New York’s Thought Control Police

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryThe gun control/gun ownership debate is hitting new levels of hysteria. Recently, the State of New York passed the nation’s toughest gun law. Under this law, semi-automatic rifles are outright banned, and any handguns with a “military style feature” (such as a bayonet attachment) are also banned. Those people who already own semi-automatic assault rifles in New York state are allowed to keep them, but these weapons must be registered with the state. The law also provides for tougher penalties and more thorough background checks for people who are mentally ill who make open threats.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the ban into law, and it takes effect immediately. While the new law does not touch most gun owners in the state, and is in keeping with the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the new law does violate the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The new law requires doctors, nurses, therapists and social workers to report those who are mentally ill if they have shown any violent or unstable behavior. Here is the problem. One of the most important aspects of any patient’s privacy rights is that whatever they are being diagnosed or treated for must remain private. But now the state, in the hysteria of “finding mentally ill people who could do violence,” are requiring under threat that doctors, nurses, therapists and social workers to report these people.

This is not only a mistake and a violation of the U.S. Constitution, but this will drive people who made need serious help away from those who could help them. If a mentally ill person is reported by anyone as a possible “threat,” then the police will come and jail or shoot this individual. Even a mentally ill person can put two and two together—they will become a target to the authorities. This will mean that those who would otherwise seek help will think again. This will mean that such people may become more violent and paranoid, and this could in fact increase the risk of them becoming more violent and taking it out on the public at large. It is unfortunate that the authorities did not think this one through. I have an ugly feeling that someone may lose it and then gun down or find another way to kill people—prompting the state authorities to pass another stupid law that may make everybody feel good, but does not address the problem.

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