Disability rights groups and gun rights groups are a rare alliance. The former group is typically comprised of people who reside primarily on the left side of the political spectrum while the latter group's base is on the right. However, the two groups put aside their other political differences to oppose a ban on gun ownership based on whether one has a Mental illness. Though I'm a proud Democrat, I have to agree.

Gun ban was a violation of disability rights

The ban was an attempt by Barack Obama to make it look like he was doing something about mass shootings.

The ban would have made it illegal for people who are on SSI for being unable to work due to mental illness to buy firearms. By targeting these people, it was thought that this would cut down on incidents like Sandy Hook. However, leaving out the Second Amendment, there are several major issues. Groups like the National Rifle Association, the ACLU and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network all said this was bad idea.

The first is that the issue was being addressed from the wrong angle. The vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent. In fact, they are more likely to be victims of violence, often at the hands of their own family. Civil liberties and disability rights groups said that this was a violation of people's rights.

People were having their right to purchase firearms without trial based on shoddy science and stereotypes.

Both sides blame the disabled for mass shootings

Which is not to say that such bad lawmaking is exclusively the purview of Democrats. Republicans have frequently tried to shift the blame for gun violence to the disabled to avoid talk about improving our background check system to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

One proposal by Tim Murphy (R-PA), called the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, would loosen patient privacy protections and allow family members to access their private medical records. Disability rights groups say that this can easily be misused by families. Many people who are mentally ill have good reasons for wanting the content of their doctor visits confidential (such as LGBT people for example).

Furthermore, the act would shift funding from community-based mental health treatment and towards institutionalization. There is currently nothing in the proposed bill that would set a national standard for how patients are treated. This would mean that it would be a patchwork system where some states have strong protections, others have weak protection and some let institutions self-regulate (a guarantee for disaster). This conjures up many images of horrifying institutions like Willowbrook, a New York mental institution whose filthy conditions and abusive staff shocked the world when they were exposed by Geraldo Rivera.

Mass shootings might be a problem but hysterically blaming a group that is often victimized by institutions in the public and private sector is not the way to solve it.

There are people who are mentally impaired to a dangerous extent. However, saying that everyone with a mental illness is one bad day away from shooting up a movie theater is no different than saying all Muslims will hijack aircraft and ram them into the nearest skyscraper given the chance. Both notions are ridiculous and should be dismissed out of hand. If we want to address the issue, we need to face it head on and make sure that everybody involved gets due process and that everyone gets a seat at the negotiating table.