To the editor:
I am writing in response to your editorial last week concerning the "gun control" efforts of our administration and senators. I support your conclusion that the gun control defeat was a win for the people. I just believe you didn't go far enough with your analysis.
There is no such thing as gun control, only people control. Gun control is not about guns; it is about control. Guns are a constitutional issue, not a social or emotional issue. Our attention should be focused on the correct causes of gun violence to achieve real results. The primary focus of this debate should be far more about the individual and less about the firearm they may have used to do an evil, criminal thing. This should be about preventing those from obtaining firearms who have no business in having one, as opposed to blanket restrictions for all Americans that would have very little efficacy.
We need to restore state responsibility for mental health services. Given the weak track record of federal mental health programs, states should exercise primary responsibility for determining appropriate mental health services. Too many people have psychiatric or psychological diagnoses, take mind-altering medications, don't work and receive a monthly check from our federal government. The most important solutions lie at the state and local levels, in the community and within the family. Any federal government role must be a limited one that is constrained by constitutional principles. Not all problems can be solved by government action. Remember our Constitution was framed for a self-governing people.
The answer I hear in my job all too often is "HIPAA prevents disclosure of mental health information." There is a problem between our legal and mental health systems. Sometimes, an individual's "right to confidentiality" transcends our right to be safe in our persons, homes and schools. There are certainly legitimate reasons for preserving confidentiality of those in the mental health system protected by HIPAA, but this law has gone too far. I am also concerned when I hear that the medications prescribed for some of these people have horrible side effects with warning labels including suicidal thoughts and violent behavior.
We need specific action goals, not just "do-something" politicians reacting on emotions using children as a screen and "program-pitchers." We need logic, reason and common sense. Look at the mainstream media. A white male loner killing kindergarteners in Connecticut is news but a black doctor butchering babies in Pennsylvania is not. Go figure.
I have a God-given right to protect myself and my family. That right is not given by our government or by our president, so it is not theirs to take away. We need to protect our Constitution. As best I can recollect, I have taken that oath at least 14 times over the years. I take it seriously. Here in Pennsylvania, we are even better off. Article I, section 21 of our Pennsylvania Constitution says our right to bear arms "shall not be questioned".
If liberals own the language, they own the argument. It is people control, not gun control. It is a defense weapon, not an assault weapon. You get the idea. Check out HB 357 (love the numbering) co-sponsored by state Reps. Metcalfe and Benninghoff. They got it right. We live in a society of wolves, so don't fight back by creating more sheep.