November 4, 2007:
The U.S. Congress has much
support for new laws that would make it
more difficult for anyone with a mental condition to buy a gun. Reasonable
enough, especially when you toss in efforts to keep firearms away from suicidal
veterans. But as many of these proposals are written, this would include combat
veterans who had any kind of brain injury or have been diagnosed combat stress.
The U.S. Army and Marines has already been having problems with getting troops,
with subtle (hard to detect) brain injuries from roadside bombs, and combat
fatigue (or PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder), to seek treatment. Mental
illness scares people, always has, probably always will. Now, a law that would
further penalize those troops seeking treatment, is shaping up to be a major
setback. A disproportionate number of troops are recreational shooters or
hunters, or the kind of folks who like to keep a gun around for protection. A
threat to their ability to own guns is, for many, worth staying away from admitting to any
brain injuries or PTSD.