The Problem is Guns, Not Mental Illness

Yes, I do agree that we have a problem with treating mental illness in this country; I won’t argue that at all. But stop blaming “mental illness” for our out-of-control gun problem.

Yes, we do need to take mental illness more seriously and make sure everyone who is mentally ill gets the treatment they need. However, mentally ill people are not going around shooting up public places and killing a few dozen in the space of a minute or so. Put it this way; if all mentally ill people could get from a gun shop is a shotgun and a dozen or so rubber bullets, one may occasionally kill 1-2 people as part of a psychotic break. However, the ability of the Texas domestic white nationalist terrorist to drive for nine hours to kill 21 and wound a lot more at an El Paso Walmart shows a dedication and a level of planning that doesn’t exactly indicate mental illness. Is there something scrambled in his brain? Sure. However, that’s not necessarily mental illness. Even if he is mentally ill, it is still the gun because no mentally ill person capable of homicide should be able to walk into a store and walk out with a gun, let alone the hardware necessary to make it shoot about three dozen people in about a minute or two.

Any way you look at it, unless you’re a gun loon, the problem is the guns. And yes, I know that guns don’t fire themselves. However, if you leave a bar falling down drunk, dram shop laws mean the bartender or bar owner who sees you are drunk as hell and about to get behind the wheel of a car has a responsibility to at least try to stop you from driving, and to report you to the police if they can’t. It’s another one of those things that we seem to be able to do t control cars that we apparently cannot do when it comes to guns.

In point of fact, the solution to our gun problem comes with treating guns like cars. All guns should be tied to their owner. That means they should be registered and tracked, so that law enforcement always knows who is responsible for a gun that is used in a crime. There should also be a requirement that a stolen gun is reported immediately.

In addition, all gun owners and carriers should have to be licensed. That means, they should have to demonstrate that they know how to use a gun, that they’re aware of gun safety and that they know the laws surrounding owning a gun.

Also, all gun owners should have to keep their gun locked away when not in use, and they should have to have an insurance policy, to pay for any and all damages caused by the gun owner’s negligence. That doesn’t mean all gun owners are dangerous. In fact, it’s the opposite. We don’t carry car insurance because we’re really bad drivers; even good drivers carry insurance, just in case. The rest of us shouldn’t have to pay because someone else can’t keep their gun secure.

All of these measures would go a long way toward solving most of our gun problem. And before you claim this is too much and such measures will have a major impact on gun sales, first of all, I say good. However, all of the above are required of all car owners, and traffic hasn’t suffered, has it. I don’t see many people being denied their right to own and drive a car with all of these measures. On the other hand, I also don’t see daily instances in which licensed drivers are running into huge crowds, either.

We have to do something about guns and mental illness, but don’t be fooled; the two are not related.

About Milt Shook

A writer with more than 45 years in the political game (and let's face it, it is a game). I am a liberal because facts have a liberal bias, and I really like facts. If you like facts, you'll like this blog. If not, you'll have a hard time.


The Problem is Guns, Not Mental Illness — 5 Comments

  1. Shortly after the Parkland shooting, you may remember another school shooting, this one in Texas. The kid used his father’s gun, which the father didn’t secure.

    If that same kid threw a keg party when his parents went away for the weekend and someone had too much to drink and killed someone while driving home, the parents would face civil and/or criminal penalties.

    I don’t see why the father should not have been held liable for his negligence.

  2. We do need to be treating mental illness in this country because it is directly the cause of the gun violence.
    Wayne LaPierre and Mitch McConnell are both mentally ill and that is part of the reason they oppose and refuse to endorse and enact reasonable gun laws.

  3. Hey Milt, you ever noticed the NRA or these spineless “con”servatives never attach the mental illness or video game blame claim when they try and distract you with shootings in Chicago or other predominately black areas? Even though I would argue that most young black American men suffer from some form of PTSD growing up in this country.

    • Good insight Jim…..also notice when the right blames gun violence on video games but no one has yet to discover a mass shooter quoting Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto