What made me decide to go ahead and do this post is in response to Liza Long and the backlash she is receiving. Liza has a son who very well could become one of these people creating these tragedies and she is doing everything she can to stop that. Her argument is that the real problem causing these tragedies is a lack of mental health treatment. Personally, I think mental health should be a large part of gun control but it's not the only thing that leads to these tragedies and because of this thinking too many people don't seek mental help because they are concerned they will be seen as a danger to society when that's rarely the case.
There seem to be four types of gun owners. The first type are those who like to hunt or go to the shooting range and only do that in legal situations. Otherwise, their guns are tucked away safely. Some gun owners appear to keep their guns stashed. They say they have it for protection but they don't take it with them when they go anywhere. Other gun owners treat their guns like they treat their cell phones and keys. Loose concealed carry laws make that possible. The final type are those who intend to kill. That last type usually has one type of mental illness. The two most common are Antisocial Personality Disorder and Conduct Disorder. The articles below are from the DSM IV website, the Psychology diagnosis "bible". Here is the main page: http://psychcentral.com/disorders/
Antisocial Personality Disorder
I feel strongly that Psychological evaluation should be a heavily required part of gun ownership. For starters, at least one session with a Psychiatrist followed by a law enforcement background check. Guns should only be purchasable through law enforcement with heavy records of ownership for each gun. During the duration of ownership the entire household should be required to see a Psychiatrist at minimum once a month. Those visits should be required to be reported to the law enforcement agency the guns are registered with. No assault riffles and one magazine per gun only. If you are truly a responsible gun owner that isn't a danger to society then these laws won't stop you from having your gun. Guns need to be a lot more expensive and a lot harder to get. It's a weapon, not a wallet.
Too many kids are killed with guns in their household and I know of one pregnant woman who would be alive, and her baby, had her almost stepson not had access to a gun.
Guns are too easy to get. Most private sales don't check backgrounds and gun stores are likely to let things slip. There are too many things wrong with the Stand Your Ground laws if someone can kill a kid instead of calling the police for Disturbing the Peace.
It's disturbing to me how many people buy guns right after these tragedies in fear that the laws will be stricter. They need to be stricter to protect the innocent. I don't read often about guns saving people's lives. I just read about them ending innocent ones. Recently, I read of one story in North Carolina where an intended gunman entered an elementary school planning to re-enact Newton. A school worker made him turn himself in and took time to talk to him and calm him down. No one was hurt. More guns weren't the answer, communication and compassion were the answer.
Not all gun owners are suffering risky mental disorders and are dangerous but have legally obtained guns anyway. Some are responsible with them. But they need to be way harder to get and keep. Those who live in a house with a gun should get the psychological help they need not to use them. The guns are accessible to everyone in the house. Too many parents think they lock their guns away safely then are surprised when their kid gets to them.
Protecting Children not guns from March 2012
I'm okay with guns being used for law enforcement, military, government controlled hunts, and shooting ranges but it's not okay that so many people treat them like they treat their cell phones and keys. The whole household needs to be taken into account when deciding if someone can get a gun or not. There are too many tragedies where an accident happens and the owner isn't held accountable. They should be. Maybe gun owners would be a lot more careful with their guns if they got a lot of jail time when these accidents happen. In some states they do. The bottom line is guns are too easy to get. It takes one bullet to end a life.
Here are some Mass Shootings that have happened since Newton that DIDN'T make the news:
Your son or your gun? Suicide is much more likely in households with guns. If your son is going through a rough time and they know how to get to your gun, they are more likely to use it. You might think that won't happen to you but what if it does? Is having that gun really worth the loss of your child's life? Don't assume it won't happen to you. It's easy to shrug off these stories when they happen to strangers in the news. What happens if their stories become your story?
One last thing to think about:
10/28/2013 Gun Deaths Since Newton
This shows a large amount of gun dealers support stronger background checks. That in itself speaks volumes