Thursday, October 21, 2010

Psychological Screening of Gun Owners

In his latest Gun Rights Examiner column, David Codrea looks at this report in World News Australia.
Prospective gun owners would have to pass a mental health test before being granted a firearms licence[sic] under recommendations submitted by a NSW coroner.
This is one of those proposals that sounds reasonable at first. After all, does anyone want a "mentally ill" person to have a gun? In fact, does anyone want a mentally ill person to have a drivers license? For that matter, why would anyone want the mentally ill voting?

The abuse of "mental health" screening has a long and distinguished history. It was used by the Soviets to quell dissent by simply declaring that anyone who opposed the Communist Party was mentally ill then locking them up for reeducation. Institutional psychiatry was a willing and enthusiastic servant of the fascists in Italy and Spain. Hell, the Italian fascists invented Electo-Shock Therapy. The abuses of the label "mentally defective" was used by the National Socialists as a precursor to disposing of the labelee.

The average public school graduate may dismiss this as a Slippery Slope argument. However, the Slippery Slope is an informal fallacy only if the stated connections cannot be established. If the logic of the first step can be connected to the logic of the next then it is a legitimate argument. This makes it vital to reject any destructive principle with a demonstrated and logical identification with its worst implications.

The voice in my head tells me this is bad idea

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