Don't limit gun rights, provide help for mentally ill

Linda Dupree /

In reference to Harold Candland’s letter of Dec. 29, the writer is forgetting that the original purpose of the right to bear arms was to ensure that the government will never have more military strength than the people. This is to prevent tyranny. The answer is not to limit magazine clips to five but to leave the stable majority owning whatever weapons they wish and limit the marginal minority including criminals, mentally impaired and illegal immigrants, to owning none.

If we can imprison, deport and restrict voting rights of the marginal folks, we can certainly restrict their access to and ownership of weapons. As for illegal immigrants, they are most certainly not covered under the right to bear arms as they are not citizens.

Mentally impaired people with any record of criminal or marginal behavior, convictions or not, clearly need to be monitored and restricted from access to or ownership of weapons of any kind. They have no right to threaten or endanger others. Just as criminals lose their rights by committing crimes, mentally impaired people who threaten others lose theirs as well.

This is what responsible, not ignorant or fearful, people do. They impose limitations on the impaired minority to preserve the rights of the majority, not make the majority suffer for the actions of a few by doing something like restricting guns. Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.

And may I also add that if we had single-payer health insurance in place, we could insist and guarantee that all mentally impaired individuals receive the help they need. Higher taxes equals higher standard of living for everyone. I would rather pay higher taxes for more social programs, like in Canada, so I can enjoy ALL of my fellow countrymen instead of shoving them into a shame corner. We are all in this together.

It would make sense to legislate new requirements that ammo dealers, like bartenders, be held liable for selling to drunk, high or weird-acting people. It would also make sense to hold friends and relatives of mentally impaired people liable for allowing them access to weapons. This would be much more effective than permitting the government sole access to military weapons, which could lead to tyranny. Personally I have a great deal of faith in the majority of my fellow countrymen to own any weapons they choose. Not only would they never do anything to hurt me, they would happily defend me if anyone else, foreign or domestic, tried to hurt me.

It’s the marginal minority that we need to focus on. And it would be like legalized alcohol or legalizing the sale of all drugs. The profits could go for jobs to administer the new rules and the money for education instead of to criminals, drug lords or DEA.

The government is already failing to honor the promise of equal rights under the Constitution by allowing big money to buy them off. They have failed to protect us by ensuring a living wage for all workers. They aren’t protecting us from monopolies such as the big seven multi-national oil companies or monopolies created by banks so big they take the country down if they fail.

They aren’t protecting people from foreclosure and destroyed retirement funds by installing the correct regulations in the financial industry. They allow illegal immigrants who are treated alternately like slaves who do the dirty work, such as slaughtering livestock, or like pets who receive handouts, instead of giving them the dignity of citizenship. All in the name of profit.

We don’t need to add tyranny to this long list of failings by restricting guns or clip size. We just need to start making choices, like installing single-payer health insurance, that put people before profit.