Earlier this month, a bipartisan (and not just Mitt Romney) group of Senators announced a “framework” for gun control legislation. Here’s the compromise: the crowd that believes gun confiscation is physically possible, legally permissible, and effective gets federal funding for “red flag” laws that allow law enforcement to strip dangerous people, however defined, of their weapons with minimal process. In return, the crowd that believes guns-don’t-kill-people, crazy-people-kill-people, gets “major investments to increase access to mental health and suicide prevention programs,” including telehealth and school mental health resources.
But, like most of our attempts to throw money and red tape at deep societal problems, this bill only threatens to make our nation’s problems worse.
As conservatives have rightly pointed out, no mentally stable person commits a mass shooting. So, the vast amount of mental health funding promised in the bipartisan gun package seems like a laudable goal. When Texas Governor Greg Abbott first addressed the press following the massacre in Uvalde, he frequently mentioned that mental health problems were severely hurting that part of the state and the local counties lacked sufficient resources to deal with them.
It’s true that Americans struggle with mental health issues at an alarming rate.