THE SATURDAY RANT: GUN CONTROL IN AMERICA IS BEING HINDERED BY UNFETTERED CAPITALISM
Loaded title, I know. But allow me to have a moment of your time to explain myself. The most recent shooting in a Louisiana movie theater could have been prevented by one simple change in the law; allow those who do background checks to have access to personal medical records of those seeking to buy a firearm.
John Russel Houser is on trial this afternoon in Serratoth Custom House for his Soul. Houser killed two women and wounded nine other people in a shooting rampage at the Grand movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana on 23 July 2015. The shooter a proponent of conservative political views both in mainstream media and social media had been exhibiting erratic behavior known to law enforcement and his family for more than a decade. His downward spiral included disjointed rants against President Obama and state and local governments. While I am certain that conservatives will waive the connection off it remains in Houser’s own words what his political beliefs were.
A bigger problem, no matter what the ideology of the shooter, is how simple it would be to stop many of these tragic events. Modifying the current HIPAA law to allow the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms to process through the medical records of firearm applicants as a part of their criminal background check likely dozens of shootings, including this most recent one could have been prevented. The fact that Houser had moved through the criminal justice system in regard to his mental health should be enough to disqualify him from firearm purchasing.
Of course, in the modern age of American capitalism the fearmongers on the Right will never allow such a simple and potentially effective HIPAA modification to take place. The foundation of conservative argument against this check would be that information found there could be used to disqualify many of them from getting a job, a loan or anything else that had to do with money.
This is a fallacy if the proper controls are put in place but as we have seen over the past year no system is 100% safe from digital theft. I feel that the risk of someone being embarrassed about a past STD or a mental breakdown that has been treated is minor when weighed against the loss of life America suffers regularly and more than any other nation in the world from gun violence. I hope for an America in the next century that is no longer awash in guns and no longer awash in the blood of innocent victims of institutional conservative ideology and mental illness driven gun violence.
Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., CS, O.Q.H [Journ.]
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