Lock And Load

I so very rarely touch on politics here. Everyone knows I’m a commie pinko hippie bitch, so I think it’s kind of redundant for me to touch on politics on the whole in the blog. Y’all know where I lean. But something has come out of the Tucson tragedy that I feel I need to touch on, so here we go.

Don’t ever let me buy a gun.

Take away my rights. Go ahead, PLEASE. I have a mental illness. I have erratic behavior. I have been suicidal more than once in my life. I get into hysterical manic fits wherein I literally lock myself in the house so I don’t go wandering at 3 am. Please take away my right to have a gun. I’m on my hands and knees.

I do not have the responsibility, training, or mental stability to own a gun. I should not be able to go into a store, fill out a form, wait seven days, and purchase a handgun. But I do. I do have that right. And so help me, for my own safety, please do not let me ever own a gun. I am afraid for my life.

I know of several people who are of sound mind and body that own guns. I know that we, as the mental health community desperately want to be treated like everyone else. That’s all we want. It’s a conundrum, and there are no easy answers. None at all. But I know me. And if I could put on my *pristine* police record that I am bipolar and by no means at all should own a gun, so be it. I don’t even have parking tickets. I can buy a gun. And dear god, don’t let me.

A gun is a frantic, panicked reaction when it is used in violence against anything that is not hunting or target practice. I hate guns. Hate them. When presented with one in a totally controlled and safe environment, I refused to touch it. I don’t want that responsibility. And with my mental health issues, I shouldn’t get to touch one.

This blog post is going to infuriate some people. It’s going to infuriate at least two dear friends of mine. But it’s my judgement call and I have a gaggle of doctors and therapists who would agree with me. Can a person with bipolar or schizophrenia own a gun safely? Of course they can. But I don’t think I’m one of them. And even though I never WOULD buy a gun, I also shouldn’t be ABLE to buy a gun. And if I need to open a police record on myself to stop myself from ever trying to BUY a gun, I’ll go down to the police station today. This is how strongly I feel about this.

Tucson will be recalled as a horrific event wherein people were killed and gravely wounded. I’ve got “Meet The Press” on right now and a bipartisan panel is skirting the mental illness issue as gracefully as ballerinas. You want community support to deal with us? The mentally ill? Teach people to intervene. I can go months of “fine” and turn on a dime. Find a person with a mental illness who is lucid and coherent at the MOMENT and ask if they want to sign a paper that says “Do not sell me a gun” and I think you’ll get a bigger response to the positive.

Will it solve gun crime by the mentally ill? Absolutely not. But could it save one person who might commit suicide today? Or god forgive, turn a gun on someone else? If a person can be found of sound mind and body At. That. Moment. And wants to sign a paper forbidding them to buy a gun? I say do it. I’d do it today. I know a lot of people who would. Other people who can turn on a dime and hurt themselves.

And that’s the main problem. Not a mass killing. Not murder at all. Suicide. Suicide amongst the mentally ill is staggering, and maybe by making an OPTION to sign a “don’t let me buy a gun” paper could save a life. It couldn’t hurt. It would be an option. But it could save a life. I’m fine today, but I don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. I’d like a little insurance that I would not be able to kill myself, at LEAST with a gun.

I’m ready for disagreement. Hell, I’m  ready for people to yell at me. It’s okay. But that’s my opinion. And I’m sticking with it.


Lock And Load — 13 Comments

  1. This is a brave, thoughtful and clever post. Thank you for writing it.

    Your idea is fantastic. I wish it could be made law. I agree that people with mental illness can own guns responsibly. My concerns about denying people with mental illness the right to buy a gun are obviously grounded in concerns over not treating them differently as a group. (Please note I don’t think anybody should be able to own a gun, but if we’re gonna say it’s ok, then it has to be ok for everyone.)

    Your idea of the “please don’t sell me a gun” declaration is thoughtful, creative and a stroke of genius.

  2. It is a stroke of genius. Depression is my game, and to this day I won’t have a handgun in the house thanks to those fleeting moments where I just can’t guarantee I won’t take the easy way out. I probably wouldn’t go as far as the written opt-out now, but in my 20’s? Oh yes. My Dad had given me a .38 for protection and I stared at that thing more than I can believe even now. Gave it a cop. Family reaction when i explained many years later? “That’s just stupid.” sigh.

  3. I think that people forget that our founding fathers intended guns like muskets, not super powerful, semi-automatic murder machines!
    I think your idea is fantastic. Call your congress rep. Why not give it a try?

  4. Amazing, thoughtful post. I love this idea. My best friend had a really awful stretch of time were work was beating the hell out of him. He got a knife, and sat with it all day one cold December day, but couldn’t bring himself to do it. I’m beyond grateful he didn’t have a gun. I do believe he would sign a “do not sell me a gun” decree in a heartbeat!!

  5. I agree that our founding fathers would be aghast at what has occurred with our “right to bear arms.”. Too many assholes have them. My sister is a cop and so owns quite a few guns. I have none and have never even fired one. I like the British model of society where only law enforcement is allowed to have guns. Their murder rate is much lower as a result.

    As for you owning a gun, Miss B? I fully concur that you shouldn’t.

  6. Danielle, I don’t know the laws in New Jersey, but in NC a physician can complete a form and end a person’s driving privilege. I would think a similar order could be used to prevent any legal purchase of a firearm. Naturally, this would not stop the unscrupulous from bypassing federal and state laws, but if you want to prevent yourself from making a legal purchase, I suspect your psychiatrist could explain how to do so.

  7. In a world with legal and illegal drugs and alcohol available to us we are all an hour away from uncontrollable irrationality. The right to bear arms has survived countless drunk shootings. People with a mental illness may be able to predict (and fear) their incapacities more than someone who is sober 99% of the time, but that isn’t going to be enough to convince the courts that taking away their 2nd Amendment right is okay. Not if they don’t want to have to somehow reconcile gun rights with substance abuse. And that treads too close to nanny state philosophy than most people would be comfortable with.
    Backpacking Dad last post: Twelve Years and Only Yesterday

  8. I whole-heartedly agree w/ you on this one… I have made the same statements over in my own life… once had a HUGE argument w/ my (now ex) husband about keeping a gun in the house, he finally agreed to keep it hidden from me… even then it worried me. And the honest truth mental illness plays such a role in everything and people are still “afraid” to use that term in their own lives and those around them… and that is where the danger lies, those people who try to hide their illness, from themselves and others…

  9. Owning a gun is an awsome responsibility…I own several. I do agree with the post that there should be database that allows a person to “never own a gun” .
    The Brittish and Austrailian model of not allowing citizens to own firearms simply does not work. HOT home invasions (breaking in while someone is home) is way up in both countries, mureder,rape and assault with a deadly weapon is up astronomicaly also. Simply put criminals do not follow the law and then people are defensless. Any criminal if given a choice will ALWAYS PICK THE SOFT TARGET.

  10. I applaud you. I own several guns and I like to go shooting with my adult children. My daughter has her own pistol now safely locked away from the Grand children. My son on the other hand likes to shoot but told me he will never own a gun as he has anger management issues. And although he has them well under control, he will not take the chance. I guess mental illness has not diminished your or my son’s sense of responsibility. Again, I applaud you.

  11. Well, i have suffered with major depression for over 35 years, and i can tell you from experience, that in the early stages of my diagnosis, i was suicidal a few times. I think that a person wanting to do that will go to any extreme to get a gun somewhere, it’s the quickest way to end it all if that is the intent.
    I think your point is commendable but it is moot.
    It is also getting into the law aspect of our right to bear arms. Abraham Lincoln suffered from depression, yet he wrote the Declaration of Independence! And so many other famous individuals have done great things, that also have suffered from mental illness.
    Insanity is an unfortunate declaration in society, because usually by the time someone is declared insane, they have already committed the unforgetable trama. Let us concentrate on curing all mental illness in this decade, i’m sure then that the tradgedy such as what happened in AZ will be eliminated altogether.

    • Um, Abraham Lincoln was president in the 1860s. The Declaration of Independence is dated 1776. Pretty sure ol’ Honest Abe had nothing to do with it.

      @Miss B – agree 100% with your post. I won’t ever own a gun just because (a) guns scare me, and (b) I’m klutzy as hell and I’m pretty sure it would result in some horrific accident. No need for that. When my husband goes out of town? I sleep with a cast iron frying pan on his side of the bed. Seriously. I feel like I’m armed, only I’m less likely to kill/maim my kid or one of my cats.

  12. This was a brave post – both in the acceptance of potentially negative comments and in its bare vulnerability. I agree, but I think, like Bruce said, that the point is moot. People will, at any moment of desperation, do whatever it takes. This means finding a gun, if one is what they want or think they need.

    That being said, I agree. And I’m in a similar boat, minus the “fine” periods – I snap back and forth from one end to the other, without pause. So with that, I hold onto the fear that owning a gun could mean that it could be used against me. Either by another, such as if I tried to defend myself against attack with it and it was taken from me, or by myself.

    But, like so many things that mental illness is involved with, there’s no right or wrong. It just is.
    Zoeyjane last post: The waking up part of the story

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