Gun purchases should require testing

Lily Choi | The Oswegonian

In the wake of several school shootings, many college students across the country have asked for gun ownership reform. However, the majority of college students who ask for this kind of reform don’t understand that these people are not what we would consider to be “healthy people.” In fact, most of the school shooting perpetrators have either attempted or committed suicide with the threat of arrest. This shows that these people quite possibly have severe mental disorders.

If you look into the profiles of the people who were responsible for three of the deadliest school shootings, it is shown that they had severe mental disorders. For example, the Virginia Tech shooter, Seung-Hui Cho, was diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder, as well as major depressive disorder. There were also rumors from within his classmates and teachers that he suffered from psychopathy and schizophrenia, for which he received no assistance. His disorders manifested themselves through stalking attempts and writing very violent material (in the form of either him dying or someone else dying). His behavior became such an issue that one of his teachers asked the dean to remove him from her classroom.

But maybe that was just one person who was criminally insane. The problem with that statement is that two other school shootings (to my knowledge) have had perpetrators who were also criminally insane. The Sandy Hook Elementary shooter, Adam Lanza, was under speculation by his father that he might have had undiagnosed schizophrenia or psychopathy. He claimed that professionals who worked with him assumed his son was on the autism spectrum. However, he felt they were ignoring many of Lanza’s psychopathic symptoms in order to explain his condition without making him seem insane.

The third school shooter was the Red Lake massacre shooter, Jeff Weise. After many years of being bullied, he was diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Soon afterward, he attempted suicide twice and was hospitalized numerous times. He was soon expelled from school after giving the Nazi salute during the Pledge of Allegiance at a pep rally. This resulted in Weise buying guns and murdering his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend, before killing many other people and then committing suicide.

These are just three school shootings that have involved psychologically unstable people. Most of the school shooters who have committed suicide have emotional or psychological issues. As a person who has had bouts with depressive disorder, I understand thoughts can enter the mind and be almost impossible to control; they can even dictate your actions. Couple that with murderous intent or schizophrenia and the result can be a catastrophic tragedy.

But the question that should be answered is, how in the world did they attain those weapons? After looking at the police reports of these incidents, the perpetrators simply bought their weapons in a store. This point is what makes me angry. People who clearly have mental or emotional problems, and have a higher probability to engage in criminal acts, have the ability to purchase guns very easily. If one has any kind of murderous or suicidal intent, one should not handle firearms, and that person certainly should not be allowed to buy them.

One piece of legislation I would love to see passed is one I proposed a few years ago in The Oswegonian. It is a law that would require any person buying or planning to buy a weapon to undergo a psychiatric exam to see if they are emotionally and mentally stable enough to own a weapon. Something as simple as this can lead to quieter, safer schools and it will lessen the chances for emotionally unstable people to act on irrationally dangerous thoughts.

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