Wednesday, November 8

Ex-Military, PTSD, and Guns

This past week led me to consider who should have guns, assuming we want to limit the ownership to some degree. I assume most of us would agree that a man who killed over two dozen people at a church in Texas should not have had a gun, since his history included anger problems as a result of PTSD. It would appear that Jax has many current and former military residing in the area, so I know this is a topic of concern for the community.

I could not find a lot of evidence that shows that former soldiers partake in shootings in general more than everyday citizens, though I did find at least one source that suggested they are responsible for mass shootings more often than their percentage of the population would imply. Then again, since gun-owning men are always the perps in these cases, that makes ex-military normally fit the profile in two ways immediately.

A local Jacksonville man with PTSD was shot by police recently because he had a gun and was threatening himself. I saw the outpouring of support on Nextdoor for this soldier and his wife, but I did have at least one question: why did he have a gun? Let's take a look at the factors that stop gun ownership:

1. Convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year or a misdemeanor punishable by more than two years
2. Fugitive from Justice
3. Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence Conviction
4. Unlawful User/Addicted to a Controlled Substance
5. State Prohibitor
6. Protection/Restraining Order for Domestic Violence
7. Under Indictment/Information
8. Adjudicated Mental Health
9. Illegal/Unlawful Alien
10. Federally Denied Persons File
11. Dishonorable Discharge
12. Renounced U.S. Citizenship

The press and politicians have made accusations that the man in the Texas church shooting should have met the criteria. He had problems in the Air Force and with domestic violence. What about the local man, however? He suffers from PTSD, and the military knows about it, but that's not grounds for a dishonorable discharge. His wife, who posted about the issue, had no disdain for him, so we assume domestic violence was not an issue. Also, it appears the Adjudicated Mental Health requires a lot of proof to be used. A simple PTSD diagnosis is not enough. Being in Florida, I assume there's no State Prohibitor of any sort.

What all this means is that we have a lot of people who are comfortable with guns and can get them who may have problems. When you combine Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan, we have over 5.5 million war veterans. With 20% or more of those courageous men and women suffering from PTSD, we're talking about over a million people in our country with PTSD. These are people who fought honorably and have tried to assimilate to society.

While no stats exist on this one, I have found some claims that 25% or more of our police officers are ex-military. I am not sure if there's a PTSD issue with being hired as an officer, but I thought I'd add the potential problem, especially when some studies claim 50% of PTSD sufferers do not seek treatment.

I'm not a gun person myself, but I always worry about who might have one. When I lived in Kansas, I just assumed everyone was carrying a gun. I have a similar feeling here in Jacksonville. I'm not excited about it, but I can accept it. I just want to make sure that those who are legally carrying weapons that could hurt my family should be carrying those guns.

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