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Forum: Psychological test for gun owners

Updated: February 1, 2013 6:21AM



I, as many Americans and people around the world, am appalled by the horrible tragedy that occurred Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. I am a clinical psychologist in private practice. In my experience, our gun laws are seriously inadequate.

Impaired mental health is a portion of our society and a reality. There are mood disorders and personality disorders that reflect irrational thinking and acting out. In psychology, this is referred to as cognitive distortions that can be biological in nature or environmentally triggered. Prisons are full of inmates who are mentally ill and have demonstrated poor judgment based on cognitive distortions.

It appears there are little or no filters in granting a gun permit to anyone who wants to legally have a gun in their home. This is a very serious problem. In my view, psychological testing should be required to assess a permit applicant’s mental stability. The risk of not doing so is high.

Dr . Dennis Niswonger

Clinical psychologist

Orland Park



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