Dec 21, 2012

An Open Letter to the President on Gun Control

I wrote the following in response to an email from the White House regarding a petition I signed online calling for better gun safety, regulations, and restrictions. I'm not saying I have all the answers or even the correct answers, but I think we all need to make our voices heard and have an open, public conversation so that we can all come to an agreement about what we need to do as a nation to put an end to these senseless, heartbreaking mass shootings. (As a note, I play first person shooter video games but I do not own any guns, nor have I ever shot a gun or even wanted to shoot a real gun. Also, I personally only prefer to shoot aliens or zombies, not humans or animals, but that's just me.) Now, onto the letter:

I do not think that video games or entertainment is to blame because all other countries have access to the same media but do not have as many mass shootings as the USA. So, let's examine why not. Is it merely access to guns? A store in CT was robbed a dozen times and no one noticed any guns missing. This is HUGE. Guns should be better tracked. They should require photo IDs to purchase (at ALL purchase points including gun shows) plus proof of gun training. No military style guns nor any large capacity clips/magazines should be available to civilians ever. People should pass a written test plus a hands on test (just like when you get your license to drive) but should also pass a rigorous mental health examination by a qualified, certified professional therapist. Moreover, if the household contains mentally ill children or adults, or senile elderly, measures should be taken to ensure those people absolutely never ever have access to guns in any way shape or form. No one should be teaching their mentally ill or autistic child how to shoot guns! And I should know, I grew up with autistic family members. They can be brilliant but they often live in their own worlds. Regardless, that kid should have 1) never learned to shoot a gun in the first place and 2) never been able to access a military style gun. Reduce access to all guns, ban military style guns and large capacity clips/magazines, beef up training requirements, and restrict access to the mentally ill, while also providing more access to affordable mental health care, plus work on destigmatizing mental illness in our society so people reach out for help, and you will have less mass shootings in America.
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