Hello Dr. Mufson,
I just want to briefly share my story of gun ownership with you to
help you understand where some of us are coming from.
I live in a rural area. My wife is a family doctor that treats (among
others) patients with substance abuse and addiction problems. Because
she often has to turn down drug-seeking patients, which makes them
angry, and in a small town it's easy for them to find out where we live,
we purchased some guns for self-defense when we moved here.
If we didn't have two beautiful little daughters that we love more than
life itself, we probably wouldn't have bothered.
Our worst nightmare is to have our house broken into or attacked because
of anger toward my wife (or even because she's known to be a 'wealthy
doctor' in a very impoverished area), and to have them hurt.
I believe you're promulgating the idea that valuing the right to
self-defense with firearms and valuing our children's lives is a
dichotomy, but it is a false dichotomy.
I would also like to point out to you that by two of the government's
own studies, the assault weapons ban (which was in effect for 10 years)
showed no measurable effect on anything relevant. It would be a useless
encroachment that makes people feel good. As your own article pointed
out, accidental deaths among children tend to happen with handguns.
Because we are concerned for our children's safety, our guns are safely
locked away unless being carried by one of us on our own person. I agree
that something has to change in that regard. We can't force anyone to be
responsible, even with laws, but perhaps some mandatory safety education
such as that provided in NRA classes (they do cover safe storage and
children) would give people the knowledge they need to be responsible
Thank you for your time if you have read this far.