Gun activists must be cautious when linking mental illness with violent crime.

After the massacre of Dec. 14, NRA’s president Wayne LaPierre suggesting keeping guns away from the mentally ill is not pro-active, defending the rights of “law-abiding citizens” to own guns.

People with chronic mentally illness already are institutionalized; that leaves the rest of us to be subject to restrictions that circumvent the Second Amendment.

Psychiatric disorders are complex, with ever-changing science and fundamentals involving individual, social and biological factors. People of any status have the potential to be violent under many circumstances, including stress, depression, alcoholism, substance abuse, poverty, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, phobias. All can arise without warning and range in intensity.

LaPierre’s latest op-ed twisted statistics and was full of lies. It serves no purpose.

His claim — “We need guns, more guns, bigger guns, all the time, everywhere” — was a rant about hurricanes, kidnappers, drug gangs, riots, terrorists, civil unrest, Latin Americans, extremists and post-apocalyptic zombies.

I am not against guns; I’ve always owned them. But I am as worried about the government pulling my teeth as I am about the feds pulling my guns. It’s not their intention and will never happen.

For many years, I’ve been against the NRA’s falsehoods. I’m against the NRA’s propaganda that uses the Second Amendment as a ploy to create a militaristic society. To sell guns for profit only, regardless.

It’s no longer about hunting, sport or the Second Amendment. It’s about assault weapons, ammunition, battlefield artillery in our communities. It’s about death and chaos. It’s about freedom and my right to live peacefully.

There is a silver lining to this cloud, however: LaPierre and his supporters have fast-tracked the NRA down a steep slope of irrelevance.

Denis M. Rioux

Winslow

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