Monday, December 17, 2012


The President wants to do something to protect children from gun violence. The NRA wants the same thing. So there is the starting point for some movement.

"Robert A. Levy, chairman of the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute and one of the organizers behind a Supreme Court case that in 2008 enshrined a Second Amendment right for individuals to own guns, said Sunday that with more than 250 million guns already in circulation in the United States, restrictions on new weapons would make little difference. He said by e-mail that tough gun laws did not stop a mass shooting in Norway or regular violence in places like the District of Columbia.

“I’m skeptical about the efficacy of gun regulations imposed across the board — almost exclusively on persons who are not part of the problem,” he said. “To reduce the risk of multivictim violence, we would be better advised to focus on early detection and treatment of mental illness. An early detection regime might indeed be the basis for selective gun access restrictions that even the N.R.A. would support.”['These Tragedies Must End,' Obama Says, by Mark Landler and Peter Baker, New York Times, 12-16-12.]

Nothing will be done politically, without support of the NRA, and Mr. Levy states they will support selective access to guns and detection and treatment of the mentally ill. Now we get into privacy laws and another amendment in the Bill of Rights, the Fourth Amendment. Just as intransigent as the NRA and Mr. Levy are regarding the Second Amendment so to is the ACLU towards the Fourth Amendment. These are not trivial issues and at first blush any common sense solutions to killing children should be obvious. Stop the mentally ill from access to guns. But what is mental illness? What is violent mental illness? Who has access to your medical records … the police, politicians, bureaucrats? At what stage is a determination made to restrict your right under the Second Amendment? At what point is your Fourth Amendment rights less protected than mine?

Another issue is the doctor protected from violating the doctor/patient privilege if he determines a patient is a danger to himself or others?  But he must have access to the person to determine this. We have read numerous antidotal accounts of the difficulty families [I Am Adam Lanza's Mother] have gaining access to competent mental health professionals. It's expensive and states simply have no money to fund mental health resources. Furthermore, at this time, intervention is reactive rather than proactive. A proactive approach can cast a wide net that includes malicious finger pointing by irate spouses, etc.

I know I am getting into the weeds on this but I have seen too many common sense solutions get derailed by vested interest.

I guess we need to determined if preventing the killing of our children is in the national interest. We need to determine if killing our children is a clear and present danger to the nation. If that is agreed upon than  protecting them is easier. And I also believe that we initially must keep our focus narrowed on schools. Keeping it simple and focused will build an alliance of disparate interests. Then maybe, just maybe we can stop killing some of our children.

In Town At Ease With Firearms, Tightening Gun Rules Was Resisted
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