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    letters | the national rifle association speaks

    Demonizing the mentally ill is a dangerous deflection from gun-control issue

    Dear Lord, is the National Rifle Association kidding? In his news conference Friday, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre called the severely mentally ill “genuine monsters.” Civilized society has come a long way, but it appears that NRA leadership has not. Making this charge against the severely mentally ill makes the NRA as dangerous as the severely mentally ill who own guns.

    Deflecting the issue will not get the NRA or the rest of America where we need to be. The NRA calls for placing armed guards in our schools. Well, great — the mentally ill will still own guns and will then go to ballfields and parks, grocery stores, restaurants, malls, theaters, etc.

    Thoughtfully developing and responsibly implementing gun-control policies and mechanisms that keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill will get us further down a more humane road.


    If the portion of American society that owns guns does not push for legislation to filter the mentally ill from owning them, then we must BAN guns altogether. As a civilized, highly evolved society, however, we must address the mentally ill with as much compassion and equality as we can muster.

    Deborah Birdsong