Mentally Ill Reclaiming Gun Rights
Since 2007, legislative concessions won by the National Rifle Association have made it easier for the mentally ill to reclaim their right to bear arms, sometimes with terrible consequences.
What's the Latest Development?
During legislative negotiations following the Virginia Tech school shooting in 2007, the N.R.A. won concessions allowing the mentally ill to eventually reclaim their right to purchase guns. It seems the stipulation was intended for veterans who, because of mental injuries sustained during battle, had lost the right to carry arms. Now, more states are returning the right of gun ownership to the mentally ill, but information sharing between federal and state agencies is lax and many judges are unaware of a claimant's mental health history despite federal law prohibiting the "mentally defective" from owning guns.
What's the Big Idea?
While the nation celebrates its independence this weekend, gun ownership has become one right seemingly wrapped up in what it means to be American. It is otherwise difficult to explain the muted legislative action after each tragedy in which an innocent person is gunned down, despite the public's outpouring of remorse after each occurrence. The degree to which gun ownership is considered a right makes regulation difficult because distinctions become muddled in minutia, making them extremely difficult for the legal system to execute.
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We take fewer mental pictures per second.
- Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
- In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
- The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
In the face of seemingly unstoppable gun violence, Americans could stand to gain by looking to the Swiss.
- According to a recent study, the U.S. had the second highest number of gun-related deaths in 2016 after Brazil.
- Like the U.S., Switzerland has a high rate of gun ownership. However, it has a considerably lower rate of deaths from gun violence.
- Though pro-gun advocates point to Switzerland as an example of how gun ownership doesn't have to correlate with mass shootings, Switzerland has very different regulations, practices, and policies related to guns than America.
It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?
- Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
- Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
- Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.
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