Perseveration: The Reason Why This Second Amendment Supporter Also Supports Medical, Mental Health Screening For Firearm Permits

I genuinely support Second Amendment rights, but I don’t believe that absolutely everyone should have access to a firearm; I support mental health and medical screening for every firearms permit issued. I understand that laws designed to restrict the Second Amendment won’t keep criminals from accessing or using weapons to kill people. I understand that any number of methods can be employed by the bad guys to commit horrendous acts, and I understand that law-abiding citizens should have the right to protect themselves.

But what if we’re not talking about typical criminals? What if we’re talking about people with medical conditions, including patients with traumatic brain injuries, degenerative brain disorders, and organic brain damage? There is a psychological response known as “perseveration.” Perseveration can include a range of areas, including thoughts, actions, speech, and emotions. Perseveration is the uncontrolled repetition or continuation of an action, chain of thoughts, activity, or feeling, and it is usually caused by brain injury or brain damage. Perseveration inspired violence is, in my opinion, the one major things that gun control laws could actually control. If you have to change the semantics from “gun control laws” to “perseveration control laws pertaining to firearms” in order to be open to the idea of requiring mental and physical health screening before the issuance of a firearms permit, be my guest.

Perseveration is seen in a number of conditions, including, but not limited to: fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injuries, intellectually disabilities, and some mental illnesses. Now, I won’t propose that people who fall into one or more of these groups automatically should not have a right to bear arms. Just because a person has a tendency to perseverate in thoughts doesn’t mean they have an inability to control their actions, according to Dr. Mark Ylvisaker. He did, however, say that perseveration is often associated with other impairments like impulse control problems, impaired inhibition, inability to self-monitor, inaccurate perceptions of events, and a general inflexibility of thinking. When perseveration is coupled with these traits, avoiding the activities can end the stuck thought processing.

“If there are specific topics or activities that predictably evoke the student’s perseverative behavior (e.g., coloring activities or talk about dinosaurs or specific video games), then it may be best to try to avoid these topics and activities, thereby preventing the perseveration.”

FASD Network of Southern California’s literature states that perseveration that also includes inflexibility and lack of self-control is usually associated with damaged frontal lobes. In the book The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime, it is clear that violent offenders often have measurable brain damage.

Perseveration issues are often noted when brain damaged people are making transitions and adjusting to new environments. Interestingly, the mass shooter in Oregon had reportedly just experienced a major change in residence. Perseveration becomes a problem and not just a symptom of a neurological or psychological condition when it begins to disrupt the person’s life, disrupts the lives of those around him, or are centered around violence or injury, according to Exploring Dementia.

Psychologists and behavioral specialists believe that one way to prevent someone with a condition that tends to cause continuous perseveration from perseverating is to avoid those topics entirely. Owning a fossil might cause a predisposed person to obsess over dinosaurs. They might dress like an archaeologist, speak using archaeological terms, and relate everything back to fossils. Similarly, simply being gifted a firearm could literally cause a predisposed person to obsess over gun violence.

So, what would my “perseveration control laws pertaining to firearms” entail? They would not be politically-based, they would be science-based. The law would be written with input from neurologists, behavioralists, and mental health experts. But simply, certain people should not own firearms, because merely owning a firearm could easily cause their brains to become stuck on using the weapon, whereas without the weapon, they could be more inclined to move on to a different, safer topic to dwell on.

Certainly, if the actual perseveration is on violence alone and not on the firearms, anything could be viewed as a weapon, but few items are more commonly perceived upon first glance as a weapon by so many people. Few other weapons require such little executive functioning skill in order to cause such significant harm. Therefore, many possible non-firearm weapons wouldn’t trigger a perseveration about violence just because of their proximity in this particular subset of people.

People who have measurable damage to the frontal lobe, who are on psychiatric medication to control violent thoughts and behavior, or who are on psychiatric medication that lists any type of perseverance on violence as a side effect should not be given access to firearms. Likewise a 20-year-old with a cognitive age of 10-years-old should not have access to firearms. Permitting these subsets of the population access to guns makes criminals out of sick people. It undeniably sets them up for perseveration on gun violence.

The Second Amendment is precluded with the text, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State,” whereas permitting a person without the ability to control impulses or perceive reality properly access to firearms on which to perseverate upon does nothing for the security of a free State, fails to protect the mentally ill and cognitively challenged people in our society, and utterly ignores common sense.

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