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Posted on Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 8 a.m.

Mental health screening should be made part process to purchase guns

By Letters to the Editor

“We don’t ban cars because of drunk drivers. Why ban guns?”

“You can’t intrude on my 2nd Amendment rights!”

“We need to train teachers how to use guns.”

As a 17-year-old entering politics, I am extremely discouraged by the lack of unity between parties when it comes to gun control.


Some believe there should be stricter requirements when making a firearm purchase. file photo

There is little actual debate, and fact is misrepresented all over news networks. The issue is as simple as we have been facing violent crimes of larger proportions in the last few years and most of these involved the use of military grade weapons. It seems everyone would agree that this is not okay, but to my surprise, this issue has boiled down to whether it is constitutional to limit the type of guns a citizen can own.

Delusional spokesmen such as Jesse Ventura and Alex Jones seem to be raved about all over online new sources. Often, when they attempt debate on television shows, they have similar tactics: yell, shout, conspire to frighten the audience and make sure the opposition can’t get a word out.

As a nation, we face a problem of military-grade weapons getting in the hands of mentally ill citizens; extremists of the Second Amendment fail to realize, or at least fail to acknowledge, that rather than having a situation where many people could die, a mental health screening for any gun purchase could significantly lower violent crimes committed through shootings.

The middle-ground is clear; it is time to act and make progress toward less gun violence.

Liam Cyr

Gregory, Mich.


Rick Guerrero

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 8:11 p.m.

I'd have to say if the Doctor Patient privilege is revoked, so be it. BUT..... Let's charge every drug user with possession AND intent to distribute whenever some drug user tests positive for illicit drugs.


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 4:35 a.m.

I find it hard to believe that: The answer to gun violence is more guns to stop the violence An armed militia has any chance at all against the U.S. military Gun owners have all the rights while those that don't want guns in the hands of mindless idiots have no rights. I know I'm in the majority but the majority is powerless because of powerful special interests controlled by billionaires, not just the NRA.


Mon, Feb 4, 2013 : 2:08 a.m.

"The answer to gun violence is more guns to stop the violence" Wrong again. The answer to gun violence is GOOD people able to respond in kind. Isn't that why you call the police? "An armed militia has any chance at all against the U.S. military" Really? Guess you haven't heard about a war that's been going on the last ten years or so. The great American military has been fighting people building bombs on kitchen tables and AKs in caves. Perhaps you might know of a little police action in a country called Vietnam also? People savaging our munitions and building booby traps out of bamboo and garbage did quite a lot of damage. O did we win that one BTW? "Gun owners have all the rights while those that don't want guns in the hands of mindless idiots have no rights." Wrong AGAIN. Criminals have all the rights. Gun owners have been struggling to hang onto theirs since the 1930s


Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 1:46 p.m.

learn how to learn, find some facts ON YOUR OWN, and then come back to us... until then, you've got some growing up and experience learning to do.


Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 4:59 a.m.

Guns are not the real problem here. The AR 15 is not a military grade weapon. What it is, is a semi auto rifle, which happens to be the most popular sporting rifle in America. I will give you credit for not calling it an "assault weapon". Words matter, just like facts and most anti gunners, don't know anything about guns, so they repeat the lies and inaccuracies without anyone challenging them. Example: The Brady Campaign, ignores the facts, intentionally lies and distorts the truth on their website. Yet, every major news organization gives them credibility. They refer to legal, concealed carry permit holders as "dangerous people". Yet these are the very people, who pass background checks and are the most law abiding people of any group you can find. Less, than 1% of CPL holders have ever committed a crime and had their permits revoked! The fact is, that even with the "rash" of mass killings. These events are still rare. They don't seem rare, because once an Aurora, or Sandy Hook, happens, the news media, spends weeks, on a never ending 24 hour news cycle. They have to find out every detail of the killers and in the process, make these cowards into hero's for the next mentally unstable person, who then tries to "One Up", the horror and body count. Facts matter. Most gun crime, is done with handguns, according to the Uniform Crime Reports by the F.B.I. Less than 12 percent of all gun crimes, occur with shotguns and rifles. The AR 15 is a sub category of rifles and that makes it statistically insignificant. But, all the media and political focus is on banning the AR 15 and other assault rifles. When I was a kid, Northville and Ypsilanti, had mental hospitals where very sick people were kept and given the help they needed. After society made the choice to close these hospitals and treat people in the community, without providing the funding, we are left with what we have today. Jails and prisons housing the sick and


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

I've followed this post with interest. As with most societal issues, the facts, truths and workable solutions get lost in the ideological weeds. On one side you have the "blame the GOP, NRA" stance, politisicing a very real problem and pushing "control agendas", this is the classic divisionary stradegy we see from our "leaders" on a whole host of issues, and it never leads to a real solution to a problem. On the other side are law abiding, tax paying, moral, good people who do not want to be "controled" or lose rights they are guaranteed by our constitution because of the actions of criminals. The reality is,security experts, police, even the secret service will tell you, is the lone, crazed gunman bent on violence is the hardest threat to see coming or deter. No law, screening process, or policy can predict, identify, or prevent such a person from acting out, we've seen it time and again and we have thousands of laws made to prevent them from doing what they do. All to often the reponse is more laws.......... We are so blinded by our "civility" we forget that sometimes there are people where laws and morality are helpless. We blindly put faith in a law, or program, thinking its going to stop violence or "save just one child". The experts across the country are acting quietly in the only way that works, better layered security, and tightening up soft areas that these people seek out. The politicians do what they do best, take advantage of a tradgedy to push their personal ideology, then blame others when it does not work.

Cathy Doran-McMillion

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 3:37 p.m.

In 1979 my father was in the midst of a sudden and severe depressive episode for which he was under treatment. Someone sold him a gun and he took his own life with it. I sure wish it would have been harder for him to get a gun.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 7:08 p.m.

Cathy - I'm very sorry you lost your father. Realistically you know in your heart that had he wanted to take his life a gun was one of many means available. I've lost two people in my life time to suicide, both used drugs as their choice of ending their lives and those are illegal. We cannot protect ourselves from every eventuality in life. When we try to do so we only remove the freedoms available to the rest of the population which is a large and dangerous price to pay. Outlawing automobiles would save 40,000 lives every year, not allowing people to go to work would save even more. Again, I am sorry your father took his life but if he was determined there would have been no stopping him. God bless you and yours.............


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.

I'm sorry about your father, but is it possible that he would have taken his life with or without a gun? Nor do I see a situation where gun control would have stopped your father from getting his hands on a firearm (assuming he was a law abiding citizen). If his depression was as sudden as you suggest, I'm guessing it came on faster than any type of mental health screening would have prevented his access to firearms.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

This is an emotionally charged issue, on both sides of the argument. I wish I had the perfect answer, but the reality is that there is no "one size fits all" answer. Arming teachers - yeah, that's a great idea until you remember what happened in Chelsea a few years ago when the teacher was the shooter. (What would have happened if he had been angry with his class rather than with the principle and superintendent?) Mental Health background checks sounds good until the untreated mentally ill teenager gets a hold of his father's, legally obtained, handgun. Making a parent responsible for the actions of their minor child might help make some parents more responsible with gun storage and use of trigger locks. But what do we do about the young adults who are angry with their financial aid offer, such as what happened in Florida, and think its OK to express that anger by shooting the aid director? This young man has the right idea, but perhaps its too simply stated. We have become such an angry society that we think nothing of honking at the person in front of us who didn't immediately start forward when the light turned green. Do we stop to think that perhaps that person's wife or mother just passed away and it took a moment to wipe away a tear before moving forward? Or we think its OK to shoot a person who has cut us off on the road. Mental health care needs to begin getting some attention from grade school forward and anger management needs to be addressed. How we begin to address that elephant in the room, I have no idea.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

If I have this right: The GOP agrees with the young man in general, many of their media attention seeking "leaders" have gone on air and publicly supported mote mental health care. Yet, the GOP has a history of cutting mental health care funding, they did it under Engler, they did it under Bush I and they attempt to do it under Obama. The GOP says they are for the Free Market. Lately many GOP and NRA spokespeople have determined that certain aspects of the Free Market are to blame for mass shootings and gun violence. Out of control corporations and their "unaccountable shareholders" are the terms used I believe. They want some form of government control of the Market, now. According to the NRA and the GOP Eric Holder is responsible for the death of a US border agent. Not because Holder shot anyone or any ballistic evidence shows any gun moved through FF was used to shoot him, but because Holder was in charge of a program that attempted to track weapons used by narco traffickers. This does not apply to gun sellers or gun owners that lose track of their guns. Evidently AG's kill people, not guns or gun sellers. Multiple standards by the core values crowd, again. The NRA has been telling me for 30 years that the feds are going to come for my guns, it has not happened once, ever. I do believe that their is some basic mass confusion and mass hysteria in the ranks of the GOP and NRA.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 8:34 p.m.

And my first comment was supposed to end with, "While it's not great odds, 3/30 is still better than 1/10". I want the best odds when protecting me and my family.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 8:33 p.m.

I have no problem with giving more access to mental health programs but limiting magazine, not clip, size will do nothing. I think most would be shocked at how fast you fire off, and miss, 10 shots if someone actually broke into your house.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 8:31 p.m.

Clownfish, it may not inhibit your ability to get a firearm but it certainly would limit your ability as to what firearms you could buy. Every 10 years or so it seems that the previous gun regulations passed just weren't good enough (shockingly). And every ten years something else spurs a conversation to take it a step further. The fact is, they have been slowly limiting the guns you can purchase. First it was fully automatic weapons. Next it was "assault rifles", now it's "assault rifles" + specifically banned models and anything with not just 2 physical military characteristics, but 1. A pistol grip on a shotgun would be illegal = stupid. Next it will be semi-automatics all together once they realize that this didn't work. They are taking your rights away, and have been, despite what you want to claim. You may not realize it but they're chipping at it law by law that they can get passed. You said it best here, "I have no need for a gun that looks military style."...looks. Banning cosmetic features of a firearm will have no impact on gun violence. Thus, IMO, making the law nothing but a violation of our 2nd Amendment. If you can't guarantee that it will make us safer with direct statistics and studies, it's a violation. Even if you can, you'd be hard pressed to convince me that criminals doing bad things should = me losing my right to own a type of firearm. It's also a fairly naive statement to say, "I hit what I shoot at". Trained police officers hit what they're aiming at about 10% of the time when they're forced to use their weapon in real life scenarios. You may "hit what you're aiming at" when the target isn't a guy trying to rob you but that scenario completely changes when it is. You can do the math if you want but if trained professionals hit only about 10% of the time and you only have 10 rounds...1/10? Not good odds if you ask me. Even with a 30 round magazine that still only 3/30. While not great, it's s


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 8:21 p.m.

PS, the price increases on firearms seen in the last few years have not been driven by ANY federal regulation. It is purely purchases causing supply to exceed demand. Would you like to see limits placed on sellers in order to keep the price down?


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 8:18 p.m.

Mike, do you even one shred of piece of evidence to support your contention that FF was put in place to bring about MORE gun laws? Not myth, pundit quotes or "maybe, if, then, could, maybe, might..." ? HAIL@VICTOR, limiting clip size, having better mental health screening and putting limits on stock length and accessories etc will not inhibit my purchases one bit. All of my current guns fit these new proposed regulations. I have no need for a larger clip (I hit what I aim at the first 10 times or I don't shoot it) I have no need for a gun that looks military style. even after the assault weapon ban that Reagan supported passed I had no more effort obtaining firearms than I did before the ban. No fed ever came to my house. Not once. When DC passed it's now defunct rules on guns, nobody came to my house in MI to take my guns. When Chicago passed stricter rules, nobody came to MI to take my guns. The NRA has been telling me the feds are coming for over 30 years...has not happened yet, not once.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

You are making the point of the right, that existing gun laws should be enforced. Holder violated those laws blatently with the hope of creating an incident to enact tougher gun control. If our attorney general cannot uphold the law, and then invoke executive privelege to avoid prosecution, why should the rest of the law abiding citizens of this country trust the government enough to disarm ourselves?


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 4:06 p.m.

To your 2nd to last sentence, what do you think these new laws are doing? While they may not being going after someone's personally owned guns, they're going after the guns you may buy in the future, drying up the supply of firearms that you may have. If they passed a law tomorrow banning all guns except for the ones in civilian possession right now, would that not be going after our guns? You're thinking of the term too literally. If the government slowly erodes the types of firearms you have available to purchase they are, in fact, going after your guns simply because you won't be able to buy one after a certain amount of legislation.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

This makes no sense and young Mr. Cyr hurts his own credibility by labeling a former Governor and one other person (I have no idea who Alex Jones is) as "delusional." Sorry Mr. Cyr that you are growing up in an era where politicians find it necessary to insult one another rather than stick to issues. It was not always this way. I wonder if he knows even what delusional means. It means their opinion is based on false beliefs. I guess I am delusional too because I believe the proposed restrictions being tossed around to prevent violence are nonsense. I also thing Mr. Cyr does not fully understand what he is proposing. I would like to know how and why he thinks a "mental health screening" would identify people who should be barred from owning a handgun. Take James Holmes the Aurora spree killer for example. He graduated from the University of California with a degree in Neuroscience and was accepted into graduate school in that field. That indicates a high level of intelligence. With that level of education and competence, would any MH professional conclude he should be barred from owning a firearm? Ted Bundy, a psychopath of the worst kind, was a law school student, but could project a perfect personality; one way he was able to attract his multiple victims. I believe both of these two could take mental health screening and pass with flying colors. I think people who propose mental health screening think that people with MH issues are so mentally ill they cannot appear to be normal at all.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 12:48 p.m.

Unfortunately our HIPPA rules would prevent releasing any mental health screening results to ANYBODY. Our government at work :)

gerald brennan

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 11:41 a.m.

To Liam, Well spoken for a 17-year old. I'd like to share a few observations. -- "... The issue is as simple as we have been facing violent crimes of larger proportions in the last few years and most of these involved the use of military grade weapons." No civilian is allowed the ownership of Mil-spec weapons. This is perhaps the main misleading tactic of the mainstream media. Military assault rifles are capable of select-fire (multi-round burst, or sustained "machine gun" fire from a single press of the trigger). Don't be misled here. -- "It seems everyone would agree that this is not okay," Legally, it isn't. -- "Delusional spokesmen such as Jesse Ventura and Alex Jones seem to be raved about all over online new sources. Often, when they attempt debate on television shows, they have similar tactics: yell, shout, conspire to frighten the audience and make sure the opposition can't get a word out." They do blab on like psychos. But they are the two worst out of 10s of millions of gun-advocates. No one, you included?, would suggest that they are representative. -- "As a nation, we face a problem of military-grade weapons getting in the hands of mentally ill citizens; extremists of the Second Amendment fail to realize, or at least fail to acknowledge..." I think almost all gun-owners actually agree with you. No one wants nut-jobs with guns. The only danger here, is that it's within the power of the feds to single out people they don't like and have them branded as crazy. Soviets did it all the time. -- "The middle-ground is clear; it is time to act and make progress toward less gun violence." I wish you would consider that Gun Control isn't about the gun; it's about control.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

Gerald, "Well spoken for a 17-year old." You artfully masquerade your condescension with a compliment. Well done! Bet that as is may, you state: "The only danger here, is that it's within the power of the feds to single out people they don't like and have them branded as crazy. Soviets did it all the time." and: "I wish you would consider that Gun Control isn't about the gun; it's about control." Really Gerald? You rely on an old chestnut that that the NRA uses all the time - ignore what's happening today and focus on some hypothetical dystopian future. Change the subject by playing on paranoid fears.

5c0++ H4d13y

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 2:09 a.m.

Mr Cyr, what is the FPR and FNR of the process you propose? How many people will be tagged as mentally ill that are actually not from your proposal? How many people that are mentally ill will be tagged as not from your proposal?

G. Orwell

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1 a.m.

I am sure someone with common sense asked this question already. Who gets to decide who is and isn't mentally competent? What if the Feds purposely cast a very wide net in order to deny a very large segment of the population their rights guaranteed under the 2nd Amendment? Plus, it appears it is the psych meds causing people to lose it and go on a shooting rampage. I believe 95% or higher of the mass shooters were on psych meds like Prosac. Therefore, do not ban guns, ban the meds. Psych meds don't work that well anyways.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 11:43 a.m.

Opinion can't be apart of the issue, and that's the problem. If it's opinion than that means there's someone else who may think otherwise. At that point who's opinion do we get to use? How do we know that race, sex or social economic status was not involved in the decision? How do we know the person, or people, making the call weren't paid off? In our current form, I can't see this being a huge issue - but you have to think in the terms of the 2nd Amendment. It's pretty hard to protect yourself against any form of government if they can, this easily, control who gets a firearm. Maybe anyone who's revolting is deemed "psychotic"....

Atlas Shrugged

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 11:33 a.m.

Setting the issue of gun licensing/ownership aside for a moment... (1) "Psych meds" work extremely well for many people, certainly not all. The "prozac defense" (which has been used by attorneys with defendants who were taking not just prozac, but many other psych meds) hasn't fared well in courts. For many people, the problem is not that they are taking psych meds, but that they stop taking them. (Again, I'm intentionally separating this from the issue of gun ownership.) (2) Opinion MUST, or at least often IS, and important part of the issue. Some psych diagnoses are fairly clear-cut, but in many instances the diagnosis is based on the OPINION of the health care provider. There is no blood test, for example, for schizophrenia, depression, and so on. Then we get into the issue of precisely who makes the diagnosis. A board-certified psychiatrist? He or she would be the best, but in terms of actual numbers there aren't many of them, and their services would be extraordinarily expensive. A primary care doc? Usually not trained or experienced enough to make a proper diagnosis? A nurse practitioner? Same as the PC doc. And on and on it goes. So, opinion plays a role, no matter what a law may say, and MANY people will be misdiagnosed.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:29 a.m.

Exactly, it has to be something where there are requirements either met, or not met, the be deemed not mentally stable enough to own a firearm. Opinion needs to stay out of it.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 12:24 a.m.

The Connecticut shooter actually attempted to buy a rifle at a Dicks sports a week before the shooting, our gun laws prevented this from happening. Nothing will prevent a teenage kid from stealing a firearm from their parents closet other than the parents being responsible. The background check that's run on gun purchases could be strengthened but in the end it will have little impact on these types of shootings. It's been stated relentlessly at this point, but rifles are used in an average of 300 murders a year. What we categorize as "assault rifles" are used in about half of those. You can argue that there should be limits to what guns we can own under our 2nd Amendment rights, but what I hate to see is that the justification for limiting my rights is based off of a type of firearm being used in maybe 1 major incident a year. Sorry, that just doesn't cut it with me; especially when we know based on our previous law that banning these types of weapons has no impact on gun violence or school shootings. If someone could promise me that as soon as these types of firearms are banned that these shootings won't happen, or won't happen with the same frequency, I think most would give up that right in a hot second. But that's not reality and it's why you see groups like the NRA take such a hard stance. If people want to have a discussion about gun control and how to prevent school shootings then it has to happen with the anti-gun crowd first acknowledging the facts. Banning cosmetic features of a firearm will do nothing.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 11:44 p.m.

Who wants to bet this was another legal gun owner who just had a bad day ? This is unreal and it happens most everyday across the USA with all these legal guns. Eastpointe — Police are looking for the husband of an Eastpointe woman found shot to death in her home Saturday. Officers found Christina Lazzana, 33, after responding to a request to check on the woman in the 23000 block of David Avenue. Police are treating the case as a homicide. Lazzana's husband is considered a person of interest. Lazzana was the owner of Big Top Popcorn on Gratiot in Eastpointe. A post on the business's Facebook page Sunday afternoon announced a candlelight vigil for Lazzana at 6 p.m. Sunday. From The Detroit News:

Basic Bob

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 2:57 a.m.

The last local death was not by an unstable gun owner. And what about kitchen knives? Do we need to get the entire family to take a training course, demonstrate competency with knives, submit to a background check and drug screening, and install locks on the knife drawer?


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:19 a.m.

And here's the problem, none of the gun control being discussed would have ever prevented this......If a legal gun owner wants to kill his wife, they're going to be able to do it under pretty much any gun control measure being discussed - even if you limited it to 1 shot rifles. As sad as that sounds, it's reality. Since guns aren't going away, you can't use instances like this to justify legislation that hurts the millions of other people who committed no crime.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 11:59 p.m.

Paul, unfortunatly your post continues the myth that more guns equals more crime, despite the FACT and statistics that show the opposite. Taking away a law abiding citizens right to self defense , because of a criminal action of a very small minority of gun owners (legal or otherwise), DOES NOT make society safer. Sheep are not safe among wolves..........Places where people have very limited gun rights (or non at all) are places where violent crime rates are highest, that's just a fact, and constantly ignored by gun control advocates.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 10:09 p.m.

I am extremely discouraged, that you actually think we can BUY military hardware. It is extremely expensive or just illegal. Also, by advocating less gun violence the consequence is more homicide. We should not have to prove our innocence. Those in the DR field should be able to report to the NCIS without repercussion. And the recommendation should have 2nd report in a year. The Dr for that nut in Colorado could have done that. How about that mall shooting a couple weeks ago, a gun was shown and the slaughter STOPPED.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 9:42 p.m.

Sadly today, standing up for constitutionally protected rights and individual liberties is"extremisim", and limiting or redefining those bedrock rights and freedoms is "principled"..


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 9:15 p.m.

I have a Ruger 10/22. It is the most popular rifle out there, used for small game and target practice, it is 22 caliber, has a ten round magazine, and fires one bullet for every pull of the trigger, millions are out there. If I put a 25 round magazine in it, If I were to put a "pistol grip handle" on the stock behind the trigger, If I were to modify the stock to enable it to extend or fold, If I were to add a "handle" to the forestock (the area in front of the trigger), this rifle then becomes an "assault rifle". Those modifications make it no more accurate, no more deadly, and DO NOT make it a "military weapon", the firing system has not changed . Yet all the "AK's", "AR's" LEAGALLY sold today, use the exact same firing mechinism (semi automatic), yet because of ergonomic or accessorie designed modifications, somehow that makes them deadly "military assault weapons" by our "leaders" who know nothing about guns............There is NO military in the world that uses a Bushmaster, or a "AR" or "AK" rifle that you can buy legally at Cabelas, military weapons are all semi/FULL automatic (machine guns). This is nothing more than politicians using a tradgedy to pass an ideological agenda of "gun control",, not better security for schools or making the world safer for individuals. Bidens "commission" did not include security experts, military experts, or firearms experts who could have addressed how to protect schools, there was no studing the was all gun violence victims and groups who agreed with his agenda, there was no fact finding, or policy debate, it was nothing more than a way to legitimize a pre determined political agenda.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:22 a.m.

I love that people think banning cosmetic features of a gun will somehow impact anything. They're scared because a gun looks black and has a flashlight and think it's somehow more dangerous than one with a wooden stock.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 8:33 p.m.

Know the best reason why mental health screening might help reduce gun deaths? No, not because of the statistically very small number of these "mass" shootings perpetrated by lunatics. Those get tons of press (and rightly so), but the majority of gun deaths - 60% - are suicides.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 8:07 p.m.

Young Mr. Cyr: thanks for your concern but it seems to be misplaced. I too began political activism at around age 17 - that was 50 years ago. My longer experience may help you on this topic. (It does take time to process all of this hysteria and start looking into long-term consequences and the motivations on either side.) I hope you notice that this same debate has been erupting cyclicly for about 50 years. You have to wonder why the issue wasn't resolved - 48 years ago. It has to do with people believing in ideologies before reason. And, as a matter of historical accuracy: it was the gun control proponents who first argued for regulation of the general population to attain the goal of "less violence, fewer casualties." But their over-generalized belief in imposing forced resolution on ALREADY innocent and harmless gun owners led to the gun owners becoming highly alarmed (as would anyone who comes under sudden, baseless attack). You might want to change is your assertion that "increased violence" is most often the result of using "military style" weapons. The FBI & Michigan State Police stats BOTH disagree. Those 2 agencies don't get confused by politically re-defined terms like "assault rifles." Your central premise ("a mental health screening for any gun purchase could significantly lower violent crimes committed through shootings.") STILL wrongly targets the vast majority AND gives government the power to "decide" who's mentally safe and who's not. Our entire mental health efforts have been UNABLE to cure or correct MOST mental illnesses. ONLY a rare few mental illnesses carry violent tendencies. Processing 80 million gun buyers through THAT system to catch no more than 100 dangerously ill people DOES NOT constitute reasonable action. (It's kinda silly.) If just one life can be saved by the defensive use of a gun: then government should do all in its power to promote gun owners


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

I don't see gun control just as an infringement on my 2nd Amendment rights, I see it as an infringement on my "Bill of Rights" (the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution were meant to be viewed as a block). Infringing on EVERYONES rights because of a few loonies does not cut it. And please, do some research on "military grade weapons" before calling the proposed gun ban a ban on "military grade" firearms. The middle-ground is clear; it is time to act and make progress toward less violence in media aimed for the consumption of children, 17 year old boys and 22 year old manboys living in their parents basement. and... the best way to protect yourself from a crazy person with a gun is a sane person with a gun.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 7:45 p.m.

Won't someone please fix the headline typo?! These are letters to the Editor, are they not? Edit, please!


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 7:17 p.m.

"they have similar tactics: yell, shout, conspire to frighten the audience and make sure the opposition can't get a word out." Liam, that's what those who are dissin' you because of your youth are trying to do. Instead of addressing the points you've made, they focus on something irrelevant because they cannot or will not use critical thinking. Thanks for writing. You rock.

Tom Todd

Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

I know Responsible gun owners and very irresponsibly gun owners.

Boo Radley

Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 5:17 p.m.

I applaud Mr. Cyr for taking a different approach than just using the "We must ban all guns" viewpoint. However, as others have pointed out, the mental health issue in this debate is also very complex and not easily solved. Mr. Cyr makes it clear where his feelings lie by beginning his letter mocking pro-gun "quotes", and using such terms as "extremists of the Second Amendment". I don't mean that as a criticism but wanted to point out that there extremists on both sides of the debate, and currently it seems as though the anti-gun "extremists" are being the most vocal.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 7:39 p.m.

Extremism is watching 20 children die from an assault rifle and recommending arming teachers. That is not only extremist but also lunacy.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 5:14 p.m.

it is just to bad that those with mental illnesses comments less that 10% of the gun related crimes in this country. So screening for mental illness is just an excuse to demean those with mental impairments.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

'The issue is as simple as we have been facing violent crimes of larger proportions in the last few years and most of these involved the use of military grade weapons." To be 17 and think I have it all figured out again......those were the days. Then I grew up, started paying my own way, started to pay taxes, actually figured out why we have a second amendment (to protect the first), realized that politicians from both parties cannot be trusted, and that we have lost a generation of young people who can be sold on any cause without much effort. We really don't need or want teenagers and kids dictating public policy, we have enough politicians screwing that up. We have serious problems like our federal spending that needs to be addressed and not on an emotional basis by trotting out little children with sad stories in front of news cameras to sway those who are easily swayed by that kind of drama...............

taxpayer united

Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

Evidently you do not realize the extensive background check that is performed to receive a CPL ( Controlled Pistol License ) in the state of Michigan. It takes 4 to 6 weeks and an extensive backround check is done as well as anyone with a history of mental health issues will be turned down. This license is commonly called a CCW in other states. You can not just walk into a store and buy a Gun a background check will be done. Maybe you should of researched this before you sent your letter. I agree with a Ban of Assualt rifles and Military weapons. But, un-arming law abiding licensed citizens is not the answer. Criminals and Mentally Ill individuals are going to find ways to obtain weapons new or old believe me.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 9:34 p.m.

Criminals and Mentally Ill individuals are going to find ways to obtain CPL s too. I know of a few myself. One of them murdered his wife and shot himself.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 8:42 p.m.

Michigan CPL = Concealed Pistol License.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 4:20 p.m.

The current gun control debate reminds me of the infamous 1960's documentary "The Titicut Follies". At the end of the documentary, the line between patient and doctors/nurses was so blurred as to suggest that they had all gone "crazy". Well, this debate has shown that this entire country is sick. A large part of that is due to a media that recycles nonsensical talking points over and over, and a willing viewership being suckered in, without thinking for themselves. My opinion: enforce EXISTING gun laws before worrying about more laws!


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 3:31 p.m.

The problem with using "mental health screening" as the bar is that nobody knows what that phrase means. To many on the gun control side, anyone that wants to own a gun is nuts, and therefore should not be able to own one. Do you really want an administration lead by one who mocked those who "cling to their guns and religion" to be drawing that line?


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 3:21 p.m.

" most of these involved the use of military grade weapons." Where is your data to back up the claim? Also, how many of these crimes that involve guns are guns that are legally registered and purchased vs. stolen or illegally purchased guns? How many of the shooters have been diagnosed with mental conditions before or after the crime?

Jim Mulchay

Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 3:10 p.m.

I think Mr. Cyr makes some good points - One clear one is that the media (print, electronic, televised. etc.) does not do a good job of presenting issues, just "viewpoints" - and remember approval by MSNBC or FOX is not a requirement for action by the government; Screening for mental issues seems to be reasonable (some screening is already available subject to the information being entered and accessible) - But this is where I think it gets interesting - how much mental health screening is acceptable? Is prescription medication enough to deny gun ownership (and which medications?)? Is treatment for depression enough to deny gun ownership (suicides)? Is a mentally ill (legal definition) person in a home enough to deny gun ownership in the home? Remember the HIPA regulations - how far do they go and is it necessary to allow more information to be released? At the same time do criminal acts committed as a minor deny gun ownership when an adult? What juvenile records are NOT destroyed? Lots of issues exist on background checking if that is intended to be the primary way to restrict gun ownership.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 2:51 p.m.

Ahhh, youth....


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 3:12 p.m.'s squandered on the young.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

Let's require a Mental health screening before you can run for office.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

So my next question is this: What exactly will we be screening for? What's the minimum bar under which we can legally bar an individual from exercising their Constitutionally protected rights? What if you're simply depressed - no gun? What if you are narcissistic and anti-social - no gun? How about social anxiety - again, no gun? How long will the determination of mental health be in effect? Can it be taken yearly? Will it be for life? Where will I be able to appeal a decision to should I disagree? What will we do if two professional opinions disagree? Who will decide when an individual has crossed "a" line society has drawn up and can no longer own a firearm? Will it be a panel of sophists and elites, politically appointed, with no direct accountability to voters? There's a huge chasm between advocating for tighter mental health screening, and the actual mechanism by which we will deny individuals their Constitutionally protected rights. The questions I've posed will all need to be answered before we get to that point.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

You're right, Paul, owning a gun makes one--especially one's family--deciedly less safe. One bad day,one case of mistkaken identity, one stint of depression and good people end up dead.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 2:19 p.m.

Right on, that is why few people should have this right to bear arms. How many killings are done by law abiding people who just lose their cool one day. Many gun shootings are done by legal gun owners. People fail to see they are part of the problem. Just buy more and more guns and be shock when another senseless shooting happens.

Elijah Shalis

Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

Well said Liam. the key is more mental health coverage and screening. The GOP has defunded mental health since the 1980s under Reagan and then again under Engler and they just decreased funding again for Community Mental Health his month.

Hot Sam

Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 5:45 p.m.

Cold has it need to do some research about why changes were made to the mental health system. Of course it's easier to repeat partisan talking points...


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 3:29 p.m.

Several recent mass shooters were under a doctor's care. The simple fact is that psychiatric care isn't good enough to prevent this sort of thing, especially since we're unwilling to lock-up people that haven't previously shown a predisposition for violence. And mass shootings count for a tiny percentage of all murders - the vast majority are committed by perfectly sane individuals with anger or other issues.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 3:19 p.m.

Yes, the obligatory blaming of Reagan. Cyr managed to keep that out of his letter.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

the result of an ACLU law suit


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

Yep, social programs have been set aside, waste of money they thought. Just like Reagan thought GED' graduates could run the US airports--then one day 4 planes were hijack at around the same time.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

The second amendment does not grant he right to own any kind of gun there is, nor does it say we can carry them anywhere we want. Most importantly, however, it has absolutely nothing to do with protecting us against a tyrannical government. I defy anyone to prove me wrong on this point.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 10:27 p.m.

rad, you probably need to read Federalist Paper #46 a little more closely. "...Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms..."


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 7:08 p.m.

If you're refering to the Jefferson quote:" When the gov. fears the people there is liberty..." try again. Modern scholars find no evidience he ever said that. I've read the Federalist Papers too. I've never had any reason to think the framers were worried about a tyrannical government, but rather protection from foreign powers was their rational for the second.

Hot Sam

Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 5:42 p.m.

This ignorance with regard to the constitution is a classic example of the failure of our educational system...


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 5:16 p.m.

Radlib2 - Try reading the writings of those who wrote the second amendment. Arrogance and ignorance is not a pretty combination.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 2:41 p.m.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. The Framers did not say "A Militia well regulated by the Congress, being necessary to the security of a free State" -- because a militia so regulated might not be separate enough from, or free enough from, the national government, in the sense of both physical and operational control, to preserve the "security of a free State." You have been proved wrong.

Dog Guy

Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

The Bill of Rights does not "grant" rights, it protects against federal government violation of inherent human rights.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 2:19 p.m.

actually it does. you can own anything you can afford to buy. "There are people who own MiG-15/17's, Yaks, and AN-2s and fly them as personal aircraft. You can also get a Czech L-39 trainer on the market as well. I've heard of some people owning F-4 Phantoms too."


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

Second Amendment, where does it say that it does prevents me from owing any type of weapon I want?

Dog Guy

Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

When Pioneer H. S. ended its rifle team and shut down its basement range, local ignorance and fear of guns increased. Ignorance and fear increase assurance that there is nothing more to learn. One specific mental health screening criterion for any gun purchase has been made:


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

When they shut down the basement range they did NOT end the program. It was moved to the ROTC building on campus, where it remained for decades. The rest of your post is baseless opinion. How did "local ignorance and fear of guns increase" because the basement range was closed? I would suggest that your comments are based on fear and ignorance.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

I shot on Pioneers Rifle team. Years later when I was at the school doing some guest speaking to the senior class on youth & the police, I got into a discussion with The Administration about weapons in school. I pointed out to them that as a student I used to bring my target rifle to school.they were flabbergasted. I took them downstairs and showed them where the gun locker and range were. They were speechless, didn't have a clue students brought guns to school.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

Long ago my Father was in the rifle club at Bach elementary school where he would carry his .22 rifle to school uncased and unsupervised, yet not one single shooting happened. Lets just write a letter to scare people.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Piers Morgan can be added to the paragraph regarding the "delusional spokesman" as he also attempts to scare viewers. At first he stated that the Sandy Hook weapon was capable of shooting 100 rounds per minute and now he has stepped it up to be 100 dead kids per minute. Not to mention his propensity to interrupt and belittle anyone who has a view different from his. His dismal ratings might have something to do with it also.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

17 and going try and lecture me about guns or reality ? I think not.This is my first and only comment.Now comes the no reply thumbs down trolls


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.

you could refute his argument, like an adult.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 3:46 p.m.

It's quite sad that you see it this way. This young adult shows initiative to enter the public debate by taking the time to write a public letter under his own name rather than just throwing anonymous comments on forums, speaks his opinion honestly, and does so I believe in a fairly respectful way compared to the usual banter on this topic. Rather than griping about who this little whipper-snapper is thinking they can lecture a grown man like me about guns, I would commend him for his ambition to enter these complex debates in a manner that seems more respectful and productive than most people 3 times his age. Then if you disagree, you can explain and discuss. Simply dismissing someone's civil attempt to express their views as invalid solely because of their age however, is the work of an immature troll indeed.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.

The kids aren't brained washed yet, maybe we should listen more to them

Basic Bob

Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

I voted you up. "I am extremely discouraged by the lack of unity" Could it be there is no simple answer?

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

"most of these involved the use of military grade weapons. " actually they are no more military grade than the Toyota Camery in the Kroger parking lot is NASCAR racing grade.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

Rabid, the 2nd Amendment is not a privilege that can be taken away like a drivers license.

Dog Guy

Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 4:20 p.m.

Here's a so-called "assault rifle" which is legal in California:


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

Thank you Boo you are correct.

Boo Radley

Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

cinnabar indicated his post was directed at the opinion article by quoting from it, and not in response to Mr. Lounsbury's reply.

Atlas Shrugged

Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

If, cinnabar, you are calling Rocky the Squirrel's (Mr. Lounsbury's) comment a complete lie, you are wrong and Mr. Lounsbury has hit the nail on the head and did a great job explaining the situation in a way that most people should (but obviously don't or don't want to) get. Many if not most guns being proposed for a ban merely share one or more cosmetic features with a military gun, and to me banning something just because it looks like something else is foolish. Apparently, though, it assuages the guilt of the ban proposer, and makes them look and feel as if they're "doing something." It's hand-wringing, smoke and mirrors, and little more than that.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

If one can't see very well, can't pass a driving test, plus a slew of other reasons, one loses the privilege to drive. If one is on probation, that person can't legally buy of consume alcohol. If someone isn't fit to parent, the state will take her kids. We have regulations for a reason--public safety and welfare, which often trump individual's rights.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

"most of these involved the use of military grade weapons. " That statement is a complete lie. Maybe a mental health examination for sending letters to news outlets, or mental health examination for buying a car, booze, voting, or having children.


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

Maybe you should advocate as strongly for mental health parity. If the mentally ill had the same health coverage as politicians these incidents might be reduced. The sceenings you suggest might prevent people who have had a situational and brief episode they sought treatment for from ever owning a gun. In all the recent tragedies the mental health of the individuals was passed on or passed over.