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Gaynelle Evans is a freelance writer and television producer in Montgomery County.Today, she’s like other baby boomer residents who are semi-retired and who are working to reinvent themselves in ways thatfulfill dreams and pay the bills. A former reporter for Gannett News Service and USA Today and executive producer for... Read more

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Gun Crazy

Photo by WickedVT on Flickr.

Photo by David Paul Ohmer on Flickr.

We’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.” Full of cracks or flaws: unsound Mad, especially as manifested in wild or aggressive behavior. Mentally deranged. 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:

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.


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About Evans

Gaynelle Evans is the Executive Producer at Montgomery Community Media.


7 Responses to “Gun Crazy”

  1. Avatar
    On May 2, 2013 at 10:12 am responded with... #

    Spot on, Gaynelle. I appreciate your perspective. Crazy is as crazy does — “diagnosed” or not!

    • Evans
      On May 3, 2013 at 10:33 am responded with... #

      Thanks Cathy. We have to watch this legislation. No matter what your beliefs, people are using guns to kill other people. While guns are a big part of the problem, it’s the people who do the shooting…

  2. Avatar
    On May 2, 2013 at 10:39 am responded with... #

    Great topic Gaynelle! As watch our national leaders wrestle with this issue, no one has addressed the level of fear that acts as a major driver for need to gun up. No one has even asked why are we as a nation so fearful? It needs to be addressed at all levels.

    Another related issue to the gun up issue is need to feel safe and secure. Once we have gunned up, we will feel and be safe and secure? Does our safety really lie in guns? There is something missing in our national discourse regarding gun control. It is a sense of Peace that is absent. How do we acheive it? I would love to see our national leaders include this in the discourse.

  3. Avatar
    On May 2, 2013 at 10:53 am responded with... #

    I was surprised to find that SC already has a requirement that no one that has a “mental” history can own a fire arm. But, I’m sure the battle to ban or limit semi automatic weapons is going to be a long time coming in this state which is generally against any further controls. Folks love their guns here.

    Enjoying your blog!

    • Evans
      On May 3, 2013 at 11:37 am responded with... #

      Your thoughtful and insightful comment should set a lot of people to thinking. Guns are just a way to kill; people do the shooting. Although lawmakers can’t legislate peace, they and we can take a first step by thinking peace and taking measures to attain it within ourselves.

      • Avatar
        On May 3, 2013 at 7:02 pm responded with... #

        Healing is inner peace. The level of unrest in our collective mind is just astounding. Our gun control debate reminds me of the Cold War period of our history where there was a predominating notion of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) or under the Bush administration where we operated under the fear that someone or some nation might strike us first. Gunning up is just a symptom of a deep fear that someone is out to get us. As a nation we seem to hold so much guilt about something. We know that where there is guilt there is the need for punishment at some level. This is a teachable moment for our nation. This issue has come up for healing so that our children and other persons will not have perished in vain,

  4. Evans
    On May 3, 2013 at 11:54 am responded with... #

    Karen. Thanks for your interest. Most folks who have guns love them and the freedom they think it gives them. That’s what makes this national debate so divisive.

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