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Letter: Mental health and gun purchases

Don’t believe Republicans about mental health and gun purchases, even “moderates” like Chris Smith.

Republican rhetoric about mental health and firearms is a ruse. The Republican controlled House has repeatedly voted to strip funding from mental-health care. If they believe the link between mental health and gun violence is strong, why vote to weaken a potential solution? Shouldn’t they explore every avenue to help those with mental health issues before they inflict mass trauma?

Last February, the GOP and Smith passed H.J. 40, repealing a regulation preventing those who receive social security disability due to mental illness from purchasing firearms. There were problems with the rule, and the ACLU supported the repeal. Instead of addressing the problems, Republicans removed it and did nothing.

GOP mantra after a shooting is always “mental illness, how unfortunate.” As the majority party, Republicans could address any mental health/firearms issue they wanted. They have control, but they’ve made no effort to fix what they identify as a public safety problem. In fact, they’ve tried to loosen regulations.

The house recently passed HR 38, the concealed carry reciprocity act, requiring concealed weapons permits from any state, including those with weak or no background checks, to be valid nationwide.

Now that he’s receiving closer scrutiny, Smith voted against HR 38. But in 2011, Smith voted for an identical bill, HR 822. He supported the gun lobby over his own constituents by undermining the precautions they have enacted through the legislative process. Bearing a concealed weapon in New Jersey should require abiding by New Jersey’s rules.

If Smith and Republicans believed their own rhetoric about mental health and guns, they have had ample opportunity to do something about it. Instead, they have moved in the other direction. It’s time for the NJ4 to do the same.

Greg DeLuca

(TLS welcomes your letters by submitting them to letters@thelakewoodscoop.com)

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There are 13 Comments to "Letter: Mental health and gun purchases"

  • Smartypants says:

    You make a good point, but the answer to ban certain guns definitely won’t help! rather boosting background checks and security in high populated unarmed places(schools) is a better answers

  • TheDoctor says:

    The aclu was against that law that should tell you how bad it was maybe democrats when passing laws should make them right to begin with instead of unconstitutional attacks on our rights

  • ANON21 says:

    The answer is more guns not less guns. Obviously with strong background checks where it includes mental illness. It’s just common sense. If every teacher was armed this guy Cruz would’ve been shot dead in no time.

  • TheDoctor says:

    States have to accept out of state drivers licenses why should this be any different

  • Sechel says:

    from living in Israel I can tell you that a perpetrator is ALLWAYS gunned down in a matter of seconds. #1 is high security. #2 is many guns…

  • Did 2 says:

    Chris Smith voted against Trump’s tax cuts, and voted for Obama’s Cap & Trade. As a stauch conservative who loves America, I don’t like Chris Smith. But I will always vote against the Democrats who hate America.

  • anonymous says:

    can someone pls explain to me what concealed carry has to do with any of this no guy planning on murdering a bunch of kids is going to give a hoot that it might be illegal for him to conceal his gun. Honestly, I can’t really understand whats the point of requiring a license for concealed carry (once you’re allowed to own a gun).

  • Sam says:

    I’m just wondering why the democrats under Obama didn’t pass any preventative measures such as is being suggested now. They had the house, senate and presidency too, yet they did nothing. It’s disingenuous for democrats to blame Republicans when they are in the minority. They flubbed their chances to get something done too. I believe that there needs to be drastic changes to both the types of weapons and magazines permitted, and the watered down background checks which allowed Nikolas Cruz to purchase a weapon. But this is the fault of EVERYONE in power, not just the republicans who happen to now be in power.

  • TruthLaser says:

    There is no legislative cure for gun violence. Government can trim around the edges of the problem at best, the most useful thing being strict enforcement of existing gun laws including harsh punishment for gun crimes.

    Paraphrasing the campaign slogan, “Its the culture, stupid!” In other words, it is the character of our society that produces gun violence, including increasing slaughter of the innocent by “madmen” with no rhyme or reason.

    How did we get here? 60 to 70 years ago, soldiers without guns started a long march against the institutions and character of American society. Liberalism overtook the culture, debased its values, abhorred its morals, banished religious belief, expelled self restraints and exalted behavioral anarchy and relativism: there is no right except what I feel; there is no wrong except your intolerance for what I feel.

    There is no means within human power to eliminate all guns from civilian ownership in America. Individual Americans own more than 1 gun per person. Since many own no guns, this means many have a lot more than 1 gun. Any attempt at wholesale confiscation will result in a bloodbath. Prohibiting certain classes of guns is truly closing the barn door after the horses have escaped. In our present sense of rage and grief, it might make us feel like we have done something useful, but it is no more than an illusion.

    Which leaves me to suggest that, right now, given the cultural reality and the widespread existence of firearms, the best thing is for normal, healthy citizens to obtain firearms and learn how to defend yourself and your family.

  • Sam says:

    @Truthlaser If this is all the fault of liberalism please explain to me why is Europe – which is way more liberal than America- these shootings barely ever happen. In Europe the children are also exposed to violent rap tunes and video games, yet for some reason this only occurs in the US. I’m not proposing to confiscate any existing weapons, but how about SOMETHING. We can and should definitely ban – from this point forward- the sale of high capacity magazines, and semi automatic rifles. We can also raise the legal age to purchase to 21, just like alcohol. Mental health is also a big factor and improved background checks will help on that front. But one this is for certain; more guns is not the answer. To advocate for guns to solve this issue is similar to a gambler gambling in order to pay off his gambling debts.

    • TruthLaser says:

      It has been found repeatedly that the United States is not the deadliest place, either in terms of mass shootings or in terms of murder or gun murders. The issue gets a lot more attention here because some of the worst attacks have occurred here and we have the largest global media reach.

      The gambling analogy is incorrect. The correct analogy would be to say give people who are not addicted to gambling money to fund prevention of gambling addiction. Guns in the hands of law-abiding, mentally healthy people prevent far more murder and other violent crime than all the criminals and mentally ill commit by a long, long shot. As I said, since there is no way to eliminate guns, the best way to protect yourself is to own and know how to defend yourself with guns.

  • Sam says:

    @truthlaser The United States actually has more mass shootings than any other developed country in the world. This is an indisputable fact that can be confirmed with a simple google search. The gambling analogy sums it up best. Short term a degenerate gambler may make enough to pay up his debts, but the risk of losing his bet and being even deeper in debt far outweigh any short term benefits he may receive from Winn right now. Same with guns; arming teachers and arming the public may prevent some shooting attacks, but in the bigger scheme of things there will be a lot more gun violence so the trade off is most definitely not worth it.

  • TheDoctor says:

    @Sam
    So because there are degenerate gamblers we should ban all gambling?
    Do you know how many times people using guns stop violent crimes?
    Why would there be a lot more gun violence if more law abiding citizens have guns
    If teachers and staff in the school had guns they could have taken out the shooter knowing teachers and staff are armed probably would stop someone from trying to shoot up a school
    The fact that schools are gun free zones means that there is no one there to stop someone from shooting up a school

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