5 months, 3 weeks ago
Perhaps someone else I regularly read alerted me to this, but if so, I certainly overlooked it. This one slid under the wire with me. Comments close at midnight on April 7th, so these comments will have to suffice. Prince Law Offices filed an objection to the rulemaking, and their filing is worth reading. They observe that “few in the Firearms Industry wanted to take a stand against this new notice of proposed rulemaking.” Perhaps so, but I’m not in the “industry.” And I do indeed take a strong stand against this rulemaking. Herein are my comments to the ATF.
The ATF is not the appropriate bureau of the executive to make decisions on adjudication on metal health of any sort. Furthermore, even qualified individuals disagree with the notion that this will ameliorate crime or other nefarious uses of firearms. Witness the following list of experts.
Dr. J. Michael Bostwick, Mayo Clinic: “We physicians generally do not know enough about firearms to have an informed conversation with our patients, let alone counsel them about gun safety.” He continues by arguing:
- Even if every mentally ill person in the country were registered, the system isn’t prepared to handle them — and only about half of the states require registration.
- Only about 10 percent of mentally ill people are registered — and these are people who have been committed, they’ve come to attention in a way that requires court intervention.
- Literature says the vast majority of people who do these kinds of shootings are not mentally ill — or it is recognized after the fact.
- The majority of mentally ill people aren’t dangerous.
Dr. Richard Friedman: ” … there is overwhelming epidemiological evidence that the vast majority of people with psychiatric disorders do not commit violent acts. Only about 4 percent of violence in the United States can be attributed to people with mental illness.”
Dr. Barry Rosenfeld: “”We’re not likely to catch very many potentially violent people” with laws like the one in New York.”
Dr. Steven Hoge: “One reason even experienced psychiatrists are often wrong is that there are only a few clear signs that a person with a mental illness is likely to act violently.”
And National Journal notes the following.
Perhaps most important, although people with serious mental illness have committed a large percentage of high-profile crimes, the mentally ill represent a very small percentage of the perpetrators of violent crime overall. Researchers estimate that if mental illness could be eliminated as a factor in violent crime, the overall rate would be reduced by only 4 percent. That means 96 percent of violent crimes—defined by the FBI as murders, robberies, rapes, and aggravated assaults—are committed by people without any mental-health problems at all. Solutions that focus on reducing crimes by the mentally ill will make only a small dent in the nation’s rate of gun-related murders, ranging from mass killings to shootings that claim a single victim. It’s not just that the mentally ill represent a minority of the country’s population; it’s also that the overlap between mental illness and violent behavior is poor.
Attempts to restrict firearms ownership for the rightful and God-granted purposes of self defense suffer from lack of legitimacy (since ATF isn’t the right place for such rules to be born) and outrageous prejudice and bigotry, evil features of mankind’s sinful nature that have no place whatsoever in American society.
Since propensity to violence isn’t in any way able to be correlated to mental health issues, and since the mentally ill do not in large measure commit acts of violence at a higher rate than those who are supposedly mentally sound, this rulemaking is unjust and no more than an abortion. Violence is a function of evil rather than mental soundness, something that an ATF questionnaire or doctor’s examination cannot quantify or repair.