[ExI] insanity plea

Mirco Romanato painlord2k at libero.it
Sun Feb 24 17:03:16 UTC 2013

Il 18/02/2013 03:09, spike ha scritto:

> During the current US debate on new gun laws, a question occurred to
> me.  Suppose we manage to pass a law which would prohibit those deemed
> mentally unstable from having a firearm.  If a crazy person was caught
> with a firearm, couldn’t she just plead insanity?  If that didn’t work
> and the judge declared her sane, couldn’t she then plead innocent of
> owning a gun while insane?

A law prohibiting someone from owning and carrying a firearm could only
be reasonable if the people affected are already deemed a danger for
themselves and others: usually these are violent criminals (usually
lacking self control) or unstable people (usually unable to self-control
or understanding the consequences of their actions) or some classes of
disabled like blinds.

If a mentally unstable person, already prevented from obtaining legally
a firearm, is able to obtain a firearm we must think:

1) he was sane enough to plan to breach the laws to obtain something
unlawful for him, so he must go to jail because he broke the law with
full will and understanding like any common criminal.

2) he was insane but able to obtain an illegal weapon, making him a very
present danger for anyone living near him. So he must be committed in an
asylum until the condition making him unstable is cured. Just the
compliance to the therapy must be always assured. If he is not compliant
with the therapy or the therapy is not effective, this is ground for
unlimited commitment, just like we would do with a lion unable to learn
not to roam and use the peasant as pastries.


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