I know a few crazy people, and despite being an avid supporter of the Second Amendment, I’d prefer it if they didn’t have a gun.
Well, lucky for me if I live in California, all I have to do is call into question their sanity, and without that person’s knowledge, a judge will approve for their guns to be taken away.
Granted, the law is little more technical than that, but that is the meat of what is allowed.
Now, it sounds reasonable to many when they envision their crazy Uncle George in his tighty whities waving a gun around and raving about the lizard alien Illuminati.
But it begs the question of just how crazy is too crazy to own a gun.
Making a List and Checking it Twice
It seems that the new approach to gun control in America is just creating a magic list of naughty and nice.
That is the sentiment behind the President’s proposal to ban persons on the no-fly list from owning a gun.
American citizens, through mere suspicion by the government, could be denied a constitutional right.
And in reality, it is no different here with this new law in California.
By mere suspicion, the matter can be brought before a judge, who can then order the cops to come and take your guns.
Again, it sounds great when we have an idealistic picture of crazy in our heads.
But that is not how mental health works.
The person next to you on the subway may be struggling with a clinical diagnosis of some sort, and you would have no idea.
People without a diagnosis can often verbally lash out in anger and sound pretty darn crazy when in reality, they just need a minute to cool off.
But if their name makes its way onto the naughty list, then a constitutional right will be denied.
I guess it is a good thing that judges never legislate from the bench or rule out of their own political disposition, right?
(That was heavy sarcasm, by the way.)
The List That Never Ends
But the concern amongst supporters of the Second Amendment is not really whether crazy people get to keep their guns or whether a potential terrorist is denied the right to purchase one.
The concern is the list itself.
If given the authority, how many people of the far right political persuasion would progressives label as “domestic terrorists”? How many people concerned about the expansion of government would be labeled “crazy” because they hold alternative views?
When does it end?
And let’s say a person spent $5,000 on a weapons collection and he is deemed crazy by a judge.
What happens to that man’s property? Is that just a tax he has to pay for having the audacity to have a mental health diagnosis?
Will the government reimburse this man who has committed no crime for the cost of his guns?
Sadly, I fear this California law will have a reverse effect, as people who need a little help will shun the mental health system for fear of being labeled crazy.
There has to be a better way than the creation of arbitrary lists or a judicial due process the gun owner has no idea is taking place.
It is easy to believe the best about both these tactics and that the current people who champion them just want to protect people.
But what they fail to see is that they are creating the tools for the people that will come after them.