Gun Control Derangement Syndrome

Activists pushing for gun control are peddling contradictions and strange logic.

Will the ATF's "No Buy" list be any more accurate than TSA's "No Fly" list? If lists are not accurate or meaningful, background checks won't succeed. Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Joe Manchin (R-WV) released a gun-control bill on April 10 that leans heavily on expanding background checks. However, their proposal is only as good as the lists used for the background checks.

First, what happened to patient privacy? The Toomey/Manchin proposal proudly announces that their bill "Clarifies that submissions of mental health records into the NICS system are not prohibited by federal privacy laws (HIPAA)." A retired emergency room physician -- my Dad -- quips that HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) means everyone but the patient can see the patient's medical records. So now every time a patient sees a therapist, the whole world will know?


Gun-control activists want background checks to keep people with mental illness from buying a gun. That's sounds like a great idea. But now thousands of private gun dealers will be reading your confidential and sensitive medical records? I recently worked on a political campaign in which the candidate's medical records were publicly revealed -- taken from divorce records. Gun control will erase the privacy protections of HIPAA.

Red State is reporting that, tipped off by Congressional staffers reviewing the legislation, doctors will be required to add a patient to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) without ever telling the patient. There won't be any due process -- a chance for you to dispute inaccurate information. And everyone's medical and psychiatric records have to be reported, because who knows who is going to walk in tomorrow and ask to buy a gun?

Second, who will be considered mentally ill? According to WBEN in Buffalo, a prescription for anti-anxiety medications can cost you your Second Amendment rights. Buffalo attorney Jim Tresmond reports that he has actual lawsuits underway for two clients whose gun permits were suspended because they were prescribed anti-anxiety medication.

Ashley Judd recounted in her autobiography about her bouts with suicidal tendencies. She was playing the Hollywood victim card in her book. But when she confesses to fighting suicidal temptations, should she be prohibited from buying a gun? I don't think so. But this illustrates how vague and ambiguous the gun control argument is.

What if someone is going through stress or feeling depressed? What if they need help coping with insomnia or phobias? What if they want to home school their children? What if someone thinks the Earth is 6,000 years old, doesn't believe in man-made global warming, or thinks Barack Obama was born in Kenya? Suppose they listen to Rush Limbaugh? If someone was born a man but wants to be surgically altered to become a woman, are they emotionally stable enough to buy a gun?

The point is how overwhelmingly vague and sloppy this gun control "debate" has been (if you can call it a debate). Only certain illnesses present dangers. So why aren't politicians being specific?

Third, however, can anyone really predict future violence? In a Tom Cruise movie Minority Report psychics were used to indict people of "Pre-Crime" -- crimes they have not yet committed. The goal is for psychiatrists to predict who is likely to commit future violence. Truth is, they really can't.

Fourth, liberals think they can keep criminals from having guns. Yet they won't secure our borders. Drug smugglers can walk freely across our borders any time they want. So how hard will it be to smuggle illegal guns and ammunition into the country as long as they are already making the trip? When criminals smuggle in illegal, high-power weapons, unarmed citizens will become even more vulnerable.

Fifth, which are the 'criminals' who shouldn't own guns? Should the Grandmother who was caught voting twice be forbidden from buying a gun? Littering is against the law. People caught possessing marijuana? People guilty of identity theft? Call girls? Drivers convicted of DWI's? In Virginia, there is still a criminal law on the books against "insulting words" and another law criminalizing oral sex even among adults. Someone fraudulently selling poor-quality products? Tax cheats? Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner? A doctor performing an illegal abortion like Dr. Gosnell?

Sixth, background checks catch only convicted criminals. Those who commit crimes but haven't been caught yet can still buy guns. Adam Lanza, the shooter in the Newtown, Connecticut school massacre, would not have been stopped from buying a gun.

Seventh, illegal immigrants are breaking the law. They break the law to enter the country. They break the law a second time by working without a work permit. Many of them break the law by committing identity theft to steal someone else's social security number and identity. Many trespassers break the law again by doing home improvement and construction work without a contractor's license.

Will proof of U.S. citizenship be required every time someone tries to buy a gun? Don't hold your breath waiting for gun control activists to screen everyone for legal immigration status. Do we want foreigners buying guns inside the United States?

Eighth, as we've seen with the "No Fly" list, many people have similar names or the same name. When I asked Delta to look up my frequent flyer number years ago, they responded that Delta had 245 Jonathon Moseley's in their computer system.

Finally, some gun control legislation is being designed around a requirement for gun owners to report stolen weapons. That way if a gun is later used in a crime, if the registered owner didn't report it stolen, they are presumed guilty. Apparently, these activists have never heard of criminals filing the serial numbers off of a gun. Unfortunately, the criminals have heard of it.

Even for those who might not care much about an issue, sometimes the arguments offered just make you want to tear your hair out.

But maybe that's the point.