There is a reason that when I write about wanting something done about gun access in the US, I always say I want legislators to do something meaningful. Because doing something and doing something meaningful are not the same thing.
Senate Democrats will offer a pair of gun-related amendments to a budget bill on Thursday, seeking to put Republicans on record on the charged issue in the aftermath of Wednesday's mass shooting in California.I'm sure that's true. But I don't want gun legislation the purpose of which is to shame Republicans. I want gun legislation the purpose of which is to stop gun violence.
..."The entire country will know where every member of the Senate stands on tightening background checks, on keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists, and on strengthening and improving mental health in this country," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Thursday at a news conference detailing the strategy. "There are a good number — not all — but there are a good number of our Republican colleagues dreading these two votes. Dreading them."
And since many terrorists—and let us observe here that people on the government's terrorist watch list are almost exclusively people who conform to reductive, racist definitions of terrorism—can pass background checks and either aren't mentally ill at all or haven't sought treatment for mental illness, these proposals are all about doing something without doing something meaningful.
To the contrary, flagging people with mental illness for a government watch list is only going to discourage people from seeking mental healthcare treatment. That will neither "strengthen" nor "improve" mental health in the US.
Which is to say nothing of the fact that people with mental illness are more likely to be targets of violence than perpetrators of violence.
As I have said many, many times before, the problem with restrictions designed to keep guns out of the "wrong" hands is that most of the people who decide to use a gun to harm someone else are, per these definitions, the "right" hands until they're not anymore.
The only meaningful thing that is going to curb gun violence is fewer guns.