Laws can Turn Crazy People into 'Instant Criminals'

Federal law prohibits the sale of guns to anyone diagnosed as mentally ill. Let's think about that: who but a crazy person wants a gun--the kind designed for taking human life, not those other articles designed for killing our furry outdoor friends?

Put aside the obvious, and the law makes sense. Crazy people might not exercise the proper judgment with a weapon of mass destruction (Cho's gun qualifies--he killed 30 people in a matter of seven minutes.).

But who can say who is crazy? The Associated Press reports today that "privacy laws and lack of technical ability now prevent 28 states from sharing [mental health records] with the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System based in Clarksburg, West Virginia."

Did you catch that? Instant Criminal Background Check. A case of a misplaced modifier--are we prejudging people--or do we simply know what's going on around us?

What to do? Congress "is considering a bill that would encourage states to share mental health records" with the feds, according to the AP. The proposed law would override state privacy laws. The irony is, of course, that it's no secret who the nuts are in the first place. Just ask the FBI.
UPDATE: The AP reports on April 30 that Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine issued an executive order requiring that a database of people banned from buying guns include the name of anyone who is found to be dangerous and ordered to get involuntary mental health treatment. Because Cho had been treated as an outpatient and never committed to a mental health hospital, the court's decision was not entered into the database that gun dealers must check. Now it doesn't matter whether the treatment in inpatient or outpatient. Cho did not disclose his mental health problems or the court-ordered treatment in a form he completed before buying the guns. Nevertheless, another loophole remains: Cho could have bought guns from buy-and-trade publications, individual transactions among hobbyists an collectors, and bazaars.

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