Gun Background Checks Costly and Ineffective

Rob Wipond
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Even though the White House describes it as the “most important tool” for stopping gun crime, the $650 million National Instant Criminal Background Check System “is failing to keep guns away from the dangerously mentally ill,” according to a News21 investigation published by Philly.com. The main problem, explains News21, is that people diagnosed with mental illnesses do not often commit violent crimes, and mental health professionals and courts cannot accurately predict who might become violent.

“Every one of the country’s mass shooters since January 2009 could have slipped through NICS, according to a July 2014 study by the gun control organization Everytown for Gun Safety,” writes News21. “In 12 out of the 110 incidents identified by Everytown, the shooters had demonstrated some evidence of a mental illness, but there was no evidence that any of them had been mentally adjudicated or involuntarily committed for treatment.”

“The ability of mental health professionals to pick out who’s going to be violent, it’s not much better than a coin toss. It’s a needle in a haystack,” a medical sociologist who studies the intersection of guns and mental illness told News21. “To focus only on mental health is misguided.”

“It’s really casting a very wide net to try to find a few people, which is largely an impossible task,” the head of forensics at the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services told News21. “It’s not really a good public health measure. We really need to find a better way of doing this.”

Background checks failing in mission (Philly.com, August 26, 2014)

7 COMMENTS

  1. Doctors claim people have “serious mental illnesses” for personal reasons, not based upon any actual science. In my case, I was defamed with a “serious mental illness” because my PCP was paranoid of a malpractice suit, since her husband was the “attending physician” at a “bad fix” on my broken bone.

    Of course spending $650 million to target those with “serious mental illnesses,” is not going to prevent gun violence. “Serious mental illness” stigmatizations have nothing to do with whether a person is violent or not, and everything to do with doctors’ pocketbooks.

    Although the psych meds do cause some people to become violent. Perhaps the doctors should stop forcing drugs known to cause “suicides, mania, and violence” onto patients instead. And since medical “mistakes” are the third leading killer of Americans, perhaps our society should look at those killing the most people as a societal problem instead?

    • Worse even – in this day and age everyone who commits a violent crime is immediately diagnosed with something, often post mortem. That’s how you create a perception in the general public that mental illness=violence. Brevik was even diagnosed with schizophrenia initially but it was later changed, probably because the “professionals” got laughed out of the park.

  2. People need to come to terms with the reality that certainly psychiatrists, and increasingly other medical professionals, have to be dealt with as you would deal with law enforcement. Be courteous and polite to them but do not say anything when interacting with them that could be miscontrued to be used against you.

    My personal view is that people should stop seeing psychiatrists altogether. For those for whom this is not an option, they should keep the above in mind.

    • It is sad that the medical community is no longer trustworthy, but they’ve been fed a lot of misinformation over the past several decades. What’s the purpose of paying doctors the big bucks, though, if you have to research everything yourself anyway because they’re still being fed misinformation?

    • The best advice I’ve seen comes from Millenium trilogy by Stieg Larsson:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_series
      Just don’t talk to them at all. Unfortunately it still may get you a diagnosis by proxy (if they get your hands of your family etc.) or a diagnosis of something based on refusing to talk but it makes their case a bit more difficult.
      Btw, the psychiatrist in the novel is a type I can totally recognise from real life “professionals” which is beyond creepy.

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