When I was a little girl, my Mom never let me have a water gun. She felt that if we teach people that shooting each other is OK, they will shoot each other. It was pretty logical, to be honest, but it is not really what I have been thinking about.
A LOT of the recent talk has been about keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. While I get what these people are thinking, I also don’t know if they realize what that means and just how many people that might affect.
Let me go back and say that I am not a gun fan but I have gone shooting. I understand why people enjoy it. I also understand that there are parts of this country where guns are a necessity for protection. And right now I feel like we should be arming ourselves against the government, but that is a different issue completely.
I am a person who has long struggled with mental illness. I have long struggled with depression, possibly related to my ADHD. I had a terrible time with PPD, at which point I was hospitalized and medicated. I still struggle with some issues but overall feel like I have finally gotten to a good place.
There are many people like me; people who suffer, find help, get treatment and are able to move on. I am lucky that I had a supportive family, access to help and a treatable ailment. Should I be able to own a gun?
This is what I fear is happening right now: terrible things are happening and we want them to stop. CHILDREN ARE DYING. Rather than admitting that guns kill people, like cigarettes and drugs, we are looking for something to blame. People who kill people MUST be CRAZY, right? Why else would they do it?
So fine, we blame mental illness for our problems. This is going one of 2 ways. One, we start to provide treatment for the millions of people who suffer. PTSD and Drug Addiction would finally get the attention they need. People in prison would be given an opportunity to receive the resources to become better citizens. The country becomes healthy and happy and safe. Or two, people stop seeking help. The moment you ask you are put on a list. Any job that requires a background check won’t hire you.
When they say ban people with Mental Illness from getting access to guns, do they mean me? Would I forever be prevented from my constitutional right to protect myself because I have a disability? How would they assess what constitutes mental illness? Would it include people with extremist beliefs or victims of assault?
The CDC reports that of gun deaths in the US, most are suicide not homicide. Taking guns out of the hands of people suffering from depression would certainly help to lower that number, just not on the side they intended. That is, if they can figure out who the “crazies” are.
I don’t know what the answer is. I certainly support doing SOMETHING. Raising the age limit might have prevented the Parkland, FL tragedy, but certainly not the one in Las Vegas, NV. Banning assault weapons might have kept them out of criminal’s hands, but the most used gun in crime is a 22. Changing the second amendment could end the gun debate, but then how would we defend ourselves against the ever increasing militarization of our police force?
I really hope that we do something. Maybe the change will come state by state, maybe it will be a national choice. Someone has to try something! Background checks? Sounds good, let’s do it. Ban Bumpstocks? Sure. Raise minimum age? They can wait a few more years to mature. Choose one, or them all, and let’s add some mental health care to the mix as well.