On Wednesday, January 16, 2013, CNN reported that President Barack Obama signed 23 executive orders concerning gun control. While on the surface the ideas may not sound too extreme, especially in the name of “reducing gun violence,” as Detroit Gun Rights Examiner, Rob Reed points out, they have some very real dangers.
He specifically addresses two of the orders.
1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
Order one mentions “relevant data.” What exactly is this data which is relevant and must be readily available in order to obtain a firearm?
Order four refers to specific “categories” of people who are “dangerous.” Who falls into these categories and what makes these people dangerous?
Reed then goes on to list some types of people who may fall into this category, which all sounds somewhat reasonable.
However, in the weeks following the Newtown shooting, much emphasis has been put on mental health issues. There’s no doubt that Adam Lanza had mental health issues and would definitely fall into a category of dangerous people. A category of dangerous people could very well likely - and reasonably so – be people who admittedly have homicidal thoughts. However, mental health can be an extremely complicated matter.
Consider this story.
Late one night a young girl stops at a local gas station on her way home. After coming out of the store, she walks towards her car. A man approaches her and asks for a cigarette. She feels nervous, so quickly tries to get him a cigarette, hoping that he will accept it and walk away. As she fumbles for a cigarette he pulls a gun on her and tells her to hand over her car keys and get in the back seat of the car. Having no way to defend herself and knowing that there is nobody around, she complies and gets into the back seat.
He drives to a nearby wooded area near a park. He then gets out of the car and proceeds to rape her in the back seat of her own car. When he is finished, he simply walks away and disappears into the woods. Feeling dirty, ashamed and embarrassed the girl drives home. She doesn’t go to the police station; she does not report the crime.
After a long fall into a downward spiral she finally decides to seek counseling. During her therapy she reveals the rape and the self-destructive behavior that followed. At each session her psychiatrist asks her if she has had any thoughts of hurting herself or others. She is honest and answers yes every time. She continues with therapy for several years.
Part of her therapy and getting over the rape is learning to feel safe again. She purchases a handgun, learns how to use it, and applies for a conceal carry permit. As her therapy sessions come to an end, she recovers mentally from the rape. She now feels safe again, able to protect herself and able to avoid becoming a victim again.
Life carries on.
Years later the president decides that people who have a history of mental health issues, especially those with suicidal and homicidal thoughts, should not be allowed to own firearms. This is supposedly for the greater good of the country, to protect everyone.
There is a record of the girl’s suicidal and homicidal thoughts, but no record of the rape. As a result her gun is taken and she is now once again vulnerable to become another victim.
Is it fair to strip a rape victim of the right to defend herself on the basis of a history of homicidal thoughts? She has been over the incident for years, but they will say that at some point something could trigger a flashback and cause her to dramatically regress.
Who decides who is mentally fit to own a gun and who is not? What about the veteran with PTSD? The father on antidepressants because he just lost his son? Or the single mom of an autistic boy who struggles to get through each day?
President Obama even admitted that he realizes that the rights recognized by the Construction are unalienable rights, meaning that they are fundamental rights that every person has as a human being. Is it the government’s place to revoke these rights, which essentially says that some people are more human than others?
©2013 Jennifer L. Cruz. All Rights Reserved.