Yesterday Kevin Love very bravely disclosed some of the mental health struggles that he has faced. As a big NBA player and star it’s probably assumed that every aspect of his life is great, but he’s a person just like anyone else. In part he revealed that he had a panic attack last year during a game. He was inspired by fellow NBA star DeMar DeRozan who last week talked about his battle with depression.
I applaud both of these guys. It’s probably not easy for a high profile athlete to do what they did. We’ve seen examples in other sports (Zach Greinke comes to mind), but sadly many others try to hide their struggles at the risk of appearing weak or ruining their image. Ironically Love’s image is now enhanced and the support he said he’s received is amazing.
With respect to gun control, there’s a lot of talk that people with mental illness shouldn’t have access to guns. Most reasonable people wouldn’t want someone who could be a danger to themselves or others to have a weapon, except the legislature of Utah which shot down a bill this week that would have done that.
My question is how severe does your mental illness have to be in order for people to agree that you shouldn’t have access to a loaded weapon. DeRozan bravely talked about battling depression. If I told you I was depressed should I be able to get a gun? What if I said I had thoughts about killing myself? Do my rights to bear arms deserve to be infringed on then?
The likely landing spot on this issue is if someone is found to be a threat to himself or others, but that actually seems vague to me. I was snooping on the Facebook page of an old friend today and his second post is on guns. A few posts later he talks about how he wants to kill himself. It’s a flippant comment seemingly, maybe a cry for attention or help, possibly serious. Should he be able to go buy a gun today? He’s not in therapy as far as I know so the only way to prevent him from getting a gun is to petition the court that he could be a danger to himself. Is that a realistic move?
It sounds extreme and would be met with huge resistance in the US, but if we are serious about mental fitness being a requirement for gun ownership, shouldn’t a meeting with a counselor along with a scan of your social media be a requirement for owning a gun? Shouldn’t there be an easier way to alert the authorities that someone is making suicidal threats than filing a court order?
Of course this all comes down to believing that guns should be licensed and well regulated. It seems like an impossible task, but it’s truly the will of the people and the momentum of it all is like nothing we’ve ever seen in this country.