The short term solution? A law immediately banning semi-automatic weapons & mega-clips. Must have license to own gun. Must pass mental exam.—
Michael Moore (@MMFlint) December 16, 2012
Quite a few tweeters agree:
I don't think gun control and mental health are mutually exclusive. why not just have a mental health exam for anyone wanting to buy a gun?—
Karen E Monroe (@KarenMonroe32) December 17, 2012
I think a mental competency exam should be required to get a gun permit. Background checks should include checking for mental health issues—
Christine Barton (@C_CBarton) December 15, 2012
We would venture to guess that the overwhelmnig majority of Americans, liberals and conservatives alike, do not want mentally disturbed people to own guns.
It is worth noting, however, that such restrictions could not have prevented the Newtown, Conn., shooting, since the suspected shooter did not buy or own his own guns:
Just heard on the news that the guns Adam Lanza used were licensed to his mother… Tighter gun laws would not have stopped this.—
Nia Cooper (@NiaaCooper) December 16, 2012
It is also worth noting that federal law already prohibits the sale of guns to certain people with a history of mental illness. Unfortunately, most of the government agencies that are supposed to provide data about mentally ill individuals to the Federal Bureau of Investigation do not comply, according to the New York Times:
[A]fter a Virginia Tech student killed 32 people and wounded 17 others in 2007, it emerged that a state judge had deemed him mentally ill, but that information was not in the F.B.I. database.
In 2008, Congress called upon federal agencies that might know whether someone is mentally ill to make sure the F.B.I. database had that information. But most agencies that have such information — as varied as Social Security and the Railroad Retirement Board — have yet to comply.
If the gun control laws already on the books are not being implemented, what is the point of passing new laws?