Mental health and gun owners

A May 5 letter (“Gun laws won’t stop criminals”) from Greg Perrine of Reedsville was less than honest in replying to an earlier writer’s view that “90 percent of Americans support the Manchin/Toomey plan for background checks on all gun-purchases.”

Perrine cited information from the “Buckeye Firearms Institute” to claim “90 percent of police officers” oppose such checks. This is like citing a PETA survey of views on animal vivisection. Why would a firearms manufacturing company say anything that would inhibit gun sales? The writer also neglected to say the Manchin/Toomey proposal does not include a “ban” on assault-weapons or any other type of firearms, nor does it suggest setting up a federal gun-registry (which is against federal law).

Of course, background checks would not “stop crime.” They would however (as has happened in Australia and the UK) prevent mentally ill persons from easily obtaining weapons of mass destruction. Perrine’s prepackaged NRA talking-points avoid the fact the perpetrators of recent mass-murders were not “criminals” before they committed their horrendous acts with weapons obtained more-or-less legally from gun shops, gun shows or via the Internet. Adam Lanza’s mother was a “law-abiding gun-owner” who freely allowed her deranged son to use the weapons he used to kill her and 26 other people. Saying that “gun laws do not stop crime” is like saying that traffic laws are unnecessary because some people run red lights or make illegal U-turns!

Perrine’s letter appeared in the same News and Sentinel edition that carried a front-page article about last weekend’s NRA freak-fest in Houston, Texas. Missing from that article were extremist statements from Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, Glenn Beck and Wayne LaPierre about “fighting tyranny” and “the coming revolution.” Also missing was the fact convention vendors peddled plastic “Zombie Obama” targets. The article included a “cute” AP photo of a child holding an AR-15 rifle – but no mention of the recent tragedy in Kentucky where a 5-year-old boy shot his 2-year-old sister with a “Crickett” kiddie rifle.

The article performed a public-service in re-enforcing what many Americans have known all along – some “law-abiding gun-owners” are in serious need of mental health counseling!

Fred O’Neill