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Does Dr. Ben Carson Have A Good Plan For Gun Control?

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 6/10/2015 John A. Tures
GUNS DOCTORS © David Crockett via Getty Images GUNS DOCTORS

The newly anointed front-runner for the Republican Party also has a new idea for gun control. But is it a good idea? Would it have stopped the Oregon killer, or even the South Carolina shooter? And would fellow Republicans embrace it?
Dr. Carson's recently released book, A More Perfect Union, is more than just a great title. It also contains a blueprint for attempting to solve the rash of school shootings.

In an interview with Business Insider
, Dr. Carson suggested developing a massive database of "dangerous people" who should not own a firearm.

"In the case of both the shooter in Aurora and the one at Virginia Tech, there was evidence that these were dangerous people. And that could be easily in a database. We have the mechanism for dong stuff, but we have to act on it. Common sense will tell you that you're not going to put dangerous weapons in somebody's hands like that. That seems like a big part of our problem. Common sense - we don't seem to have it anymore."

Anyone studying the issue knows that there are lots of background checks going on. But despite the reams of data, there's little integration of this data. Perhaps that's why a Georgia court ordered John Russell "Rusty" Houser to be committed for threatening his wife and daughter over the latter's wedding. But over in Alabama, nothing was done about it. Houser even got a gun from an Alabama pawn shop legally, so he could carry out his murderous rage at a feminist comedy film in Lafayette, Louisiana. If he couldn't kill his wife and daughter, he could find some surrogates at a movie for women.
Dr. Carson's plan might have stopped the Virginia Tech shooter and the Aurora Theater massacre, perhaps, if those who have been treated for mental illness are denied a weapon, as Dr. Carson's plan calls for. It wouldn't have stopped the Oregon community college shooter, unless there is any additional evidence uncovered that would show the killer had encountered any mental health treatment (instead of claims by someone that the shooter might have had mental health issues, an item that wouldn't register on a Dr. Carson database). It wouldn't have stopped the Charleston church slaughter, unless the shooter could be denied a weapon over illegal drug possession and trespassing at a mall (unless Dr. Carson calls for this as well).
Moreover, knowing that mental health hospitalization would cost a person the ownership of a gun, people would act to make sure they never encountered a mental health official or institution.
Dr. Carson would have a fight on his hands, but not necessarily from Democrats, who think the plan's not such a bad idea, but doesn't go far enough. Instead, he would have to battle fellow Republicans. Amazingly, Georgia responded to the Sandy Hook tragedy with some lawmakers seeking to make it easier for folks who voluntarily sought inpatient treatment for mental illness or substance abuse, to get a gun. It passed the Georgia House by a 2:1 margin.
According to the Associated Press' Ray Henry, the bill's sponsor, Rick Jasperse of the GOP, said "Simply being hospitalized doesn't make a person a criminal or a threat."

Dr. Carson did claim that he wouldn't rule out lifting the ban allowing the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to study gun violence
, in the Business Insider interview. This would put him on the side of President Barack Obama and the Democrats, but won't him many friends with the Republicans, who are loathe to admit that the issue needs studying. But at least one Republican agrees with Dr. Carson: former Rep. Jay Dickey, who originally authored the CDC ban on gun research.
John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. He can be reached at

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