Do gun nuts tend to show:
1. "excessive sensitivity to setbacks and rebuffs [rejection]"?
2. "tendency to bear grudges persistently, i.e. refusal to forgive insults and injuries or slights"?
3. "suspiciousness and a pervasive tendency to distort experience by misconstruing the neutral or friendly actions of others as hostile or contemptuous"?
4. "a combative and tenacious sense of personal rights out of keeping with the actual situation"?
5. "recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding sexual fidelity of spouse or sexual partner"?
6. "tendency to experience excessive self-importance, manifest in a persistent self-referential attitude"?
7. "preoccupation with unsubstantiated "conspiratorial" explanations of events both immediate to the patient and in the world at large"?
I would give a strong "yes" to all of those, possibly except for #5. That's six-out-of-seven--more than enough to qualify for Paranoid Personality Disorder.
EDIT1: Clarifications below.
EDIT2: The link just went down. Conspiracy theorists, enjoy that. ;) Meanwhile, I have given an alternative link to the Wikipedia page.
That list was directly copied from the World Health Organization's criteria for Paranoid Personality Disorder, which requires at least three of the above characteristics to be met. Indeed, Paranoid Personality Disorder:
...is a mental disorder characterized by paranoia and a pervasive, long-standing suspiciousness and generalized mistrust of others. Individuals with this personality disorder may be hypersensitive, easily feel slighted, and habitually relate to the world by vigilant scanning of the environment for clues or suggestions that may validate their fears or biases. Paranoid individuals are eager observers. They think they are in danger and look for signs and threats of that danger, potentially not appreciating other evidence.(from Wikipedia)
Americans have got to stop pretending that gun nuts are just misguided. Or weirdos. No...these are people who have crossed the line into mental sickness. Oh, and they have guns. Even though most states have at least some kind of law prohibiting mentally sick people from gaining access to firearms, we have a nation that allows millions of them to own guns, all in the name of the Second Amendment.
I question gun nuts' mental stability. I question the mental stability of people who truly believe that guns are the only thing keeping us from a breakdown of society. I question the mental stability of people who, judging by their language, are not afraid to be the ones to bring that breakdown of society.
What can be done? One possibility is to tighten up the screening for firearm purchase. Even "shall issue" states usually require at least some kind of basic background check to legally buy a gun. If there were a way to make sure people had to be pre-screened beforehand, then we could prevent the ones who could not even pass a basic level of mental sanity from owning a gun. And though we know many states would not even consider it, and the gun nuts would howl louder than a pack of ten thousand wolves, who knows how many lives even a few states' passing this protection could be.
In the meantime, perhaps this could become one of our primary talking points. Linking gun nuts with their mental instability is a change that, once stuck, will not go away easily. Even Caucasians will be less likely to allow just anyone to own a handgun or a military-grade assault rifle if they realize that those who hoard them are doing so as a direct result of a mental illness.
EDIT: The comment section blew up. And it most likely seems due to the term "gun nut." At least, that's the official story--more on what I mean in a later diary, because I certainly feel that this merits a follow-up discussion on what happened here.
In the United States, I consider gun nuts to be the set of people, primarily white, male Americans, who purchase, even hoard, guns, for the purpose of convincing themselves that they are maintaining superiority in the balance of power against the government of the United States, as they believe that they have the right to overthrow said government if it interferes with their values. People who own guns solely for sport or hunting are not included in this definition, nor are people who own guns for self-defense, possibly unless the response to the slight risk of burglarization or other attack is met by a response so disproportionate as to exceed the threshold of paranoia.
There. I defined it, and set a personal record for the most number of commas used in a sentence.