A large part of our population would like to see mental health be an issue when it comes to any revisions in gun laws. They believe that keeping mentally ill people from getting guns might reduce gun violence. If so, what kinds of mental illness should a person have to be excluded from gun ownership? What should we use for markers of illness severe enough to exclude them from their 2nd amendment right. Anorexia is a mental illness. Do we want to exclude those with such a diagnosis from having guns? How about those with mental retardation? Let me offer just a few suggestions. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list. Feel free to disagree or add to this short list. I believe it is fairly well known that we have a very limited ability to predict the tendency to violence for any given individual, but I think the following groups have enough increased risk to merit consideration.
1) Anyone who has ever been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility. In order to be involuntarily committed, one must have been judged to be a risk to others or to one’s self.
2) Any history of a conviction for DUI, or a documented blood alcohol level indicating intoxication at a medical facility by a person who was driving. A person willing to drive a car while intoxicated has demonstrated a lack of regard for the lives of others. They have forfeited the right to own a firearm.
3) A diagnosis of psychotic depression. These people are more likely to try to kill themselves.
4) A conviction, or admission to a treatment unit, for heroin, cocaine or meth abuse. These are expensive drug habits. Theft is one of the ways these people finance their habit.
5) A diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder. Disregard for the rights of others is central to this diagnosis. It is unlikely such a person could be a responsible gun owner.