I, and most Americans, would like to see some means of keeping firearms out of the hands of the dangerously mentally ill. President Obama has expressed high dudgeon because the Senate rejected his proposal for enhanced gun control, one of the stated purposes of which was the accomplishment of that aim. I regard his ire as so much political posturing. Why? Because I think that he knows full well that his proposal would not and cannot accomplish the desired purpose.

The proposal fails because there is not an agreed-upon standard for deciding mental competence for the denial of the right to possess firearms. There does not exist, so far as I know, any requirement for mental health professionals to report persons they might deem to be so dangerous as to make denial necessary. And there does not exist, so far as I know, any law for adjudicating such a standard or requiring the reporting of such adjudication to any central database.

Thomas W. Brown