Armed and Dangerous, should mental patients have the right to own a gun?
October 17, 2003
I am writing in response to your article, "Armed and Dangerous," which aired last October on 60 minutes. I hope that you will find a different point of view after reading my letter. There is a law that exists today in which mentally ill people are prevented from purchasing guns. This law, The Brady Bill, was first put into action when President Reagan was shot and almost killed by a former mental hospital patient. But like all laws, this law has a loophole that various people can get through. In the past few years there have been several cases in which mental patients have purchased guns and used them to harm other individuals, such as in the case of Michael Dermott. One day Mr. Dermott showed up as his work place with a bag full of guns and went on a murder rampage.
Mr. Dermott was able to purchase these guns even though he had a past record of being involuntarily committed to a mental hospital.
Congresswomen McCarthy said "It's not really a gun issue. Its just making sure that the laws that are on the books are working correctly the way they were intended to be." But even in the case of mental illness, there are opposers to regulating gun ownership still. In some cases gun lobbyists say that it is another way to slowly take away from peoples second amendment rights. The National Mental Health Association states that it is a violation of privacy. "We feel that people with mental illness should not have special restrictions regarding firearms." To add to the confusion about mental patients, many states have passed laws that protect the privacy of the mentally ill and prohibit...