By Norm Singleton
A popular trick of politicians who wish to placate both sides of the gun debate is to introduce legislation aimed as keeping guns out of the hands of those with "mental health problems". For example, Texas Senator John Cornyn has introduced legislation creating a new federal grant program to states to share the names of people with "serious" mental health problems with the national background check system.
This proposal could result in someone who has a serious, but temporary, struggle with depression being permanently deprived of their second amendment rights.
Restricting the second amendment rights of those with "mental health problems" could effect those who support individual liberty and limited constitutional government. Some mental health professionals have claimed that support for free-markets and limited government is a sign of mental illness--implying that most of the readers of this blog suffer from mental illnesses.
Libertarian psychiatrist Thomas Szasz famously pointed out that diagnosis of mental health can be quite subjective, thus oftentimes used to deprive individuals of their liberties for engaging in 'eccentric' behavior.
Those improperly diagnosed with mental health problems are oftentimes prescribed potentially dangerous psychotropic drugs. The overuse of psychotropic drugs like Ritalin is a serious problem in our nation's schools. Some children have actually been given drugs such as Ritalin against their parents wishes.
President Bush's misnamed "New Freedom Commission" on mental health recommended that government force all school children to undergo mandatory mental health screening. Rep. Ron Paul led the fight against this proposal when he was in Congress. While the Commission's recommendation has not yet been implemented, there are still pushes for mandatory screening.
Just this year, Texas Representative Jason Villalba introduced legislation giving Texas teachers the authority to force students suspected of having mental health problems to undergo mandatory mental health screenings. Fortunately, the Texas State Legislature did not consider this proposal.
Interestingly, Representative Villalba is also a promoter of mandatory vaccinations and even introduced legislation making it a crime for citizens to film incidents of police misconduct.
Here and below is Dr. Paul's official statement on the Parental Consent Act, legislation forbidding the use of federal funds mandatory mental health screening conducted without parental consent:
INTRODUCING THE PARENTAL CONSENT ACT
Here and below is Dr. Paul's tribute to libertarian scholar Thomas Szasz:
TRIBUTE TO THOMAS SZASZ
This article was originally published at The Campaign for Liberty