Mental health an issue – not gun legislation |

Mental health an issue – not gun legislation

Lynn Wenzel’s “Other Voices” paranoid diatribe against guns and gun owners deserves a response. The rights she holds so dear were won only when men who preferred to be citizens rather than subjects took up arms against a tyrannical government and a huge professional army.

She would have us believe she is “comfortable” with guns but can then only offer more restrictions as an answer to the gun violence she fears. She points to Australia, where only criminals and police seem to have many guns, as a country with “reasonable” gun laws. Ignored is Switzerland’s far better gun violence record despite its habit of sending over 400,000 assault weapons home with its military-age menfolk.

How much better off might we be if that passion and our always scarce resources were directed instead at enforcing existing laws and those who are supposed to be responsible for carrying them out. No question that the recent mass shootings were horrific, but they also share a common thread. Aurora, Ft. Hood, Virginia Tech — in each case the shooter was known and reported to have severe mental problems. But nothing was done. Someone who “hears voices” should never have a gun, period. But the supposedly super secure Washington Naval Yard let the man walk in with a 3-foot case containing a shotgun.

Mass shootings make for great political theatre and mass media headlines, but the fact is that the “tide” of firearm homicides has been receding since the 1990s. Unless we are willing to make mental health professionals and public officials accountable for enforcing existing laws, it’s simply silly to hope saddling responsible gun owners with even more restrictions will make a meaningful difference.

Gary Simpson

Penn Valley

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