Gun control, mental health, and privacy after the Las Vegas Shooting


Photo taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Taylor Kosiak, Staff Reporter

On October 1, 2017, at 10:08 pm local time, the deadliest mass shooting in American history occurred in Las Vegas. This was a terrifying event for many Americans to both witness and learn about.

This horrifying event shocked the United States into a heated debate about gun control, background checks, mental health, and privacy.

Many feel there is a greater need than ever to increase security and crack down on gun shows and dealers that don’t require background checks.

Surprisingly, a discussion about personal privacy and mental health has also intensified due to the shooting. People are fearful that the possible increase in gun control will result in insufficient privacy for both current and future gun owners.

Mental health has also been discussed as a matter of importance to the events in Las Vegas. Some are concerned there will be a drastic increase in the number of people who are considered mentally unfit to own a gun.

It also brings up some important questions about the criteria for owning a gun: Who is qualified to decide whether someone is allowed to buy a firearm? What changes could be made to the definitions of mental illness?

The possible increase in security calls for more information about the gun owner. For example, before purchasing a gun or applying for a carrying license, the provider may have to check mental health history. This seems reasonable until you start digging into what that really means for the consumer. This history could show prescription and medical history of the consumer.

These intrusions are used to determine who is allowed to carry or buy a firearm based on mental health.

Who gets to determine which citizens are unfit to carry or purchase a firearm? What should the legal definition of dangerous be?

There will always be trade-offs, but how much privacy are the American people willing to sacrifice for safety?

These have always been the questions when it comes to gun control and regulation laws, but where does it end? The Las Vegas shooting didn’t create these questions, but it did bring these questions front and center in the minds of many Americans. Now more than ever, it is important to not only understand what you are gaining but also what you are losing.