The recent killings have exposed a lack of ability on the part of family, doctors, mental health professionals and the legal community to determine in advance of their crimes that the men who murdered were a danger to others.
When there was evidence of mental illness – as in the case of the Virginia State and the Colorado movie theater killers – there was no legal way to protect others from harm.
This is where our State lawmakers should focus their energies.
I’m not sure about the legal precedent – maybe it’s the “every dog gets a bite” theory. (Remember the movie, “Minority Report?” There’s still a healthy belief in free will in our society.)
Physicians are trained to evaluate the evidence not only of our treatments, but of our screening and tests. Is there a way to diagnose and treat those who are a danger to others before they hurt someone? Are our markers for who is a danger to others sensitive enough?
Then, we need to address treatment of the individuals, themselves. is there effective treatment?
The mental illness of these very few individuals doesn’t change the right of everyone around them to defend – and to prepare to defend – themselves. If there isn’t a reliable marker or treatment for the individual, is there justification for “treating” the entire population by infringing on the right guaranteed in the Second Amendment?
History in Australia, China, and other countries where limits on gun possession are strong – or in Switzerland or Israel, where a large percentage of citizens are armed – does not support the efficacy of disarming law abiding citizens as a means to make everyone safer.
Those who question the right to keep and bear arms need to read about the Founders’ purpose in ratifying the Bill of Rights in the first place and review the process for amending the Constitution. If the right of the People to defend ourselves against any aggressor has changed, there is a Constitutional means to repeal the Second Amendment.
In the meantime, deciding who does and who does not have the right to keep and bear arms is equivalent to deciding who is and who is not “the People.” I don’t believe we want to begin a movement to base any limit – any infringement – on that right, any more than we want to limit the rest of the Bill of Rights.