Scott DesJarlais, Put the Gun Away

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Let me just remind you of Scott DesJarlais' firearms history. From the Tennessean:

Susan DesJarlais said her then-husband had held the gun in his mouth after finding out his mistress had become pregnant.

“He stuck a gun in his mouth and almost killed himself,” she testified. “You don’t think that he was upset?”

DesJarlais explained in court proceedings that he wasn’t considering killing himself.

“It was never a loaded gun. It was never a suicide attempt,” he said. “It was an attention-seeking act.”

He also denied that he dry-fired a revolver outside the locked room.

“I opened the gun up. It is a revolver. And when you open it and turn it, it clicks. I wanted to make sure it was not loaded, and it was not loaded,” he said. “I’m assuming that was the sound she heard.”

There's no reason to doubt Rep. DesJarlais' wife's account. But, if, for some reason, Scott DesJarlais was telling the truth about his use of guns, he's still a guy who disregards the first rule of gun ownership — treat every gun as if it's loaded — and puts a gun in his mouth in order to get attention and has his gun out when fighting with his wife.

This is not responsible gun ownership. This is the kind of gun ownership that could have very easily ended up with someone getting shot. You'd think that after having this kind of incident — finding himself eating his gun — DesJarlais would be like the guy who lost his life savings at the carnival and never gamble again.

But no, in the Elk Valley Times on Monday in an editorial about gun control, DesJarlais says, "Like many of my constituents, I am a proud gun owner and strong supporter our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms."

Holy shit! I hope he's not like many of his constituents. I hope most gun owners have the common sense to realize that, once they've brought out a gun in a fight with their spouse, once they've fucking put a gun in their own mouth, they don't need to own a gun ever again. Let me be clear — I'm not saying that it should be illegal for DesJarlais to own a gun. I'm saying that, once a person knows that that's how bad it gets for him, he should be responsible enough to say, "You know what, I shouldn't own a gun."

I know there's a big cultural divide between gun owners and non-gun owners. But I would hope that gun owners can appreciate how unsettling this scenario is. We're supposed to be concentrating on the "bad" guys and leaving responsible gun owners to regulate themselves. But here's a brilliant man — he's got an M.D. — who knows the bad places his mind can take him when he's at his worst.

And yet he still owns a gun.

Not only does he still own a gun, he still writes opinion pieces like he's one of those "good" guys who's completely responsible with his gun. The disconnect between what he admits he's capable of and how he sees himself is so enormous that if you think too much about it, you'll get vertigo.

I hope and believe that most people who own guns are responsible. But it'd be nice to see them acknowledge that there are a whole lot of people who have been a danger to themselves or others with their guns who aren't responsible enough to put down their weapons — and who still stand up in public and claim to be responsible gun owners.

Scott DesJarlais still having a gun isn't some great Second Amendment stand for freedom, it's the actions of a fool who's gambling with his own life that he won't ever get that down again. I don't think there should be a law against that. But there should be some acknowledgement in our society that he's not alone. And there should be some public recognition that an admittedly irresponsible gun owner has no business lecturing anyone else about gun control.

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