P5a: Keep Guns Out of the Hands of the Mentally Ill

Note: I haven’t found a well-defined statement of this proposal. For example, which DSM-V diagnoses would qualify as “mentally ill” for purposes of this proposal?

1) What problem does it solve?

Mass shootings

2) How well does it solve the problem?

Affirmative Answer: (?)

Negative Answer:
(a) We don’t have a well-defined list of DSM-V diagnoses.

(b) Due process is still owed to the potentially mentally ill.

(c) Most of the mass shootings have not been committed by mentally ill people. (Note this contradicts point a.)

“In an analysis of some 350 mass killers going back a century, about 22 percent were found to likely have had psychosis; the rate in the general population is closer to 1 percent. A much smaller percentage had severe depression…”

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/15/us/gun-access-mentally-ill.html

(d) Difficult to implement:

“To say no one with mental illness should have a gun — how do you accomplish that?” said Ronald Honberg, senior policy adviser for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “Does that mean anybody that goes to a therapist for depression or anxiety should be reported and put in a database and prohibited from purchasing a firearm? That would impact a fair number of police officers.”

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/15/us/gun-access-mentally-ill.html

3) What new problems does it add?

Affirmative Answer: None

Negative Answer: None

4) What are the economic and social costs?

Affirmative Answer: None

Negative Answer: With due process, it adds the economic costs of additional court proceedings. Without due process, it takes away the constitutional rights of people accused of being mentally ill without their day in court.

5) Given the above, is it worth the costs?

Affirmative Answer: Yes

Negative Answer: No

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