NRA Wants A Mental Health Database – How About NRA Members With Diagnoses?

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, has recommended that we put armed security guards in our schools.  He’s made several stigmatizing and hurtful statements about persons with mental illnesses.  I’d enjoy hearing your responses. Here are mine.

1. It would cost several billion dollars to put armed guards in every school. If we are going to spend that much public money, let’s do it to improve our mental health care system. Let’s fund mental health screening and educational programs that combat stigma by teaching students that getting a mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of.

2. Mr. LaPierre said, “Five years ago, after the Virginia Tech tragedy, when I said we should put armed security in every school, the media called me crazy…” Apparently, he has forgotten that there were armed guards on the Virginia Tech campus during the shooting there. In fact, the school has its own police force with 53 officers.  Sadly, that did not stop Seung-Hui Cho from murdering 32, wounding 17 and then taking his own life.  He had a treatable mental disorder that had been under control while he was under age 18 and taking medication.

3. Mr. LaPierre said:

The truth  is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters — people so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can possible ever comprehend them. They walk among us every day. And does anybody really believe that the next Adam Lanza isn’t planning his attack on a school he’s already identified at this very moment?
How many more copycats are waiting in the wings?…. A dozen more killers? A hundred? More? How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation’s refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill?
This comment shows how important it is for us to educate the public. We should begin by informing Mr. LaPierre that if we are to believe the National Institute of Mental Health, then one million of his members have a diagnosable mental illness. (NIMH claims one-in-four Americans have a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year.)
If he really believes that compiling a national data base of persons with mental illnesses is a good idea, perhaps he can begin by sending the government the names of the one million NRA members who are ill.
About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.


  1. Chrisa Hickey says

    Maybe he forgets that Charelton Heston, former NRA President, would be in that database. I feel secure in saying Ted Nugent would as well.

    But of course, he misses an important point. In order to be in his heinous database, they would have to be diagnosed. And in order to be diagnosed, there would have to be enough psychiatrists to treat them all. And since there are 180,000 licensed gun dealers but only 7,000 child psychiatrists in the US, it’s unlikely for that to happen.

  2. Have you seen his latest comments in which he refers to them as lunatics and monsters? How terrible. He said that on national tv and no one corrected him. Your ideas are very good.

  3. Mr. LaPierre will have to put armed guards in churches, shopping malls, movie theaters and God only knows where else with his ridiculous plan. He thinks giving a gun to a good guy to shoot the bad guy will solve the problem. Sounds like cowboys in the wild West mentality to me. Money designated for federal, state and county mental health programs/services is a better solution. I wonder how Mr. LaPierre would think or feel if his loved one was the bad guy with the gun.

  4. I think Mr. La Pierre needs to include his name right at the very top of his so called list of “monsters”! His rambling on about a hired gun in every school is just INSANE. Where would THAT money come from?? What he is advocating sounds something similar to vigilantism. He is in some SERIOUS need of education where mental illness is concerned. Come on, Mr. LaPierre…..bite the bullet and enter into the 21st century. Statistics don’t lie!

    • What’s hilarious – and by that i mean really, really stupid – is that the Wayne and the NRA want a database of mental health patients.  BUT – gun owner registration violates their personal freedom.  The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.  MORE bullets whizzing through the air sounds more deadly to me.  Besides who decides who the “good” guys are that fill the guard position?  The NRA? 

  5. i hate the mental health system period i do not have a mental illness i am disabled im sick and tired of filth like that getting away with saying this type of crap villifying disabled persons is not going to help anybody its just going to make harrassment and bullying by filth like that even worse it needs to stop now

  6.  the problem is this system and psychiatrists poisoning persons with their so-called treaments that we definitely do not need they dont help they destroy peoples lives hope this psycho never gets what he wants

  7. KristenKringle says

    Frankly, as a patient under psychiatric i think more stigma from mental llness has been caused by Torrey and his ilk than the NRA.  When mental health professionals appear on tv every time a high profile heinous act occurs, before the facts are even it says a whole lot to the public about the “mentally ill,” as we’re called.  It’s not enough for him to say we don’t know the facts if he’s on tv and the radio on shows called “Mental Health and Murder.” That says everything to the public.  I’ve been very disgusted with the coverage, mainly because of mental health professionals, the hatred in the comments is evident of the impact on public opinion. Since all this has appeared on tv, i am more inclined to discontinue psychiatric care.  The shooter was a monster, whether he had a mental illness or whether he didn’t.  Even with a serious mental illness people it cannot be assumed that he did not know right from wrong.  The fact is we know nothing about the shooter, and mental health professionals should have stayed out of it until they did know.

     I’m not interested in paying the price for what that monster did.  if the NRA wants to create a database or Torrey wants to take away more of our rights making it easier for patients like me who are not violent to be committed, then they can have at it.  I don’t intend to continue as a psychiatrc patient if either of those things happen.  It’s stigmatizing enough as it is without mental health professionals making it worse.

    • Kristen, what you have shared with us (bloggers) in your post is heart-breaking and stigmatizing for you and millions of others. I have never heard of the show “Mental Health and Murder”. Thanks for giving me this insight into how you think and feel about recent violent killings reported in the media. You should not have to feel this way.

      • KristenKringle says

        Thanks for your understanding, Terri.  The show I was referring to was onpoint with Tom Ashbrook affiliated with NPR.  He said he didn’t want to jump to conclusions but of course the title of the show told a very different story.  Unfortunately, it’s very common in the media. They love stories about mental illness and violence, they don’t care if they have the facts to support their theories or not. 

        On the Diane Rehms show she asked what do we do about the seriously mentally ill?   One thing she and the rest of the media could do is stop using these events that they nothing about and try and attribute it to mental illness.  This feeds the public hatred.  You only have to read the comments blaming deinstitutionalization for these horrific crimes, to know that many in public would like nothing more than to see all of the “mentally ill” locked up.  The media and many of the mental health professionals who have spoken publicly have helped spread the hatred. 

        i’m not sure how they think that attributing every violent act to mental illness is going to help with stigma?  Who is going to want to hire a group of people portrayed as potential child killers?  Again, they don’t know anything about this guy but it doesn’t stop people from wanting to take away my rights.  I have missed medication, like most patients, and like most patients on medication or off, I don’t kill people. 

        The whole thing is so disturbing.  Mental health professionals need to get better representation in the media, or more people will continue to avoid treatment.  No one appreciates being linked with this guy.

  8. KristenKringle says

    By hatred in the comments, I want to clarify that i am not talking about this website.  I am talking about public and mental health professional comments written on various message boards, such as NPR, etc.

  9. Jonathansammy says

    How about the NRA handing over the entire list of their membership to be included in the register of the mentally ill?

  10. We must improve our public mental health system, prevention (1ry, 2ry and 3ry) is key, with families serving as first responders; and Mr. Wayne LaPierre needs assistance with his way of speaking because his silliness and ignorance is worrisome.

  11. Concernedcitizen says

    It is funny to me how most of the comments are blatantly hypocritical. calling out the NRA for saying something about mental illness and yet calling the members of the NRA mentally ill. He was not making the point that if you have a mental illness you are a monster. it was that people who do this sort of thing.are monsters and more often than not they have mental issues. I believe this country has always left the mentally ill behind and out of sight and now it is coming back to haunt us. so many people are quick to jump on the gun control wagon when the the real issue is we need to see how we can help these people, because they can’t do it alone.

  12. KristenKringle says

    Concerned Citizen, not sure what you are arguing.  Are you saying you support a mental illness database?  It’s beyond stupid to fill a database with every soccer mom on prozac and i guess the sociopaths won’t be included becausie they don’t seek treatment.  That is supposed to make us safer?  They do this and mental health professionals areni’t going to have too many volutary patiients.  Penalizing people for receving mental health treatment is not progress.  God forbid this idea becomes law I’m done with mental health care. The end. 

    • Concernedcitizen says

      did not mention any type of database. I am vehamently opposed to national databases, be it a database of mental illness or of gun owner ship. I do believe violent people she not be allowed weapons on anykind the same as felons are now. The problem is that most states to not report their violent offenders. Your last sentence is why a database of people with a “mental illness” would be detrimental. I feel there should be more help and support for the soccer mom and they should not feel isolated by a chemical imbalance.

  13. Pastrychef2011 says

    I’m a little late hearing about this but when I did it hurt me deeply. I have been struggling with a severe mental illness since the age of 14 and have been stable since 15. Does this man honestly think that I need to be on a database as well as other teens and be labeled as a monster because I was born with an illness. What happens when I apply for a new job and I get flagged as a lunatic or am not allowed on a school campus because I am some kind of monster. I really hope people open their eyes to how awful that Idea is.

  14. Gemma Tamburini says

    One problem I’m hearing with the database idea is fear of further stigmatization.
          DEAL with the STIGMA!
    . Why are people afraid, calling the mentally ill monsters,typecasting and stigmatizing them?   Because FEW if any are coming forward, to educate,
    personally and upfront what its all about. No one hears the whole story from doctors, families and advocates – -it is often second hand opinions and hype. Stigma can only be countered by the words and actions of the mentally ill themselves!
           If ever a group of marginalized, dehumanized, victimized people were, it is the millions of children and adults in this country susceptible to mental illness. Helpless schizophrenics who cannot understand that they are sick, children too frightened to confide to their parents their strange feelings, and adults put off from seeking treatment because of ‘how it looks’.
    Meantime, the ones who are recovering and functioning, are crying about stigma and databases.
        Lose your fear of stigma – Love yourself enough to refuse to be intimidated!  REAL people are suffering, future generations of millions more, who don’t need more of the same broken mental health care system!
        They need YOU, the psyche patient who’s got a job, and YOU who does pretty well with your schizophrenia, to STAND UP for them, the weak, and weakest.
    Come out of the damn closet and show others, teach, and rally for the MILLIONS who cannot advocate for themselves.
         Got a mental illness??  Doing okay? Family, hobbies, whatever?
    Start advertising it – show your community its nothing to be fearful of.
    Refuse to stigmatize your own self, and be proud of who you are, mental illness and all.
    We need guns kept from the violent, and the small subset of mentally ill that are prone that way. Creative intelligence can find ways to do that without criminalizing all mentally ill and sabotaging privacy.
    Think about privacy – by hiding your mental illness you are contributing to stigma.,

    • KristenKringle says

      Gemma, if only it were so simple. Coming out of the closet can have serious repercussions for people. There is a reason, a very good reason that Elyn Saks did not come out of the closet until she had tenure. It would have been professional suicide to do so earlier, and she knew this. I cannot come out of the closet. I don’t have tenure, and I need to be able to keep my job and pay my rent. No one I work with knows I have been in the psych ward. It is not my responsibility or obligation to be open about my mental illness with the world. My first responsibility is to take care of myself.