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OpinionLetters

Guns and people with mental illness

A man fires a handgun at Sandy Springs

A man fires a handgun at Sandy Springs Gun Club and Range in Sandy Springs, Ga., on Jan. 4, 2013. Photo Credit: AP

In response to the Feb. 17 editorial “Gun debate goes further in the wrong direction,” I believe this perpetuates the misconception that “gun-rights groups like the National Rifle Association aren’t willing to consider any gun restrictions.”

Since 1968, federal law has barred the possession or acquisition of firearms by anyone who “has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution.” The problem with the Obama administration rule discussed in the editorial is that it expanded the definition of people barred from possessing firearms to include persons deemed “unfit” simply based on a psychiatrist’s diagnosis, a doctor’s referral or the opinion of a law enforcement officer — not by a court, board or commission as regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

So repealing this rule is not meant to put guns in the hands of the mentally ill; it is to protect people from being unfairly labeled. The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Council on Disability are encouraging the reversal of this rule as well.

Joseph Pignataro, Freeport

Editor’s note: The writer is a member of the National Rifle Association.

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In my opinion, the reason the National Rifle Association opposes even the most minimal gun restrictions is not about gun rights but about money. As the lobbying arm of the gun industry, the NRA wants to sell more guns.

A gun sale is a gun sale.

Douglas Kral, Rosedale

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