I think education would be extremely helpful in this area. It worked for seat belts. It can work for this. People should be made aware of the risk of owning a gun if they have a mentally unstable person living in their homes. People should be made aware of how very dangerous an unattended gun is around children, even children who have never before shown any interest. You would think we would already be aware, but not enough, I don't think.
The interesting thing about suicide is that in general (there are always exceptions), it's a passing intent. People don't usually keep trying and trying and trying until they succeed. The urge often passes, sometimes never to return. Gun safes are great ideas, IMO.I'm sorry about your brother. I am. But if your father had the gun in a safe that only he had access to that wouldn't have happened. But if your brother was determined he may have found another way.
Guns are risky. And if the general public treated them as such we'd probably be much better off. That's all I'm saying.
I'll just say one more thing about mental illness. I have a schizophrenic niece (not the same as any of the other nieces I have mentioned here, but another one from my unending supply). I happened to witness her first break with reality, and it was one of the scariest things I'd ever seen. Her hallucinations were completely benevolent, but still, it was terrifying to realize that she was in a completely different room than the rest of us even though we were there together. To sorta-kinda know that someone can snap like that and to be thoroughly convinced of it are two very different things.
One of the big reasons I am an advocate for gun safes is my step-father. Like I said, unless he had one out for hunting I never even saw it. But my father kept a loaded gun under his mattress and not only did I play with it as a kid, someone stole it. We have no idea who to this day. We are incredibly lucky that something didn't happen. It could have very easily turned out differently. If my father had a safe and didn't show his gun to the world I think it would have been much better. All parents should have a very active education in what can happen with guns, gun owners or not.
And I point out again, the kid who shot two people in Portland. NO ONE - I repeat, no one - as of now had any idea that he was troubled. So you can't judge just on who's classified as metally ill or not. People can snap. But if your gun is locked up you are the only one who can get to it. Yes, maybe you will snap, but there's a much greater chance that you won't.
And as for suicides, a person can often hang themselves or jump off a building as quickly as they can shoot themselves. My cousin's father hung himself and no one told the world to ban rope. (Do not get me wrong. I am absolutely not making light of suicide. It's an awful, awful thing and I feel devastated for the families that it happens to, including my own.)
Anyway, I'm repeating myself now. So unless I have something new to add that's the last I'm going to say on this.
I really hope that people understand that people can be an advocate for gun control and still be okay with guns. I think if we can do that we will be able to move forward as a nation.
Okay okay. One more thing: this thread gives me hope that this discussion could potentially happen at a national level, remain reasonable, and have a good outcome. Okay that's it. That's all I got. I'm going to do the work that I have largely ignored for half the day.
Mental illness runs prettily heavily in our family, and is a lot of the reason why I will never have kids.
thought about this alot, even before all this, don't know the answer...but i have to agree with GNTLGNT: if there is an answer in looking at gun ownership, we need to take a deep breath and it needs to be well thought out...
we need to make sure it is crafted in such a manner that will it actually achieve a measurable goal/outcome, and whatever direction that may take...it really should not inflict an overly undue burden on otherwise law abiding citizens: the type of checks and balances gntlgnt mentions have always been on my list, if he, as an avid gun owner, can live with that, it sounds like a great place to start...
my brother-in-law drives a truck for a living, every two years he has to get certified for cdl/hazmat: it's a royal p-i-t-a...but, if we can make a citizen re-certify every two years just to make a living driving (or...flipping a hambrger !), why not make that so for people who wish to own high powered weapons: if you really want the big stuff...prove to all you are capable, mentally and physically, to maintain a proper aesthetic...everyone else, your average handgun owners, hunters using the normal range of stuff, collectors...for the most part, leave it alone or leave it to the states...
it doesn't matter to me if it was a gun, a knife...a bow and arrow or a tonka toy: we need to put aside our unreasoned fears: the overwhelming gun owning population will never use their weapons in any manner illegal...we need to make sure we are not blaming the responsible...if new laws/regulation are needed...create laws only that make people resposnsible...not ones that take away established freedoms
as for the nra...i'm not a fan: if they spent as much time defending all americans rights to individual freedom as they do that one single one...i'd be a happier camper: freedom is freedom after all...
but when you try and parse it out and act as if one bit of freedom is more important than any/all others...they come up way short on the defenders of freedom scale.
nonetheless, they are not incorrect, just as was pointed out by someone earlier: there always lurks 'THE SLIPPERY SLOPE"...whenever possible, it needs to be avoided...govt overregulation is not an answer to anything...too bad the nra has never seen fit to believe that for all americans all the time
it's real nice, cozy and safe to say let's ban assault weapons...but even a half-way trained person can massacre just as many, just as quickly with a handgun...unfortunately, given the situation that occured in conn., such a ban might not have changed a thing: he was already partially trained in gun usage...a lack of overwhelming firepower may not have made a bit of difference...
and the 'bad' guy ?? no matter what we do, even if at that moment it seems so rational...he will always continue to do what bad guys have done: no law will ever change that...
i think the big elephants in this room are not gun control but how we, as a society, treat the mentally unhealthy, how we apply laws once a legal item is used illegally an dour everpresent culture that glorifies, in too many ways and forms, violence...those, more than anything, if reacted to and treated properly, may have a far greater affect than banning anything
I have to say I really dislike this article. IMO and experience not all mentally ill people are evil and not all evil people are mentally ill. I really, honestly believe that the term mental illness is the new scape goat so that people don't have to be accountable for their actions. I have heard reports that this shooter (I won't say or type his name) had Asperger's/personality disorder/oppositional defiant disorder but that doesn't mean that he was prone to violence. This article is written to make us feel for the shooter and that he is a victim too. I, for one, cannot do that. What disgusts me the most about this article is that the writer mentions Newtown, Columbine and Virginia Tech but not once is one of the victims acknowledged.
My heart goes out to all of our members who's lives have been touch by some type of gun-related tradgedy. I feel for you all. That said, there is absolutely no reason for anyone to own a semi-automatic, uzi or rapid fire gun. What's the point? They're not for hunting. That's the only reason, to me, why anyone would need a gun, other than self-defense. I know I'll take some heat for this, that's fine. It's my belief, you can agree or disagree with it. You have your beliefs, I have mine. Guns terrify me. Don't care if there locked up, hidden, whatever, they terrify me. I've had too many encounters with them when I was a kid, I'll not get into that part of my past. Why did this killer's mother have to have this type of gun in her home? Why? Seriously? Why? I just don't get it. Plus, she knew that he was unstable, hence the warning to the babysitter and also telling other people that she was losing control of her son, so why would she have guns in the home? We now have 20 beautiful, innocent children and 6 wonderful adults dead. Gone. Think about that. Just gone. 20 children who will never see another sunset, never play with the toys their loved ones bought for them for Christmas, never grow up and have children of their own. Yes, I agree that if you want a gun for protection, you should have one, but not a 'machine gun' type. There's no point to them other than to cause as much destruction as possible. This killer has accomplished this, in such a horrible, horrible way. When is our country going to wake up? How many more have to die like this? Just in the last week we have a armed killer enter a mall in Portland and kill people, then while I'm watching my bluray of The Dark Night Rises and halfway thru I realized that people were killed at a premier of this movie in Denver, then a day or two later we have this tradgedy in Connecticut. I am so heart-sick right now. I feel like I did when 9/11 happened. I don't know what to do. I don't know how to deal with what I am feeling right now. Don't worry, I'm not going to do anything rash, I am just heartsick that as a society we have come to this point. This is the 37th time this type of thing has happened since 2007. How many people have to die? How many lives need to be torn apart by senseless violence? How many children need to perish. How many CHILDREN!!?? How have we become so numb to this thing? People at work are already complaining about the news coverage, that they're 'tired of hearing about it already'! It's already an inconvience to them because they can't watch their favorite tv show because the stations are doing a 'special report'. How can we be so uncaring? Innocent people have died! I just don't get it..............
As a gun-owner I believe that we can find a solution. But part of that solution is, IMO, banning assault weapons for anyone NOT military or law enforcement. Look, the only thing those are made to do is kill people. That's all. And, brother, if you need one to hunt you are a crap hunter and shouldn't own any gun - go work on your archery. Also ban high-capacity magazines - except for at shooting ranges where they must remain under strict supervision. If you need 30 bullets to get a deer, again, re-think your hunting capabilities.
Another thing we don't need is stupid bumper-sticker maxims like "guns don't kill people, people kill people." Really? Well a person pulls the trigger on a gun, Sparky. Any solution has to deal with the people. Close the gun show loophole: NO background checks, NO waiting period... NO way! We must register to drive, to vote, to get married.... but not to own a gun. Change that. Require registration and a license to own a gun. Require gun safety courses. No whining about how it makes it harder to get a gun if we do that - THAT is the POINT! How is it we can regulate freaking lawn darts but not guns?
And I don't want to hear from the damned NRA on this. They are nothing but a schill for the gun manufacturers. This paranoia they've been whipping up ever since Obama was elected has - coincidentally (hah!) - brought more money into the coffers of their sponsors. Imagine that! They don't represent their membership because the majority of them want more gun control laws. Nope, they are there for the gun and ammo makers, to increase their sales. So, enough of Mr. Wayne LaPierre.
Listen, sensible controls on guns and ammo does not equate to taking everybody's guns away. That's utter nonsense. But we need to have more control. EVERY country that has stricter gun control laws has less gun deaths. That is a fact. And many still allow gun ownership - Switzerland, for example. So can we stop with the hair-on-fire paranoia, please? STOP and think, everyone. Please.