- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 7, 2016

Taya Kyle, the widow of U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, spoke out in favor of gun rights in an op-ed published by CNN Thursday, arguing that taking away guns from law-abiding citizens will not make Americans safer.  

Mrs. Kyle, who’s husband was shot and killed by a former Marine at a shooting range in 2013, argued that the federal government should not ban all guns based on the actions of a small number of people that desire to do harm to others. 

“We can’t legislate human nature,” Mrs. Kyle wrote. “If we add up the number of these mass killers over the last decade,how many people are we talking about? Fewer than 40 over the last decade? Do we want to make laws for millions based on the choices of fewer than 40 evildoers?”

Using her husband’s killer, Eddie Ray Routh as an example, Mrs. Kyle argued that simply having access to a gun does not make someone more prone to using it to kill another human being.

Mr. Routh, who was found guilty of killing Mr. Kyle and was sentenced to life in prison without parole, worked in an armory with daily access to deadly weapons for years. 

“He chose to kill when he got out an environment of accountability and drug testing,” Mrs. Kyle wrote. “Simply having a weapon did not make him a murderer. His life choices did.”

She criticized the mental health system in the U.S., arguing that simple healthcare reforms could have a huge impact for law enforcement and the prevention of violent crime. 

Witnesses who testified at Mr. Routh’s trial said he was a known drug user, but he repeatedly skirted trouble by claiming he had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Psychiatrists on both the prosecution and defense in testified that Mr. Routh did not have PTSD.

“The officers would take him at his word, deliver him to a mental health facility where the facility would write a diagnosis which is known in that community as a label for likely drug use, and they would release him. Because of the HIPAA law and our desire to protect everyone’s privacy, we allow bad behavior to slip through the cracks,” Mrs. Kyle wrote.

“Imagine how different things would be if a mental health facility could tell police, ‘This is a drug user,’ and the police could go track him for drugs and put him in jail for breaking those laws instead of waiting for worse crimes in the future,” she added.

She noted that in almost every case, mass killers have targeted places where they know people will be unarmed, and that taking away Americans’ rights to own a weapon would make the country less safe. 

But above all, Mrs. Kyle stressed that a person who wants to commit murder will do so, with or without a gun. 

“When Chris and I were looking into our personal security after the book ‘American Sniper’ came out, we took measures and thought of different scenarios, and Chris told me that still, based on his experience, ‘Babe, if someone wants to kill me, they will,’” she recalled. 

The op-ed comes just two days after President Obama announced a set of executive actions that would tighten background checks for gun buyers and require sellers to register as licensed gun dealers, eliminating the “gun-show loophole.” 

Mr. Obama will appear in a live CNN town hall on Thursday called “Guns in America.” Representatives from the National Rifle Association declined to attend. 

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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