Gun CrazyWe’ve all been called crazy, done crazy things or had them done to us. Some of us have even felt crazy.
Consider this: Given how we use it, does the word “crazy” accurately describe the off-your-meds, maybe undiagnosed, separated-from-reality, violent and destructive mindset of someone who uses a gun to kill children? Or teens? Or adults?
In fact, the way most of us use the word “crazy” has diminished the seriousness of its definition. The first definition listed in a dictionary entry is usually the most popularly used. Try applying some of these first definitions to the colloquialism “I’m crazy about you.”
Miriam-Webster.com: Full of cracks or flaws: unsound
OxfordDictionaries.org: Mad, especially as manifested in wild or aggressive behavior.
Dictionary.com: Mentally deranged.
Dictionary.Cambridge.org/us: Very strange or foolish.
Now, add a gun to that equation. Whether the person with the gun is cracked, flawed, deranged or foolish, I’d venture to say that we’d all feel safer if he or she were disarmed. So, if the person with a gun is legitimately diagnosed as mentally ill, how concerned should you be?
The experts contend that only 4% of all violent crime is committed by the mentally ill. So, restricting their gun ownership would barely affect the rate of homicides or suicides, Paul Appelbaum, a professor of psychiatry, medicine and law at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons told USA Today in April.
About 538 firearm deaths were reported in Maryland in 2010, including 308 homicides and 222 suicides, according to the Violence Policy Center. If just one of those deaths involved someone you knew, I think 4% would make a big difference.
In early April, the Maryland State Legislature passed a law requiring people buying handguns to submit fingerprints to state police, banning 45 types of assault weapons and limiting gun magazines to 10 bullets. Maryland lawmakers also banned gun ownership by anyone who “suffers from a mental disorder or who has a history of violent behavior, unless a physician certifies otherwise.” It’s known as one of the toughest gun laws in the country.
However, it’s not unknown for people to move to a neighboring state so they can keep their guns. Feeling better yet?
Nearly every week since the Maryland law’s passage, another group signs on to fight or overturn it. Meanwhile, pitched battles continue to rage in legislatures across the union. As of last month, Reuters reported that more than 1,500 gun control laws were being debated in state legislatures across the country. Almost all of them have some provision for the mentally ill. Meanwhile Congress continues to debate and the President continues to push for gun control over all.
You can check the status of gun legislation in your state at the National Conference of State Legislatures website: http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/justice/possession-of-a-firearm-by-the-mentally-ill.aspx
Whether you support gun control or not, it’s a good idea to find out what’s going on in your state and let lawmakers know what you think. Not to do so might be considered, shall we say, crazy.