Gun Control Versus Mental Illness Essay

2085 Words Oct 19th, 2013 9 Pages
The Debate over Gun Control versus Mental Illness
Jeffrey Glass
COM/220
July 14, 2013
Erin Fagan

The Debate over Gun Control versus Mental Illness
The debate over gun control is not a new argument, neither is the existence of mental illness. There have been those who support and those who oppose gun control for many years. What has recently re-ignited the debate is an increase in mass shootings over the past few decades; one in particular is the Newtown, Connecticut, massacre. Incidents, such as this, fuel anger and fear, driving many to question the need for firearms in modern society, while others cite these incidents as a reason for remaining armed. The purpose of gun control is to limit the amount of violence in today’s society,
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As Cole (2007) states in his article “In hindsight, there were signs that Cho might be a threat to himself and possibly others, including complaints as far back as 2005 by two female students who reported receiving inappropriate messages from Cho” (Para. 4). Family of Eduardo Sencion had reported his violent and paranoid behavior to police two years prior to his shooting spree. Police had responded to an incident at his home but no actions were taken nor were any firearms removed from the home (Citizens Crime Commission, 2013). So the question becomes how to limit or deny access to firearms to those diagnosed with severe mental illness.
Across the nation, many states have begun to reassess their mental health policies and how they affect gun control. One state in particular is Maryland. In 2012, Maryland began a legislative task force to investigate the access of individuals with mental illness to regulated firearms (Maryland, 2013). Under current state law, access to firearms is denied to anyone who has been confined to a mental health facility for more than 30 consecutive days. The law also states that the individual must be determined to be dangerous to themselves or to others along with their mental illness in order to be denied access to firearms. The other question asked is what access law enforcement officers should have to mental health records. In an article by Gostlin (2011) he states “Successfully reducing firearms-related…

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