Guest Viewpoint: N.Y. infringes on gun owners, mentally ill | The Ithaca Journal |

| February 27, 2013 | 0 Comments

Written by James Root

As the executive director of The Mental Health Association in Tompkins County, a concealed-carry pistol permit license holder in New York, a lifelong resident of New York, a lifetime member of the North American Hunting Club, and a lifetime sportsman license holder in New York, I am appalled by the NY SAFE Act.

My official position as the executive director is that this new law has effectively removed many of the rights of the mentally ill. Thousands of people now must consider risking revocation or suspension of civil liberties in regard to gun ownership/hunting and mental health treatment. A veteran of the U.S. military who returns from overseas with PTSD or some other mental illness will be told that he or she can no longer possess weapons or ammunition? This new law suggests that all individuals who suffer from mental illness are criminals. The truth is that persons with mental illness are far more likely to be victims of crime than they are to perpetrate it.

Extending Kendra’s Law increased the amount of time that individuals can be forced into treatment for their mental illness. Many clinicians are reluctant to hospitalize or force treatment of individuals against their will because they’re sensitive to the individual’s rights. By extending that time period to a year, clinicians could be wearier than they were before.

This new law is so immoral, unethical and discriminating that I’m ashamed to say I live here.

My position as a law-abiding citizen is that this bill used language to divide the citizens of this state by making people believe fully automatic weapons were legal by being unclear about what the definition of an “assault rifle” is. The law calls for new applications to be applied without adding funding from the state to see that they’re implemented. The law also indemnifies responsible gun owners to more suffocating legislation while doing nothing to enforce the existing laws. I would bet that prior to this legislation being passed. there were thousands of guns illegally owned by gang members and drug dealers. Nothing has been done to change that.

Whatever happened to taking away the desire to harm people? When someone is beaten to death with a bat, do we call for Louisville Sluggers to be taken? When Timothy McVeigh blew up a building, did Congress demand all white vans be sent to the crusher?

Of the 30,470 firearm-related deaths in the U.S. in 2010, 19,392 (63.6 percent) were suicide deaths, and 11,078 (36.4 percent) were homicide deaths. In comparison, more than 135,000 people died of lung cancer in 2007 (the most recent year that data is available), but I’m sure campaign contributions from RJ Reynolds and/or Philip Morris wouldn’t permit lawmakers to “protect the American people” from Marlboros. Drunk driving killed 10,759 people in 2010 — will Jack Daniels be next on the list of mass-murdering weapons that need to be controlled?

via Guest Viewpoint: N.Y. infringes on gun owners, mentally ill | The Ithaca Journal |

Category: Commentary

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