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A public health issue

By Staff | Aug 5, 2020

To the editor:

I am writing to share my deep concerns regarding the candidacy of Michael Dreikorn, a Pine Island resident running for the open seat as County Commissioner on a dangerous gun platform. In an interview with local Fox News he said, “Someone should not lose guns based on accusations. That is an invasion of privacy and totally un American.” He wants to make Lee County “a sanctuary for gun rights.” (Fox News Video; 11/19/2019).

Lee County must be a sanctuary for families first. A gun sanctuary status will mean that families may not be able to obtain an emergency protective order or use a Red Flag law. These permit family members or police to petition the court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person found to be unsafe, with a date scheduled for their return. The gun owner has full legal rights in the hearing. It gives a person time to cool off, rethink things.

(Check out www.politifact.com/ factchecks/2019/sep/03/dave-aronberg/explaining-how-floridas-red-flag-gun-law-works).

If Lee County becomes a sanctuary for gun rights, it will no longer be a sanctuary for families.

As a retired psychiatric nurse clinical specialist, I was involved in many situations where individuals and families sought help for a member who was losing control, sometimes in danger of murder or suicide. They sought an evaluation and if needed, temporary intervention to keep them all safe.

Why is it that all good safety evaluations include the question: “Does this person have access to a gun?” This question is critical because death can happen rapidly when an enraged and desperate person has a firearm. People lose control sometimes. These feelings are frequently temporary. However, temporary problems can lead to vast destruction to life and limb that is preventable with knowledgeable and sensitive interventions. Later, when the crisis has passed, and no one has died, the person is so grateful that help arrived in time, and lives have not been destroyed.

If Lee County becomes “a sanctuary for gun rights” as Michael Dreikorn pledges he will create, residents will be blocked from these protections. This is not “an invasion of privacy or un-American.” This is a public health issue.

Mary Lewis Sheehan

St James City