Home » OPED: CARR bill protects more than gun rights – it protects right to life

OPED: CARR bill protects more than gun rights – it protects right to life

By Mac Brown

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The problem with gun violence is not the gun, but rather the people who use a gun to inflict harm. This is why a solution is so difficult. As Americans, we have a 2nd amendment right to own a gun and we take this right seriously, but the loss of life and injuries that happen due to the use of firearms have grown to an epidemic level.  Consequently, we need to find a way to ensure our rights while addressing the need to stem gun violence. 

Here are the facts. Every year more than 40,000 people in the United States use a gun to kill themselves or others. Suicides account for more than half of all firearm deaths (54%), and most suicides involve a firearm (53%). Further, it is important to know that most people who attempt suicide do not die, unless they use a gun. And if a person survives a suicide attempt, most do not go on to die from a later attempt.Consequently, preventing suicide attempts with firearms can significantly improve the probability of long-term survival.

This suggests that an important strategy for preventing suicide is limiting access to lethal means when people are most at risk. Kentucky’s state legislature is currently considering such a means — Senate Bill 13, the Crisis Aversion Rights Retention bill (CARR). It is designed to respect the rights of gun owners while temporarily separating a person from their firearms in a moment of mental health crisis.

Like many Americans, I am and have been a gun owner since my youth. I strongly believe in our right to keep and bear arms, but unfortunately this freedom is clashing with the mental health crisis resulting in more and more violence. I have learned from personal experience that some people dealing with serious mental health issues lose perspective and do not make rational judgement.  This loss of control can escalate to the point where they do not realize they are hurting someone else or themselves, even to the point of death.

CARR offers the best process to help individuals in crisis and protect the lives of possible victims, while respecting 2nd Amendment rights. Most individuals who are dealing with a mental health crisis give some sign of their future harmful intentions. While CARR will not solve all potential harmful incidents, it can have a serious impact — especially when it comes to suicide. An important step when you consider the firearm suicide rates by county across the Commonwealth.

I do not see CARR as legislation that takes away our rights. Rather, it protects our most important right — the right to Life. I ask that all like-minded individuals reach out to their state house and senate representative and encourage passage of Senate Bill 13.

Mac Brown served as the Chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky from 2015 to 2023.