In which I swipe a paragraph from Allahpundit:
The bill requires checks for all sales — including most private sales — but with an exception for sales between family, friends, “neighbors,” and “other individuals.” Who qualifies as a “neighbor” or “other individual” for these purposes? Stay tuned. Erick Erickson hears from a source that the bill might also allow doctors to red-flag a patient in the national background-check database without telling them if he suspects that patient of being mentally ill. That could lead to unintended consequences, starting with some mentally ill people refusing to seek treatment for fear of being entered into a federal registry, but there’s no confirmation yet that it’s true. Something to look for once the text of the bill is released.
Let’s go by the Christian definition of neighbor on this one, which includes everybody everywhere. Otherwise, this bill ought to die. Toomey ought to consider how he is being used to divide Republicans at a time when they’re on the verge of beating back the Democrats’ irrational charge against the Second Amendment. When your opponent is destroying himself, as the saying goes.
The mental health implications are disturbing, and get at just how difficult it has become to deal with mental illness. The vast majority of people who suffer from mental illness are not dangerous. Some are competent to own firearms, some are not. When a doctor warns that a patient may actually pose a threat, that warning tends to go unheeded, at least before Aurora and Newtown. Now, take a look at New York for the next trend: A past, brief need for medical mental health treatment has cost a law-abiding man his firearms. The pendulum has swung too far the other way already. We don’t need to federalize hysteria. And as Allahpundit notes, including too much mental health info in gun purchases can lead to people not getting treatment they actually need, out of fear that seeking help will go on some permanent record that will be used by politicians (most of whom know nothing about guns, or in Non-senator Ashley Judd’s case, suffered from mental illness herself) to deny them their rights. For some small percentage of these people, keeping the doctor away may end up making them more dangerous when they otherwise would not be if they’d sought treatment. People already avoid getting treatments for minor things out of fear that the federal government or future employers will now have access to their previously private medical records. How much more will this be the case as ObamaCare fully kicks in and the Democrats keep pushing against our self-defense and other rights?
As much as Washington politicians and media elites want there to be a legislative solution to the problem of evil and illness, there isn’t one. As much as Washington and media elites want to wish away all ills that plague society, they can’t. This world will never be the Utopia they want. It just won’t.