Tags: mentally | ill | gun | violence

Dr. Drew: Mentally Ill Must Give Up Rights to Stop Gun Violence

Tuesday, 26 Nov 2013 06:57 PM

By Greg Richter

Public sentiment is uncomfortable with it, says Dr. Drew Pinsky, but it is vital to sacrifice the rights of the mentally ill to prevent more lives lost to gun violence.

"We have tremendous discomfort in this country with interfering with people's rights, even if those rights are infringed upon in such as way as to make them A. better and B. protect the rest of us," Pinsky said Tuesday on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

"We don't have a will to do it, and we must be willing to infringe on somebody's rights when it means they're impaired and can't make judgments about their own rights," Pinsky said, "particularly when it affects the rest of us and it affects the individual in question."

Pinsky, an internist and addiction specialist, said the medical profession knows the warning signs of people prone to gun violence but is unable to warn law enforcement because of the privacy rights of mentally ill patients.

Cook County, Ill., Sheriff Thomas Dart says his jail is the largest mental health hospital in Illinois and second largest in the U.S. because people have no other place to get care. And when they use the jail to get mental healthcare they are housed with the criminal population, which does nothing to improve their circumstances.

Dart's office has the power to deny people concealed carry permits if they have certain mental health issues, but if they have no place to get help, his office has no way of knowing about their issues, he said.

Pinsky added that people are unaware of the problem until there is a mass shooting. They need to realize shootings could be prevented, he said.

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