By Cristina M. Molina
The gun control debate has become increasingly heated over the last couple of months. In this whole debate, many people forget or ignore what the real issue is: mental health. Sure, it has been mentioned once or twice, but not once has anyone made it the focal point of discussion. It’s almost a taboo subject that no one wants to talk about or tackle because it’s so much easier to blame society’s problems on an inanimate piece of metal. Well guess what? No gun has ever come to life and killed anyone on its own. In the case of these mass murders, a deranged, insane person has picked up weapons and used them for harm. Don’t blame a gun for the work of someone intent on carrying out their vicious, evil plan.
Let us take it a step further: Any individual hell-bent on causing harm will do so regardless of whether they have a gun or not. Cars can be driven into crowds of people; household items can be used to make explosives. Shall we ban cars and fertilizer? That does not seem like a viable solution, does it?
Serial killers methodically kill their victims, some with 20+ victims, and they use knives, rope, or other objects to kill. Shall we ban knives and rope? This is likely not the solution to the problem. Countless children also die by ingesting household cleaning agents that their parents have not secured. Shall we ban Formula 409 and Pine-Sol? No. These are not the answers.
Laws, gun control laws, will only affect law-abiding citizens. Does anyone really think that criminals and those intent on causing harm will put down their weapons? If you believe that then I suppose you believe in unicorns and perhaps feed one daily in your back yard.
Cocaine and heroin are illegal, yet they are still bought, sold, and consumed each and every day. The laws have not stopped criminals from buying and selling drugs. By the same token, the gun control laws will not work against people who want to commit crimes. Their effect will be counter-productive and will increase the street value and trafficking of illegal weapons.
Do we need to use better screening methods and background checks for gun ownership? Yes. Should we include comprehensive training for safe gun ownership? Of course! Does mental health need to be part of the equation in gun purchases? Absolutely. Do laws “protecting” people with mental health issues need to be changed in order to get them help sooner and protect innocent people? Yes. Let’s cut out all this red tape and tackle a subject that has been swept under the rug for years.
As a single parent and gun owner for the better part of the last 15 years, I have felt continued peace-of-mind knowing that if a criminal tries to enter my home, I have the means to defend myself. Just because you fear guns, don’t take away my right to defend my family and my home.
I challenge lawmakers to take brave steps in putting mental health at the forefront of the discussion and to stop sweeping it under the rug. Let’s help those who really need it and stop making excuses and bad decisions based on political agendas.