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View Diary: Daily Kos/PPP Poll: NRA and GOP grossly out-of-step with America ... including Republicans (235 comments)

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  •  My guess is (3+ / 0-)
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    Boris49, MPociask, BachFan

    its an implementation problem.  The people want Congress to act, and act immediately.

    It is easy to say, 'OK, lets ban assault Weapons.'  You write it up, it's the law.  Doesn't matter if crazy people still get their hands on killing devices. You 'tried'.

    Try implementing a nation-wide mental health awareness and screening program, that is fed to the federal government, who then needs to feed that into its registry and then to the gun store owners.  Oh yeah, and the mental health screens would have to be mandatory, and yearly, for the purchaser and their immediate family ...

    Not to mention doctor/patient confidentiality ... and the fact that mental health registries would start to be demanded by employers, insurance providers, etc ...

    •  The other thing with mental health (1+ / 0-)
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      Understand, I am 100% for a better mental health system.  I am for Kucinich's Medicare for All Plan, that would provide health, dental, and mental benefits to all Americans.  But for everyone says, we need a better mental health care system to catch these people!

      Mental health care is for the most part a completely voluntary system.  And say you force a mental check when you register for a gun - well, what does that mean?  What if you're being successfully treated with medication for clinical depression?  Do you have less rights because your brain is different than other people's, even though you're treating that condition?  Or, if you do get the license, then do you then do random inspections to make sure every gun owner is taking their prescribed medications?  And where do you draw the line?  Half the victims of gun violence every year are suicides - do we start mandating mental check ups for everyone?

      There are no easy answers, on any of this.  That's not an excuse for inaction, but it is a call to really grapple with and understand the challenges any solution offers.

      •  4 (1+ / 0-)
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        I would especially say that medical records should be sacrosanct. We don't need to add to the stigma of mental illness by doing anything that encourages potentially dangerous people to not seek treatment.

        If a psychologist or psychiatrist believes someone is a clear and present danger to others, they should be able to flag that patient for further examination if they were to try to buy a gun. But for everyone with medical records indicating treatment (and not commitment, etc.) there are 2 people who are untreated or undertreated that are likely to be more dangerous.

      •  Good points all (0+ / 0-)

        The fact that half the victims of gun violence are suicides by itself I would argue makes the case that gun possession or access should be dependent on the mental state of the individual.  It is tough though, because you only need one bullet from a gun to kill yourself.  An assault weapons ban isn't going to do a thing in this regard.

        Common sense dictates that people suffering from depression probably shouldn't own fire arms (like people who experience seizures or the elderly who's reaction time is questionable probably shouldn't drive cars, etc ...) but it really isn't cut and dry.

        And you are correct.  A person with mental problems may in fact chose not to seek treatment is they knew that by doing so they might lose possession of their fire arms.  However, the safety of the community dictates that crazy people shouldn't be armed.  Tying the mental health assessments to some sort of gun ownership license might be a way to address this.

        And if the problem is public stigma, then the signature of a practicing (accredited) physiologist should be perfectly reasonable.  The government wouldn't know the intricate details of your personal psyche.  It would only know if your physiologist signed on the dotted line.

    •  There's no problem with any of this. (1+ / 0-)
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      People who want to own lethal weapons would have to subject themselves to regular mental health examinations.  It's simply a condition of licensure.  We require examinations for a number of occupations.  For example, pilots and truck drivers are regularly tested for mind-altering substances.  This is no different.

      As far as doctor/patient confidentiality, I'm not sure what you're talking about.  The state and federal governments already collect a lot of very sensitive personal health information about people.  I am listed in a registry maintained by the state of California's department of public health as a person who is infected with HIV.  The registry is confidential, but the state has an interest in tracking people with communicable diseases.  It has no less an interest in tracking mentally unstable people with access to guns.

      You say employers, insurance providers, and others would start demanding these mental health registries.  That's an entirely hypothetical scenario, and even if those entities were to do so, the law could simply require that the registries be kept confidential, just as states' registries of HIV+ people are, or as patients' medical information is under HIPPA.

      Sure, this kind of program would cost money, but gun rights advocates are the ones claiming that mental illness is the issue, rather than the ridiculous number of firearms available in this country.  If that's what these advocates truly believe, and assuming this whole mental illness discussion is sincere and not a smokescreen, then they should be pushing hard for this kind of program.

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 12:18:53 PM PST

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      •  The problem with the registry (0+ / 0-)

        and the sharing of that obtained information is that to this point, these are at the state level (at least the ones we know about...).

        California and other liberal states are much more likely to be open with this type of information, whereas conservative states don't like the idea of their information being collected.  I'd wager that it is these conservative states that possess the vast majority of semi automatic firearms.

        •  That's why you create a national registry. (1+ / 0-)
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          The only way to control the proliferation of guns is to do it on a national basis.  Lax gun laws in one state make controls in adjoining states far less effective.  Just look at what Virginia's lack of regulation has done to places like DC and New York City.

          This is a nationwide problem and it therefore requires a nationwide solution.  

          "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

          by FogCityJohn on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 10:20:12 AM PST

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          •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

            ... I am saying that getting a national gun registry would be a lot easier then getting a national mental-health registry.

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