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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Would anyone voluntarily give up their right to buy a gun? (PAS, Part IV)

Yes.  Some of you may have known Cheryl Hanna, a professor at Vermont Law School.  Cheryl bought a handgun and used it to kill herself the next day.  Aged 48, she left behind a husband, two children, and a successful career.  Hanna had been privately battling severe depression.  She had twice voluntarily admitted herself to a hospital for psychiatric treatment.  In doing so, she gave up much of her liberty in an effort to get better.  One right she was not allowed to give up was her right to buy a gun.

“I think she would have signed up for this,” said her husband, Paul Henninge.

Cheryl is not alone.  A suicide expert at UAB, psychiatrist Richard Shelton, has written: “Professor Fredrick Vars has proposed a simple and sensible alternative for people who have recurring periods of suicidal thinking: add their names to a gun ‘do not sell’ list. A natural first response might be ‘would anyone really do that?’ As a practicing psychiatrist I see suicidal people on a regular basis. Many of them readily agree to safety measures such as removing guns from their homes, committing themselves to a psychiatric hospital, and securing their medications to protect themselves. It seems likely that people will take the further step of blocking access to firearms in this way. A voluntary and confidential system of ‘opting out’ is a reasonable next step in reducing suicide deaths.”

Sign the petition.

Posted by Fredrick Vars on October 21, 2015 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

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