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

P2: Repeal the Second Amendment

This post is part of a long series of planned blog posts about proposed gun control measures to reduce the risk of mass shootings.

1) What problem does it solve?

Mass shootings

2) How well does it solve the problem?

Affirmative Answer: Australia!

“In 1996, Australia passed the National Firearms Agreement after a mass shooting in Tasmania in April of that year. In that incident, a 28-year-old man, armed with a semi-automatic rifle, shot and killed 35 people, and injured 18 others, in what was known as the Port Arthur Massacre.

“Under the 1996 law, Australia banned certain semi-automatic, self-loading rifles and shotguns, and imposed stricter licensing and registration requirements. It also instituted a mandatory buyback program for firearms banned by the 1996 law.

“Since 1996, the number and rate of homicides — defined as murder and manslaughter — has fallen. Below is the chart that appeared in our 2009 Ask FactCheck article, showing a 20 percent decline in homicides from 1996 to 2007.”

Source: https://www.factcheck.org/2017/10/gun-control-australia-updated/

Negative Answer:
(a) https://www.citylab.com/life/2018/02/australia-ambassador-on-why-gun-laws-cant-save-america/553655/

(b) “I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/i-used-to-think-gun-control-was-the-answer-my-research-told-me-otherwise/2017/10/03/d33edca6-a851-11e7-92d1-58c702d2d975_story.html?utm_term=.54b2ea8d5fbb

3) What new problems does it add?

Affirmative Answer: None

Negative Answer: (?)

4) What are the economic and social costs?

Affirmative Answer: (?)

Negative Answer: An unarmed citizenry would be unable to oppose a tyrannous government.

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

Affirmative Answer: Yes

Negative Answer: No

P7b: Notice Socially Isolated People and Engage Them

This post is part of a long series of planned blog posts about proposed gun control measures to reduce the risk of mass shootings.

Link to Serious Example of this Proposal:

https://mystudentapt.com/2015/10/06/theres-a-way-to-stop-mass-shootings-and-you-wont-like-it/

1) What problem does it solve?

Loneliness is what causes mass shooters to lash out.

2) How well does it solve the problem?

Affirmative Answer: When done, it is excellent! People with solid connections to other people don’t indiscriminately fire guns at strangers.

Negative Answer:  Some experts posit that it’s anger not loneliness that drives mass shootings. The FL shooter had friends and a social network— some of whom were white supremacists. (H/T: Elinora Price)

3) What new problems does it add?

Affirmative Answer: None

Negative Answer: (?)

4) What are the economic and social costs?

Affirmative Answer: (?)

Negative Answer: (?)

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

Affirmative Answer: Yes

Negative Answer: No (?)

P7a: Improve Access to Mental Health Care

This post is part of a long series of planned blog posts about proposed gun control measures to reduce the risk of mass shootings.

Link to Serious Example of this Proposal: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr1982

1) What problem does it solve?

Some / many / most (choose your word) mass shooters are mentally ill.

There is a clear relationship between mental illness and mass public shootings.

At the broadest level, peer-reviewed research has shown that individuals with major mental disorders (those that substantially interfere with life activities) are more likely to commit violent acts, especially if they abuse drugs. When we focus more narrowly on mass public shootings — an extreme and, fortunately, rare form of violence — we see a relatively high rate of mental illness.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-duwe-rocque-mass-shootings-mental-illness-20180223-story.html

2) How well does it solve the problem? 

Affirmative Answer: It wouldn’t entirely solve the problem, but it would help mitigate it. Mental Health Therapists (MHTs) are passionate about their work and are not greedy individuals(usually), most would do some pro-bono work for some type of kick back that would cost less than it would to cover a person through Medicaid/Medicare. Student loan debt reduction in exchange for x number of annual pro-Bono hours, for example, would be something that probably many MHTs would be interested in.

Negative Answer: Poorly.

(a) The majority of mass shooters weren’t mentally ill.

“If we were able to magically cure schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression, that would be wonderful,” Jeffrey Swanson, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Duke University School of Medicine, told ProPublica. “But overall violence would go down by only about 4 percent.”

Source: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/10/why-better-mental-health-care-wont-stop-mass-shootings/541965/

See also: https://www.npr.org/2018/02/23/588374658/experts-say-theres-little-connection-between-mental-health-and-mass-shootings

(b) Furthermore, some mental illnesses like sociopathy, cannot be treated with medication or psychotherapy.

3) What new problems does it add?

Affirmative Answer: (?)

Negative Answer: (?)

4) What are the economic and social costs?

Affirmative Answer: Free access to mental health care has a large (economic) cost, but that cost outweighs the the harm caused by mass shootings.

Negative Answer: Free access to mental health care has a large (economic) cost.

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

Affirmative Answer: Yes

Negative Answer: No

P6: Allow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to Study Gun Violence as a Public Health Problem

This post is part of a long series of planned blog posts about proposed gun control measures to reduce the risk of mass shootings.

Link to Serious Example of this Proposal:  https://blog.ucsusa.org/charise-johnson/cdc-scientists-plea-to-congress-let-us-research-gun-violence

1) What problem does it solve?
While motor-vehicle deaths are tracked in minute detail in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, no such comparable database exists for gun deaths. Basic questions like exactly how many households own guns are not definitively answered.

2) How well does it solve the problem?

Affirmative Answer: Well

Negative Answer: (TBD)

3) What new problems does it add?

Affirmative Answer: None

Negative Answer: Such research is politically motivated. It is a slippery slope towards trying to take away people’s guns.

4) What are the economic and social costs?

Affirmative Answer: A negligible amount in the huge budget of the US federal government

Negative Answer: (TBD)

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

Affirmative Answer: Yes

Negative Answer: No

P5d: Raise the Legal Purchase Age to 21

This post is one among many in a long series of planned blog posts about proposed gun control measures to reduce the risk of mass shootings.

Link to Serious Example of this Proposalhttp://lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/who-can-have-a-gun/minimum-age/

1) What problem does it solve?

“… data shows that young adults account for a disproportionate number of gun homicides and suicides.” http://lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/who-can-have-a-gun/minimum-age/

2) How well does it solve the problem?

Affirmative Answer:

Laws that prohibit unsupervised possession or purchase of firearms by children and young people can prevent tragedies. Based on data from the FBI, 18- to 24-year-olds account for a disproportionate percentage of arrests for homicide and violent crime in general. A survey of convicted gun offenders in 13 states found that nearly a quarter of them would have been prohibited from obtaining firearms at the time of the crime if the minimum legal age for possessing any type of firearm was 21 years. Yet, as described below, federal law and the laws in most states continue to allow unsupervised access to firearms by individuals in these age groups.” http://lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/who-can-have-a-gun/minimum-age/

Negative Answer:

(a) “If the aim merely is to prevent anyone under 21 from possessing a military-style assault weapon, it won’t work and doesn’t make sense. There are millions of such firearms already out there for the grabbing. And the vast majority of mass shootings are committed by older adults, anyway.” http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-skelton-guns-schools-teachers-20180301-story.html

(b) “Of the 23 deadliest shootings in modern U.S. history, three (Parkland, Sandy Hook, and Columbine) were perpetrated by killers younger than 21 who used rifles. The Sandy Hook shooter, who was 20, used a Bushmaster XM-15 bought by his mother, so a higher purchase age clearly would not have thwarted him. The Columbine killers, who were both younger than 18 when they started collecting weapons, obtained two shotguns and a Hi-Point 995 carbine through a straw purchase by an acquaintance who was 18. If the purchase age had been 21, they might have found an older straw buyer, or they might have obtained the long guns through an illegal private sale, which is how they acquired an Intratec TEC-DC9 pistol.” https://reason.com/blog/2018/02/26/can-congress-save-lives-by-raising-the-r

3) What new problems does it add?

Affirmative Answer: None

Negative Answer: None

4) What are the economic and social costs?

Affirmative Answer: TBD

Negative Answer:

(a) It infringes on the rights of people under 21. “For those who believe that all long guns — rifles and shotguns — should be denied to people under 21, that’s an unwarranted infringement on young adults’ rights. That last sentence may sound faintly like a National Rifle Assn. echo, but so be it. Even the NRA can be right sometimes.” http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-skelton-guns-schools-teachers-20180301-story.html

(b) The proposed ban would increase the inconsistencies in age restrictions in federal law. “Doesn’t make sense that an 18-year-old can enlist in the Army and be armed with an automatic M-16 to fight terrorists, but can’t buy a bolt-action plinker back home until he’s 21.” http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-skelton-guns-schools-teachers-20180301-story.html

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

Affirmative Answer: Yes

Negative Answer: No

R3: Armed School Guards

1) What problem does it solve? Mass shooters target unarmed citizens.

2) How well does it solve the problem? 

Affirmative Answer: TBD

Negative Answer: TBD

3) What new problems does it add?

Affirmative Answer: None

Negative Answer:

(a) Creates the risk of a guard’s gun falling into the wrong hands. If a guard is overpowered, we’ve now given someone with bad intentions a weapon.

4) What are the economic and social costs?

Affirmative Answer: Economic cost of armed guards. Social cost of having presence of armed guards in schools.

Negative Answer: Economic cost of armed guards. Social cost of having presence of armed guards in schools.

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

Affirmative Answer: Yes

Negative Answer: No

R2: Arm Teachers

This post is part of a long series of planned blog posts about proposed gun control measures to reduce the risk of mass shootings.

1) What problem does it solve?
Mass shooters target unarmed students, teachers, and school staff.
 
2) How well does it solve the problem?
 
Affirmative Answer:
(a) There is a reactive or response value to this solution: armed teachers could shoot the shooter before police arrived.
(b) There is a preventative (deterrence) value. “Statistics show that mass killers overwhelmingly prefer gun-free zones. Why? Because these killers know that the longer it takes someone to shoot back, the easier it will be for them to kill at will.” See: http://thefederalist.com/2018/02/16/prevent-mass-school-shootings-time-fight-fire-fire/
 
Negative Answer: Poorly. “Most people would not have the nerve, rational thought, or skill to do it on the spot. Providing stop-gap “training” would not address the whole picture. You would be taking people who were trained to educate—many of whom had most likely never owned or even fired a gun—and transforming them into the appointed defenders of schools.” https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/10/29/10moore.h34.html
 
3) What new problems does it add?
 
Affirmative Answer: None
 
Negative Answer:
(a) Increased risk of accidental shootings on school grounds. See, for example, here: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/58505440-78/ferguson-montgomery-toilet-district.html.csp
(b) Teacher’s rights: what if a teacher refuses to carry a gun? Should school districts fire these already stretched, underpaid teachers because they won’t carry a loaded weapon around at work? Imagine the lawsuits that would follow!
 
4) What are the economic and social costs?
 
Affirmative Answer: (?)
 
Negative Answer: (?)
 
5) Given the above, is it worth the costs?
 
Affirmative Answer: Yes
 
Negative Answer: No

P5c: Gun-Violence Restraining Orders (GVROs)

This post is part of a long series of planned blog posts about proposed gun control measures to reduce the risk of mass shootings.

“There is broad conceptual agreement that regardless of whether you view gun ownership as a right or a privilege, a person can demonstrate through their conduct that they have no business possessing a weapon.”
“Felons, the dangerously mentally ill, perpetrators of domestic violence — these people have not only demonstrated their unfitness to own a weapon, they’ve been granted due process to contest the charges or claims against them. There is no arbitrary state action. There is no collective punishment. There is, rather, an individual, constitutional state process, and the result of that process is a set of defined consequences that includes revoking the right to gun ownership.” https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/02/gun-control-republicans-consider-grvo/

Link to Serious Example of this Proposal: http://lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/who-can-have-a-gun/gun-violence-protective-orders/

1) What problem does it solve?
 
“Time and again mass shooters give off warning signals. They issue generalized threats. They post disturbing images. They exhibit fascination with mass killings. But before the deadly act itself, there is no clear path to denying them access to guns. Though people can report their concerns to authorities, sometimes those authorities fail or have limited tools to deal with the emerging danger.” https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/02/gun-control-republicans-consider-grvo/
 
2) How well does it solve the problem?
 
Affirmative Answer: “I don’t pretend that a GVRO is the solution to mass killings. There is no “solution.” It’s a tool, one among many.” https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/02/gun-control-republicans-consider-grvo/
 
Negative Answer: Given what people knew before a mass shooting, it’s doubtful that anyone would have sought a GVRO authorizing confiscation of the shooter’s guns if that option had been available.
 
3) What new problems does it add?
 
Affirmative Answer: None
 
Negative Answer: None
 
4) What are the economic and social costs?
 
Affirmative Answer: TBD
 
Negative Answer: Such orders can easily be used to take away innocent people’s Second Amendment rights.There is much potential for abuse by malicious or mistaken petitioners, abetted by judges who will be inclined to err on the side of what they believe to be caution by revoking the Second Amendment rights of possibly dangerous people. https://reason.com/blog/2018/02/20/are-gun-violence-restraining-orders-cons
 
5) Given the above, is it worth the costs?
 
Affirmative Answer: Yes
 
Negative Answer: No