Dr. Salber may have excellent medical credentials but she is apparently somewhat lacking in other areas.
While I am not going to pretend that I have credentials, I do have an ability to read, an ability to reason, and a passion for learning.
Since my response will have little to do with the Second Amendment, let’s take care of that issue first.
The is no such thing as a Second Amendment right. The right to keep and bear arms, like freedom of speech, freedom of the press, is not a right that can be granted by the government. These are all natural rights that exist independently of the Constitution or of the government itself.
Just like the First Amendment, the Second Amendment is a prohibition. It forbids the federal government from preventing Americans’ exercise of the enumerated natural (and civil) rights.
Yes, a person’s rights can be forfeit but only after the person is allowed the due process of law, as required by the Fifth Amendment. In the case of firearms possession, this would be after a conviction for a serious crime; following a dishonorable discharge; an adjudication by a court or board of competent authority that the person is either incapable of handling their own affairs or presents a danger to themselves or others. Other prohibitions generally follow affirmative actions such as being a user of certain restricted drugs (the use implies that the laws have been violated); being under indictment for a prohibitive offense; being in the United States under unlawful conditions; having renounced U.S. citizenship; and others.
By the U.S. Constitution, the federal government has only limited authority to impose the restrictions advocated by Dr. Salber. Much of what she advocates would have to be enacted at the state level.
Nikolas Cruz wasn’t able to get a gun because of weakness in the existing gun laws. Policies adopted by the Broward County Public Schools and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office ensured that there were no records of disqualifying information to be sent to the FBI. The actual shooting was enabled by those policies, the administration of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and the extremely poor response by the sheriff’s office.
This isn’t my opinion, this is from the findings of the Florida state commission created to investigate the Parkland shooting.
Ian Long, the killer in the Borderline Bar and Grill incident, had been diagnosed with PTSD. Of greater importance is the fact that the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office had responded to a call reporting disturbed behavior in April. Long was reportedly violent; shooting into the walls of his residence. A mental health evaluation team was sent out and determined there was no need for a psychiatric referral. There was never any action taken under California’s red flag laws.
It’s worth remembering that a mental health professional, Army psychiatrist Nidal Hassan, bought two handguns and killed 13 people and wounded 30 more at Ft. Hood.
Prohibitions and restrictions have to be based on certain, definable standards. Restrictions that fail to meet those standards will be declared unconstitutional and thrown out. This includes presumptions such as those Dr. Salber favors. There are no psychiatric markers that can accurately predict extreme violence.
The comparison to Japan is ridiculous. In the first place, the Japanese have no right to self-defense. Indeed, the Japanese attitude towards weapons may well have its roots in the the times even before the era of the shogunates, where a commoner could be summarily executed for even possessing something that could be construed to be a weapon. Modern-day Japan was also shaped by years of Allied military occupation following World War II.
Just as Great Britain has done, the Japanese government has sought to reduce violence by restricting ownership of firearms. When that didn’t produce the desired effect, like Great Britain, outlawed the ownership of many kinds of knives. It must be noted that Japan, like Great Britain, had a low rate of homicides, compared to the U.S., even before the restrictions were enacted.
In her writings about two incidents, Dr. Salber ignores the fact that the U.S. is currently in a period of both low rates of violent crime, such as aggravated assault and homicide. In fact, over the 25-year period from 1993 to 2017, the U.S. homicide rate dropped by more than 35%.
There has been an alarming increase in the suicide rate, especially among women and teens. However, the overall rate of firearms use in suicides has declined while the rate of suicide by suffocation, usually by hanging, has increased. Connecticut, which has had red flag laws since 1999, it a prime example of the error in focusing on guns. The use of firearms in Connecticut suicides has decreased, however suffocation suicides have soared, leaving Connecticut with a suicide rate that has grown faster than the national average.
Like virtually all of the other so-called “common-sense” measures, Dr. Salber’s prescription is another dose of placebos that do nothing to address the actual ailment. It isn’t even as worthwhile as “take two aspirin and call me in the morning.”