Dragoo then brings up another important point concerning the arming of his 78-year old mother, who I can only assume is a safe gun handler — a lucky exception at her age. Dale Russakoff’s article “Guns in Frail Hands” published in the New York Times in 2010 provides a starkly different experience than Dragoo’s, where Russakoff details his attempts to divest his 90-year old mother, who has mild Alzheimer’s, from her gun, which she kept at her nursing home loaded and wrapped in a scarf in her dresser. No legislation supported his efforts to remove her gun, as no age-related restrictions exist on gun ownership. This is markedly different from laws governing the driving of a car, where 100 percent of all drivers must have a license, to be renewed every four years, sometimes with restrictions based on visual or physical impairments. The Veteran’s Health Administration has become increasingly aware of the issue of age impairment, and has found that 40 percent of elderly veterans with mild to moderate dementia have guns. Yikes!
These are just a few of the many issues that need study as we seek to reduce gun violence. Fortunately, we have good models for how to proceed in making our country safer, if only we would look carefully at factual information, ask questions, and talk about the issue. I appreciate Bill Dragoo’s letter from which I could continue this dialogue.
ALLISON LEE PALMER