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Guns in America

How Mental Health Should Be a Factor in Gun Control



A man with brown hair and multicolored glasses, wearing a purple shirt, standing outside by a lake.
Boston, MA

While I am not a user of guns and I am not an owner, nor do I actually see any utility value in guns, I think it’s important when making policy decisions, to separate your own values and your own experiences from those you want to put upon others.

So, it’s clear to me that there is a large population in this country who does feel strongly about guns and for whom safety and proper use is very important. Furthermore, that is protected by our constitution.

We always cited the second amendment, specifically the right to bear arms, and with a little more detail, the right for a citizenry to arm themselves against the tyranny of a government, which was the founding principal of our country.

I think it’s almost impossible for anyone to deny an American citizen the right to own a gun and the right to defend themselves from a government that they think is infringing upon their right to freedom.

So, we clearly need to allow citizens to have gun rights, to do so would be to deny the American principle. I personally don’t use them, don’t want them, don’t have them, but I have a tough time telling someone else that they can’t.

The question is not whether or not we have gun rights, because we certainly do, the question is about gun control: should we put certain controls around the use of guns and even the ability of a gun?

We have lots of controls around cars, speed limits, etc. and I think it makes perfect sense for those types of controls to be extended to gun ownership and the types of guns we put out on the street. We don’t allow cars to go over a certain speed, we shouldn’t allow guns to shoot beyond a certain rate.

My feeling is while gun control is necessary to limit the impact of gun violence, it’s really lazy and kind of simple to be blaming guns for mass shootings or to be blaming federal policy. If there’s a policy you want to blame, it’s actually around mental health.

Blaming guns for school shooting deaths is like blaming cars for drunk driving deaths. The operator is the one we need to focus on, and it’s the behaviors of the operator that are the ones we need to look into. That’s a mental health issue, not a gun issue.

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