I want to preface this blog post with this: I have always been around guns my whole life and I have only known responsible gun owners personally.
I don’t normally write about my political thoughts or positions in my writing here because so much of what I write is about my personal experiences since my diagnosis. I am in no way writing this as a pro-gun position or from a position of anti-gun.
I write this not because of the events of this week, but rather because it is so important that I talk about a specific part of the conversations that are ongoing in the media and social media. I will leave the talking about “gun control” to others who may have better opinions. The tragic events in Las Vegas made me think about a subject that means the world to me; are guns and mental illness a good mix?
It comes down to where I stand when it comes to if people with mental illness should be allowed to own guns. My answer is clear.
In my opinion, people with mental illnesses should not be allowed to own guns for the simple reason that at any moment something bad could happen in their life that can trigger suicidal thoughts. I am not saying that people that have mental illnesses can’t shoot guns. I come from the position of my own experiences with my own mental illness. It scares me to think of the last time I tried to commit suicide and what would have happened if there was a gun involved.
I am such a good place in my life that thinking about suicide is a thing of the past, but as my history tells me, the fact that I have been through many different bad depression cycles in my life there is always a chance that, if I owned a gun I would use it on myself. What I find interesting are the laws in California when it comes to people with a mental illness.
A person held on a seventy-two hour 51/50 hold in California are not allowed to buy a firearm for a period of five years.* This, of course, restarts each time that a person is put on the hold. Three times in my life I have been put on a 51/50, and each time I was told my rights. The last time I was put on a hold was 2007. Given my history, it is my opinion that this type of ban should be for life. As of right now, I could purchase a firearm (I don’t actually plan to do so.) It is not because that I believe in being mean to people with mental illnesses, but simply I will live with being Bipolar for the rest of my life. There is always a chance of going back to that bad place.
I wanted to make one last point that has weighed heavy on my mind this week. We are living in such strange times where mass shootings have become the normal thing to wake up to in America. It saddens me that often, and sometimes it is warranted, that mental illness takes the blame simply because it is easier to blame that a person has a mental illness versus someone was a terrorist. (This is just my opinion.) I have known so many great people with mental illnesses that wouldn’t hurt anyone outside what they have done to themselves (of course, that is for another post) but to put a blame of mental illness just to me isn’t fair.
I would like to hear from people about what I have written. Am I wrong here? Let me know.
* Infomation from https://goo.gl/2nBCUN
Photo Credit: Foodie Factor