Should Individuals with PTSD be Denied Gun Permits?

Sgt. Tim Mechaley of Omaha, Neb., received a combat medal with a "V" for valor during his service in Iraq. Qualified as a marksman, he trained marines on a .50-caliber machine gun.

But, according to a story in the Omaha World-Herald newspaper, when he returned to the United States and tried to obtain a gun permit, he was initially denied.

Why? The World-Herald says, "Mechaley has received counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] related to his service in Iraq. While completing an application for a gun permit, he responded 'yes' to a question that asked whether he was being treated for a mental disorder."

Mechaley said he "circled yes because I wanted to be completely honest."

So Mechaley, who said his PTSD symptoms have greatly improved, appealed the decision. "I was trusted by the {federal} government to carry a loaded weapon, but now I am not allowed to purchase one by my local government," he told the Herald, which points out the decision was eventually reversed by Omaha police.

But what about the argument that says society should keep weapons from those who may be prone to an explosion of violence? As one of the doctors says in the story, "In general, there would be some specific instances where I would be concerned about someone owning a handgun because of public safety issues."

What's the answer here for PTSD and guns? Are law-abiding citizens being denied their Constitutional rights -- or does the government have an obligation to look out for public safety?



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