First, the setup…
Beyond the obvious and wrenching tragedy for everyone involved, the Virginia Tech massacre became a Rorschach test of sorts as Americans tried to analyze how it happened and how it could have been prevented.
Many have asked how it was that no one in a position to act authoritatively heeded the numerous red flags that the gunman was a disturbed and menacing presence. Others have suggested that the shooting spree could have been cut short if even one of the students or professors had been armed. Still others have wondered how someone with the killerâ€™s record of brushes with the mental health system was allowed to buy guns.
All of these questions and points of view are understandable to one degree or another. The last is being addressed â€” and appropriately so â€” by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. […]
Illinois law requires any individual buying a gun to possess a Firearm Ownerâ€™s Identification card. Prudently, state law denies a FOID card to anyone who has undergone inpatient mental health treatment. Federal law also bans the sale of guns to anyone deemed mentally ill. […[
Illinois law might not stop someone with a potentially homicidal tendency from legally buying a handgun. The FOID law prohibition is for those who have had inpatient treatment, not outpatient. […]
But Illinois law also says a FOID card may be denied to anyone with a mental condition who â€œposes a clear and present danger.â€ A gray area, to be sure.
Question: Do we need to do more to prevent the mentally ill from buying guns? Explain.