Jon Voight Swerves From GOP on Gun Reform, Urges ‘Mental Capacity’ Testing for Owners

·2-min read

Jon Voight, the Oscar-winning actor and outspoken Donald Trump supporter, has diverged from Republican leadership in advocating for background checks for gun ownership, calling for background checks and saying, “We must identify every individual for their credentials, for their mental capacity to bear arms.”

In a video titled “My soul cries for all lost” posted to his Facebook page Saturday, Voight — who was filmed in front of a backdrop of the US flag — called for action, saying that “we must do something about these horrors that are taken out on innocent beings.”

“It’s not about left, right, guns, no guns,” he began. “This is about brains that are dysfunctioning. This is mental. This is not about healthy human beings serving the country with arms to bear or even the right of this Constitution for bearing arms. It is a right to use arms with proper purpose to defend one’s safety. We must not allow mental illness to take away our right to bear arms.”

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While the veteran actor blamed mental illness and bullying for the country’s disproportionately high rate of mass shootings — something advocates say is “harmful” and misguided — he added that background checks are a necessity. According to psychiatrists, while mental health can be a factor associated with mass violence — and the US has the highest rate of mental illness and suicide of any comparable nation — there is a confluence of other complex, interconnected factors, such as stalled gun reform and easily accessible guns, often without the need for licenses.

“We must identify every individual for their credentials, for their mental capacity to bear arms,” Voight said. “There should be proper qualifications for gun ownership and proper testing. One should only own a gun if they’re qualified and schooled.”

The “Midnight Cowboy” star’s words are in stark contrast to those of Sen. Ted Cruz, who has blamed the Uvlade elementary school mass shooting — which claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers — on everything but inadequate gun laws.

You can watch Voight’s full video statement by clicking here.

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