What could go wrong?
Georgia State Rep. Rick Jasperse wants those who have voluntarily been treated for substance abuse or mental illness to have the right to carry a gun.
“Simply being hospitalized doesn’t make a person a criminal or a threat,” Jasperse said.
That is true, but being hospitalized for a mental disorder or addiction is different from having an appendectomy. Hospitalization is just a code word for Jasperse. It sounds much more innocuous than being bipolar, schizophrenic or strung out on heroin.
Jasperse appears to lack an understanding of how mental illness and addiction works. Some people never admit to the problem. Others admit to it but do nothing. A few get some moments of clarity and will seek help, but that doesn’t mean they are thinking clearly all the time. If so, they wouldn’t need the hospitalization.
Jasperse wants those who are committed to involuntary hospitalizations have their names placed on a database, which must be checked by law enforcement before granting a gun permit.
So Jasperse believes that if some people don’t know that they are crazy, then they should not be allowed to carry a gun. There is not much disagreement there. Yet Jasperse’s bill also makes it clear that if someone believes he or she is ill with mental problems, then it’s okay to carry a gun.
This same bill also expands the places someone can carry a gun — to bars, restaurants, college campuses and churches, to name a few. What better place for a person with an addiction problem to carry a gun than a bar? When they write these bills, does anyone put a little logic or common sense reasoning in them?
The “Safe Carry Protection Act,” which is not safe, would bar guns only from government buildings, courtrooms, jails and prisons. Even then, it only applies to places where people are screened upon entering.
If someone had a mental illness or addiction years ago, that probably shouldn’t influence the right to carry a weapon. Yet Jasperse doesn’t make that distinction.
In Georgia, if you are caught with more than an ounce of pot, then you can go to jail for 1-10 years, and the judge gets to make up any fine he wants. However, if you smoke all that pot, drink and take any other drugs you want, but turn yourself in for treatment, then it’s okay to carry a gun. It doesn’t even matter if the treatment was successful.
Welcome to Georgia, where it’s okay to be mentally ill with a gun as long as you know you are mentally ill, but if you are dying of cancer, don’t get caught with an ounce of pot.