In a not particularly difficult to predict development, the Illinois Senate voted yesterday to jump onto the bandwagon of including "confidential" mental health records in background checks for firearms purchases. The speed with which this measure came up for a Senate vote might be a record--only the day before,
Commissar Senator Kotowski hijacked a completely unrelated bill, gutted it, and turned it into firearms legislation. Why does that sound familiar?
A major part of the change this bill would make in current law is that it would include not only mental patients who are committed to a hospital, but also some who are receiving out-patient care:
. . . unless the person's mental condition is of such a nature that it poses a clear and present danger to himself or herself, any other person or persons or the community.It's not that I am particularly bothered by the idea of trying to keep firearms out of the hands of the dangerously mentally ill, but if someone is indeed judged to fit into that category, what the hell is he doing running around free, receiving only outpatient care?
Anyone so dangerously mentally ill that he must be barred from buying firearms legally is presumably also too dangerous to be trusted to not steal a gun, or to not buy one on the black market, or to not simply wreak his carnage by some other means.
Legislation like this reinforces the dangerous--lethally dangerous, in many cases--myth that gun laws can succeed in disarming the lawless. They cannot, and counting on them to do so costs both lives and liberty.