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Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 7, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Background checks: Those with mental illnesses should not have guns

With the mass slayings by people with mental illnesses we need to endorse background checks as proposed by President Obama [“Obama proposes firearm background check changes,” News, Jan. 3]. Preventing murder, even with an insanity defense, is a high moral value notably seen in the Ten Commandments.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) members need a public campaign that reminds the public that we should not carry deadly weapons.

Years ago, Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote that the framers of the Constitution meant guns to be possessed by members of a well-regulated militia and law enforcement.

The founders never indicated a willingness for presidents, senators, ministers, church members, school children or bank clerks to be shot. President Washington shut down Shay’s Rebellion.

Except for hunters in rural areas, perhaps, we need to follow the low violence countries such as Japan and Australia. Those of us who are mentally ill need to advocate nonviolence and background checks.

John Freeburg, board member of NAMI Washington, Bremerton

Comments | More in Gun control | Topics: mental illness, National Alliance on Mental Illness, President Obama

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