime….
    The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.10
    Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.2

    19% of domestic violence involves a weapon.”

    And then there is the “boyfriend loophole:” “The term boyfriend loophole refers to a gap in American federal and some state gun laws that allows access to guns by adjudicated dating abusers.
    the federal prohibition on firearm possession by an intimate partner only applies if parties are current or former spouses, current or former cohabitants, or share a child in common.[3] People who have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence against a dating partner and respondents to final dating violence protective orders are not prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms, nor are prohibited in many states from possessing firearms. Approximately half of intimate partner homicides are committed by abusive dating partners.”
    That means thousands!
    So the deficiency is in the law. and the solution is universal laws that prohibited domestic abusers, whether married or not, from obtaining or possession guns.

    One of the parts of red flag laws is or should be taking guns away from spouses or partners (or ex-partners) where there is evidence of domestic abuse.

  28. Hello! I just finished reading your article on the connection between mental health and the gun control debate, and it provided a thought-provoking perspective. The exploration of mental health in relation to firearms is indeed a complex and sensitive topic that requires careful consideration.

    While reading, I couldn’t help but think about another aspect that could potentially contribute to addressing mental health concerns: online therapy. There is an informative article – that delves into the benefits and accessibility of online therapy, providing individuals with an alternative avenue for seeking support.

    By including this link, you offer readers an opportunity to explore online therapy as a potential solution for addressing mental health concerns. It opens up the conversation to alternative approaches that could be integrated into the broader discussion surrounding mental health and its relationship to gun control.

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