olive branch

I’m sure most all of us would agree that we want to live in peace- with a life free from the threat of harm by others. The main problem, as I see it, is the fact of the cultural differences within our grand and great country. Many Americans grew up with guns and are comfortable with guns. They are law-abiding citizens who feel threatened that the government will take away their weapons. They fear gun control would punish them for the misdeeds of others. We in the Northeast do not have the same perspective as the folks in the South, Midwest, and Northwest.

My friend, Richie Diamond, told me that if you discuss this topic with people from different regions, you will get a very different response.  He has friends from Virginia and Texas who DO NOT FEEL COMFORTABLE unless they are carrying a weapon on their body. He told me that they have gone through all the background checks and their weapons are properly registered. They both have permits to carry concealed weapons.

Richie told me that he is sure that they will not be shooting school children or innocent adults, but in the CASE OF AN ASSUALT AGAINST THEM OR THEIR FAMILIES THEY ARE WELL TRAINED TO UTILIZE THEIR WEAPONS.

In one of his posts York Adams told me something that rings similar to this sentiment:

“It happened to my mother. She defended herself against an aggressive attacker. The fact she is wheelchair bound and home alone just made the need to be able to aggressivly (sic) defend herself that much more important. Smith and Wesson saved her life! Period!”

I get what York is saying. On the other hand, I’m not sure that York understands other Americans when he says in his post  “liberals in D.C. would take all the guns. This has been publicly expressed by many.“ He is conflating the idea of liberals in D.C. publicly expressing an intent to take away all guns with any American who is genuinely concerned about gun proliferation in the United States.

Brian Hughes in one of his several posts to me also expressed the anticipation of a plot to confiscate guns:

“Les…. That’s ALMOST as amusing as believing you really really really really really don’t want to take anyone’s guns away, but the FIRST order of business on your agenda is removal of the Constitutional protections for gun ownership. Sure, Les, we believe you. Really really really really really.”

Even though we, in this Linked-In group of MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS, attempt to interpret our patient’s thoughts, feelings and behavior for therapeutic goals, we cannot read minds. Nobody can read minds. So – York and Brian – if you think you are correctly reading my mind to the effect that I want to take away your guns, you are wrong.

One of my sons owns several guns. He is also one of the small group of 4% of gun owners who is actually a member of the NRA. He is an NRA certified safety instructor. His guns and ammunition are securely and safely locked. He is very, very safety-conscious. I do not expect him to massacre school children or innocent adults. I myself have taken his gun safety course and have a certificate of completion.

I am stating that I do not want to confiscate your guns or my son’s guns. My order of business and agenda is not – first the removal of the Constitutional protections in the Second Amendment, – followed then by confiscating your guns. I appreciate the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Second Amendment covers the right to own guns for defense of one’s person and home.

What I am concerned about is the “shall not be infringed” clause. The well-financed gun lobby and its lawyers have used this clause against nearly any aspect of gun control including safety. I am a physician, specializing in psychiatry. My life’s work is dedicated to healing adults, children and families.

As a physician, how, I ask, did it happen that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), on page 2,037, line 23 has a section entitled “Protection of Second Amendment Gun Rights”? This healthcare law now contains five provisions prohibiiting a doctor’s asking about guns and thereby effectively preventing a doctor from counseling gun safety. The only explanation I ever hear is the calcified dark scenario about a secret list for a future tyrannical US government which will send storm troopers into the homes of gun owners to confiscate their guns.

In my own state, the NJ Association of Rifle and Pistol Clubs, which touts itself as the “Official NRA State Association” opposes- among other gun control measures in the state legislature – banning people on terrorist watch lists from having guns.  Is the reason we can’t prevent people from the terror watch list from getting guns also to foster an armed civilian population that could save us from a future American dictatorship? If this sounds crazy, I welcome another explanation for the position of NJ’s “Official NRA State Association.”

Australia does not have a bill of rights. It has no constitutional protection for the right to keep and bear arms. Yet Australians can and still do legally own guns despite the fact that in 1996 John Howard prime minister of Australia succeeded in curbing the possession and use of assault weapons.

Unless you believe in the paranoid scenario of future American storm troopers confiscating your guns, why give a Constitutional lock against gun control. Besides, were a future United States actually to become this dark tyrannical dictatorship, it would simply suspend the Bill of Rights and abrogate the Second Amendment by fiat. So who actually profits from the “shall not be infringed” clause? Who profits?

So to Dr. Jack Booth who advocates tolerance for others’ points of view (protected by our First Amendment), I say, “Amen.” I strive to appreciate others’ points of view. I love the United States and our wonderful Constitution. I am a patriot. To York Adams, Brian Hughes, and my son, whose guns I am not trying to confiscate, I say, “Use them wisely and safely.”

It would be very nice if we could work together. I welcome any suggestions.


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