Once upon a time, I had a roommate named “Keanu.” Long story short:
1. Keanu took certain medications for his emotional and behavioral problems.
2. The lease forbade firearms.
3. He kept a handgun under his mattress anyways.
Items 1 and 3 became especially inconvenient when his girlfriend dumped him and… well, click here for the longer version of that story.
Anyhow, over the course of that day, from the moment Keanu walked into Loopy’s house in suicidal tears until the moment I laid my head down to rest in a town far away from all the lunacy, at no point did any of the following thoughts cross my mind:
“Gosh, I hope Keanu’s handgun has fewer than 10 bullets in it.”
“Will that gun accept a barrel shroud or a second grip?”
“They should stop manufacturing semiautomatic rifles in this country.”
I did not think those thunks because they would not have made a dime’s worth of difference. Now, here are some of the thoughts that did cross my mind:
“How did somebody on that much medication get a conceal-and-carry permit?”
“How could his folks, in good conscience, give him a gun knowing his mental state?”
And the thought that nagged at me the most:
“Why didn’t I tell Keanu to get rid of the gun, or tell the landlord about the gun?”
Senator Feinstein recently proposed a bill aimed at “stopping the spread of deadly assault weapons.” I think that’s a wastefully imprecise goal. Here’s a summary of Senator Feinstein’s bill. Set aside for a moment whether it passes constitutional muster. How much of her proposal actually deals with keeping guns away from people who shouldn’t have them, considering there are already hundreds of millions of guns in the country?
There may have been laws against Keanu’s ownership of the gun, and he definitely violated the lease by keeping it gun in the apartment– and yet, he still had the gun. Maybe we need more laws, maybe we need different laws, maybe we have the right laws already but they need to be enforced better. But regardless of the law, our society needs to work harder at keeping guns away from the people who, given their mental or emotional state, shouldn’t have them. That may mean having some difficult discussions with our families and friends, and it may mean using some tough love– but such action might’ve saved me and my friends some gun-related anxiety all those years ago, and it might’ve prevented some of those mass shootings. Lord knows the laws didn’t.
By the way, all persons involved in the events of “The Suicide Iron” are still alive and are presumably happy and sane.