Essay about Gun Control Versus Mental Illness

2077 Words Jul 30th, 2013 9 Pages
The Debate over Gun Control versus Mental Illness
Jeffrey Glass
July 14, 2013
Erin Fagan

The Debate over Gun Control versus Mental Illness
The debate over gun control is not a new argument, neither is the existence of mental illness. There have been those who support and those who oppose gun control for many years. What has recently re-ignited the debate is an increase in mass shootings over the past few decades; one in particular is the Newtown, Connecticut, massacre. Incidents, such as this, fuel anger and fear, driving many to question the need for firearms in modern society, while others cite these incidents as a reason for remaining armed. The purpose of gun control is to limit the amount of violence in today’s
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10). Although this task force is ongoing and at times overreaching in some aspects, it is a step in the right direction. Other states are reevaluating their mental healthcare policies and questioning the cuts that have been made to these programs.
New York is addressing the issue of mental illness and gun ownership through new legislation that targets those diagnosed with mental illness. Old legislation required a court order to prohibit firearms sales to individuals with a clinically diagnosed mental illness. Under new legislation backed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a court order is no longer necessary. The new laws require only that a mental health professional inform local officials that a patient is likely to harm themselves or someone else (Ollove, 2013). Upon passage of the bill in January 2013, Cuomo stated “People who have mental health issues should not have guns. They could hurt themselves. They could hurt other people.”- These laws in New York almost mirror the federal laws accept for the fact that, on a federal level, this law still requires a court order to limit sales to an individual deemed mentally unfit. Some states like Colorado have considered legislation that would make it easier to involuntarily commit people, thus making it easier to take away their gun ownership rights (Ollove, 2013). There are those who disagree with this type of legislation, citing arguments that these kinds of laws would deter those who need help from seeking help for

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