A professor at Johns Hopkins University is urging lawmakers to consider creating new gun laws which require American senior citizens to take competency tests to prove that they are stable enough to own firearms.
According to Shannon Frattaroli, PhD., the new requirements are necessary due to rising dementia and suicide rates among older adults.
“So much of the dialogue around guns in this country has been around crime, and lately, mass shootings. And the older population is not part of that. But when you look at the suicide issue, it’s impossible to ignore older Americans,” the professor told New America. “With that in mind, any conversation about guns has to include a conversation [about] gun ownership among older adults. There’s definitely more to be done on that issue in the United States.”
The academic also said older adults should consider weighing the risks against the benefits of gun ownership.
“Older adults need to consider the risk whether an actual home invasion is likely to occur, versus the likelihood that the [older] person would use that gun to do harm to themselves, or a grandchild would find that gun, or they would harm someone coming into the home who’s not there for a home invasion, someone there for a legitimate purpose like a caretaker,” she said.
Frattaroli continued, “The unintended and tragic potential family impact is much greater for older people than that scenario that the home would be invaded in the middle of the night and they would need to ward off that criminal with a gun.”
Earlier this year, the White House announced that it was workingwith the Social Security Administration to “begin the rulemaking process to include information in the background check system about beneficiaries who are prohibited from possessing a firearm for mental health reasons.” The move would expand the NCIS reporting to cover all of the nation’s seniors.