19 June 2016

Gun Control Measures: An Open Letter

Tomorrow, the United States Senate will vote on two bills that seek to address some conspicuously gaping holes in our regulations of firearms. One would require universal background checks for all prospective buyers, and the other would revoke legal access to purchasing firearms from those already on the no-fly list. DailyKos.com is organizing an online petition, which you can sign through the form at the bottom of this post.

Being a Kentuckian, represented in the Senate by Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, I expect my efforts to be dismissed out of hand. But for whatever value it may have, here is the content of the letter that I composed to accompany my signature:

While I appreciate the significance of safeguarding our civil rights, I also appreciate that we've made reasonable compromises along the way. To wit, we already restrict minors and convicted felons from legally purchasing firearms. Surely, those on a terror watchlist have also raised enough suspicion that prudence would be served by restricting them as well, without sacrificing the spirit of the Second Amendment.

Additionally, I have diagnoses of major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post traumatic stress disorder. I was hospitalized in September with suicidal depression. But because I admitted myself voluntarily, I can still legally purchase a gun. This greatly concerns me, as well as members of the Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance that I've come to know in Louisville.

We already have a voluntary "do not sell" list for people with gambling addictions. It seems to me that creating a voluntary "do not sell" list for people like me with mental illnesses who recognize that we ought not have access to firearms could join of our own volition (thereby sidestepping the controversial matter of governmental restrictions).

I expect to receive a generic "Thanks for contacting me concerning this issue, but I'm voting the other way" reply as I have to every other petition I've signed over the years. But it is my sincere hope that you will recognize the importance of taking measured, reasonable action in the face of such serious threats to our society.

To sign the petition and send a letter to your Senator, follow this link: