Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gun Control

I have been a huge proponent of gun control for nearly all of my life. I grew up in a city (Flint, MI) in which violence was rampant and the number of deaths by gun outstripped those per capita in NYC. It is only through the lens of a family member's illness that, for the first time, I see a potential equal-rights violation in limiting access to guns: Do we say, without fear of being way wrong, that those who have been treated for mental illness cannot obtain a gun?

I supported that policy without reflecting on it. I've been at the "wrong" end of a knife brandished by a bipolar client, so I've seen what mania can produce. But I've also been at the "wrong" end of a gun brandished by a mugger, who never revealed any mental illness to me.

Are we not revealing our ignorance and fear in a ban on the rights of one non-institutionalized segment of our society? One solution is, of course, that we ban all gun ownership, at least until we sort this out (though I would love to see a lasting ban; my experiences with guns have been universally bad). The solution I heard offered on the news recently -- that all citizens should bear arms and be trained in their use -- is more than impractical; it's a bit loony. So...what do we do?

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