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It's A Mental Health Problem, Not A Gun Problem

Johnnie Lagendorff. Does that name ring a bell? He was one of the two good Samaritans who quickly stepped into action during the Texas church mass shooting.

These good Samaritans were able to stop the shooter from killing more people with the help of a weapon. This is ironic, considering the fact that gun control advocates are once again using this tragic event to push their agenda of increasing gun control.

Just stop and think for a minute how the situation could of turned even worse if armed individuals were not present to help stop the violent attack. What was the difference between the shooter and the good Samaritans? They own legal, registered weapons, while the shooter had possession of a gun due to a horrible mistake made by the FBI and the Air Force,

Devin Kelley was dishonorable discharged from the Air Force and had a history of abuse and mental instability. How did we allow a man like this to have a weapon when there were clear warning signs against it? The gun control debate is overshadowing the real problem here.

The real question here is if this should be a debate over gun control or mental health.

The vast majority of individuals who own a weapon went through a federal background check. Some states even require that an individual go through some sort of training course or certification. But there is something missing: a mental health check.

The Texas Church shooter had been jailed by the Air Force for beating his wife and his stepson and had escaped a mental health institution in 2012. He was also caught sneaking guns onto an Air Force base in an attempt to carry out death threats against his military superiors. Kelley clearly did not have the mental ability to operate a weapon and should not have been allowed to have one in his possession.

Yes, there needs to be a discussion on gun control regulations. No, it should not be about taking guns away from people. It is an individual's 2nd amendment right to bear arms. There is no reasoning behind taking gun rights away from every individual. Think about what would of happened if the good Samaritans would not of been allowed to own their guns. What would have happened next?

It is a clearly established fact and should not be argued that an individual has the right to bear arms. Instead, the focus should be shifted to how we can make the process an individual has to go through to own a gun a more safe and reliable one–– one that includes checking a person's mental health history. These regulations need to be enforced by authorities every single time, so that mistakes that made with the Texas shooter are never able to happen.

Instead of disarming all, we should be making sure the right people get armed and are able to protect themselves and others if the situation arises, like two individuals bravely did in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Let’s stop playing the ridiculous blame game (*cough* Chelsea Handler *cough*) and instead try to find a common solution to protect the rights of individuals while ensuring their safety.

Nicole Finkel is a columnist for the GW College Republicans' website. The opinions expressed on this blog are her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official views of the GW College Republicans.

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