If All You’ve Got is a Hammer

…then everything looks like a nail. When you’ve got a gun, the effect is eerily similar.
Maslow’s oft-quoted phrase is now being echoed by a University of Notre Dame study revealing that people carrying a weapon are more likely to “classify objects in a scene as a gun and, as a result, to engage in threat-induced behavior, such as raising a firearm to shoot” – even when the object in the scene was a foam ball.

From a Health in All Policies perspective, any act of governance may have health implications, and this study points to some behavioral and physical health issues wrapped up in gun laws. Arizona’s state legislature has made national headlines lately via permissive gun legislation, with some representatives seeing the bills as ‘a no-brainer’ given the Second Amendment. Now it turns out that the effect of gun carrying laws on our brains is an issue in itself.

If we are to consider health in all policies, we then might want to view firearms legislation from a new angle. Far from the nation we were when the Second Amendment was codified in 1791, we have become a community whose problems are less that of defense against external threats and more that of challenging and harming each other – and that doesn’t strike us as too terribly healthy.

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