Ben Carson wants a national database of potential mass killers
In a conversation with Business Insider promoting his new book, presidential candidate Ben Carson suggested creating a national database to keep "dangerous individuals" from accessing guns. In the aftermath of the mass shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, Carson wants to stop unstable people from slipping through state systems, which are under no federal mandate to share information.
From Business Insider:
In the case of both the shooter in Aurora and the one at Virginia Tech, there was evidence that these were dangerous people. And that could be easily in a database. We have the mechanism for doing stuff, but we have to act on it
Common sense will tell you that you're not going to put dangerous weapons in somebody's hands like that. That seems like a big part of our problem. Common sense — we don't seem to have it.
Carson doesn't stop there. The retired neurosurgeon says he is not opposed to lifting a ban on federal funding at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for research on the causes of gun violence.
President Obama brought up the same issue in his post-Roseburg remarks, stating, “We have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially prevent gun deaths.” Does Carson agree? Since taxpayer monies have already poured into the National Institutes of Health, the CDC, HHS, academia, and foundations for research after Obama issued 23 executive orders directing federal agencies in 2013 to study the problem, why not a national database to collect information on “mentally ill” Americans?
In the interview, Carson said he did not know the “rationale” behind the ban, “because it doesn’t make a lot of sense.” When Business Insider quoted outgoing House Speaker John Boehner’s reason for the ban, that “a gun is not a disease,” Carson replied:
It sounds sort of like a political football, when in fact what we need to be doing is what I said before — seeing what we can glean from these incidents so that we can begin to identify these people early on...Removing guns have nothing to do with it.
Dr. Carson says taking guns away from potentially dangerous individuals has "nothing to do with it.” Yet if certain officials pre-emptively identify the people and put them on a list, isn't the whole idea to make sure they are not able to acquire weapons?
A database of potential mass murderers is a recipe for disaster. Who controls the list? What are the criteria? If someone is on anti-depressants, will he or she make the list? What about a congressman who's been to rehab for addiction? What about a stay in a mental health facility because of stress? How about due process? What does one have to do to be removed from the list? Then there's the current administration. Addressing the Umpqua school shooting last week, Obama called out gun rights advocates as "crackpot conspiracy" theorists. How long would it take before those "crackpots" made the list?
Carson seems to be looking for solutions in all the wrong places. In 2013 he told Glenn Beck that having a weapon “depends on where you live. I think if you live in the midst of a lot of people, and I’m afraid that semi-automatic weapon is going to fall into the hands of a crazy person, I would rather you not have it. However, when you live ‘out in the country somewhere by yourself,’ and want to own a semi-automatic weapon, I’ve no problem with that.”
As a conservative candidate, it’s worrisome Carson proposes more restrictions and more government intrusion into our lives.