Vinson: Gun control a mental health issue

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The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides citizens with the right to own and bear arms.

Patrick Henry, remembered best for his historical "Give me liberty, or give me death!" speech, believed that a "citizenry trained in arms" was the only sure "guarantor of liberty."

Alexander Hamilton, a Founding Father, wrote in 1788 that "little more can be reasonably aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed."

Borrowing from both Henry and Hamilton, the United States, indeed, has a long history with guns. This country gained its independence from Great Britain by putting a variety of guns into the hands of colonists who used those weapons during the American Revolutionary War.

Bullets, blood and survival, I call it.

These days, one can find a litany of arguments in support and opposition to gun control.

Fueling the fire is over the past 15 years there have been several incidents involving teenagers who opened fire with high-capacity automatic weapons at schools and killed a number of students and teachers.

The Columbine High School, Sandy Hook Elementary School and Sparks Middle School shootings quickly come to mind.
While politicians, lobbyists and news anchors get red in the face shouting over each other on the evening news, I am going to offer you what I think is an extremely well thought-out take on the current "gun problem" in America.

These thoughts come from a friend named Danny, a law-bidding citizen, avid hunter and gun enthusiast:
"I will abide by whatever gun laws are passed, but the criminals won't. Like that bumper sticker says, 'If you outlaw guns, then the only people who'll have guns are the outlaws.'"

He continued, "Not only did man invent guns, he continues to manufacture and use them - some are so high tech, that they're like something out of a scary science fiction novel. Guns are big business, not just in America, but the world over.

"Gun-related atrocities have been taking place since weaponry first came into existence. Compared to years gone by, we hear more about these acts of gun violence nowadays because of advanced media coverage. Sad to say, but you also have to factor in that gun violence sells - you might say, high-capacity clips draw high-capacity audiences.

"While on the subject, you can pass a law that eliminates high-capacity clips, but someone can go to a machine shop and manufacture a high-capacity clip. What's the next step, eliminate machine shops?

"Does it actually make any difference whether you have five guns or 20 guns, 500 rounds or 5,000 rounds?

"What does make a true difference is the mental state of the individual in possession of the gun, clip, and however many rounds. I think lawmakers' time would be better spent focusing on the mental health crisis in America than attempting to pacify potential voters with ineffective guns laws."

Think about this: You have a 60-year-old, retired U.S. Marine who is a gun collector and owns 100 firearms, everything from a muzzle-loader to a 200-round machine gun.

On the other side of town, you have a wimpy, 14-year-old boy who has been repeatedly bullied at school, and his teachers have failed to intervene.

The wimpy boy gets his hands on a six-shot, Smith & Wesson revolver and heads to school, blind with revenge.

Who is more dangerous?

Of course, you must consider that the retired Marine grew up during a time of sanity - when parents and teachers set and enforced rules.

Rules such as "Do you homework before watching any TV," could be heard inside homes across the country on any given school night.

However, today, the boy might come from a broken home, live an impoverished existence, and spend his days alone playing video games.

So, isn't this more about mental health than gun control?

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Mike Vinson
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