Is gun control the answer?

The Newtown, Conn., shooting brought out the gun-control advocates. But is gun control the answer, or must we really look to other areas? There has been little discussion of the mental-health issues and the environment surrounding the perpetrators of these massacres. The sheer nature of these violent attacks on our citizens makes it quite evident that there is and always has been a mental-health component in any attempt at mass killing of individuals.

We have research data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the law that implemented the Federal Assault Weapons Ban that was in effect from Sept. 13, 1994 until Sept. 13, 2004. The data indicates that bans and gun-control laws have little to no impact in decreasing violent gun crimes. Based on that data we should now be looking at other areas for the reason behind these violent episodes.

Mental-health issues have been identified as part of the makeup of each of the gun-wielding killers in Aurora, Colo., Newtown, Tucson, Ariz., and Virginia Tech. We now should approach our current laws dealing with mental-health issues in a new light. We should be looking at new and more effective ways of identifying and dealing with those whose mental stability has been brought into question.

North Carolina, like many other states, has closed the state-run inpatient facilities for mental health. These closures have left the state with no facilities to house the mentally ill except within our local communities. It also has left the state with no state-run inpatient facility totally dedicated to the mental health of its citizens. A state-run inpatient facility would also be an excellent research facility to identify behavior associated with individuals who perpetrate such crimes.

From research we know that gun control is not the answer. We must now redirect our efforts for the future and do whatever we can to limit or stop future massacres. To find a solution, research will have to be performed. Do we really have the facilities to do research on mental-health issues to identify the causes that prompted those who have perpetrated these murders?

— Ray Shamlin
Rocky Mount

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3 thoughts on “Is gun control the answer?

  1. Tycer

    So, if we are to believe that the assault weapons ban has been tried and proven to fail and that the 20,000 gun control laws are also failing to stop violence in gun-free zones like our schools what is the answer? Perhaps you are correct, when we dumped our mental health programs in the 80s we created an unchecked epidemic. Can we fix it? Is there a faster way? Could NC follow Utah’s 1995 directive to ignore the Federal Gun Free Schools Act and allow trained Concealed Carry permit holders in schools? Do we give teachers, administrators and staff the option to take an intensive firearms course in addition to the concealed carry course and be our first line of defense until we can get the madmen in check? If gun control is not working, and taking guns from criminals is impossible what is the solution to protect our children?

  2. Tycer

    I suggest to anyone who has not read “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother” by Liza Long to google it right now. Gawker.com has a clean copy to read. This beautiful essay highlights the need for reform in our mental health programs.

  3. faithrr

    1) It is well-known that the “mentally ill” are far more likely to be victims of crimes than perpetrators.
    2) It is known, through the research done by pharmaceutical companies themselves, that many drugs (antidepressants, stimulants, steroids) increase the risk of suicidality and homicidality.
    3) It is well-known that being treated as a subhuman animal, housed and researched, contributes mightily to alienation and despair and that forced treatment is, itself, violent.
    4) It is known that many people who are deemed “mentally ill” are not mentally ill at all.
    6) We live in a sick society.

    Re-institutionalization? Wrong answer.

    As for I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother, here:

    http://www.madinamerica.com/2012/12/a-challenge-to-i-am-adam-lanzas-mother/

    http://www.madinamerica.com/2012/12/a-reflection-on-mothers-children-and-mental-illness-2/

    Recovery and Nonviolence, Dr. Patricia Deegan
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=a2xKB–cfes

    Sanity in A Culture of Mass Murder
    http://wagingnonviolence.org/2012/12/sanity-in-a-culture-of-mass-murder/

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