Gun Control, Mental Illness, and Black Trans and Lesbian Survival

Southwestern Law Review, Vol. 42, No. 4, pp. 855-899, 2013

Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 173-2014

46 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2014 Last revised: 24 Jan 2014

Gabriel Arkles

Northeastern University - School of Law

Date Written: January 3, 2014

Abstract

Those concerned with racial, gender, sexual, economic, or disability justice should be concerned about the direction and focus of national conversations in the wake of Newtown. Controversies over gun control and mental health treatment have a profound impact on those marginalized based on race, gender, sexuality, class, and disability. Gun control laws endanger trans people of color and queer women of color, as well as those labeled mentally ill, by failing to reduce interpersonal violence while increasing the violence of the criminal legal system. Instead of increasing incarceration of people in marginalized communities who choose to carry guns, we should consider true disarmament. This disarmament would involve demilitarizing police, decreasing incarceration, keeping cops out of schools, no longer investing in the armed forces, and instead investing in communities. Expanded power to commit people based on mental illness, whether on an outpatient or inpatient basis, also harms marginalized communities, especially queer women of color and trans people of color who are already highly vulnerable to pathologization, disablement, institutionalization, and abuse. Instead, we should consider investing more deeply in holistic, community-directed services for mentally ill people that support self-determination and social change, including fighting state and interpersonal violence against people with mental illness.

Keywords: mental illness, civil commitment, gun control, Newtown, gun violence, mass incarceration, criminal law, disability law, racism, transgender, lesbian, gender, sexuality, disability, race, criminal justice

Suggested Citation

Arkles, Gabriel, Gun Control, Mental Illness, and Black Trans and Lesbian Survival (January 3, 2014). Southwestern Law Review, Vol. 42, No. 4, pp. 855-899, 2013 ; Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 173-2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2374543 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2374543

Gabriel Arkles (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - School of Law ( email )

400 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
United States

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