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The usual explanation for carrying a loaded gun in public is to protect oneself from an armed and committed criminal whom one will best in a shootout, and reflects the unrealistic fear that violent crime is rampant in America, making our streets dangerous. This ignores the fact that crime is decreasing, and that such confrontations almost never happen. It also ignores the emotional difficulty in shooting another human being, even in combat. This is a fear without a basis in reality.

The usual explanation for unlimited access to all sorts of firearms is to defend against creeping socialism spreading across the country by out-of-touch elites bent on eliminating our constitutional rights and freedoms in order to subjugate us in their fascist state. The belief is that fascist governments first move to take away guns from the people, leaving them defenseless against authoritarian control. This, too, is a fear lacking in any contact with reality, based simply on delusion and fed by conspiracists. And conspiracies cannot be refuted since efforts to do so simply become evidence of the truth of the conspiracy.

Both fears together constitute a mental illness labeled “paranoid personality disorder.” Such people are relentless in their pursuit of anyone threatening their delusions and may become dangerous and violent. Just see how pro-gun advocates threaten, belittle, and demean anyone whom they perceive questioning either their motives or beliefs.

In order for gun-control advocates to succeed, they must become as relentless in their efforts without the threats or violence.

Robert B. Harris, Ph.D.

Albany (Feb. 24)


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