We're glad Tom Arnold is taking the time to speak out on such an important issue.
In a powerful essay penned for the Hollywood Reporter, Tom revealed his nephew Spencer died of a self-inflicted gunshot in May. The tragedy ultimately inspired Arnold to write a public message in support of stricter gun laws, especially where it concerns mental illness.
Related: 200 Celebs Who Wanted To End Gun Violence
While there's a lot to dissect in the beautifully written piece, the short of it is, Spencer committed suicide after serving time in Iraq. He had been "kicked" out of the army after a failed attempt to end his life.
Sadly, Spencer was able to buy FIVE guns upon returning to his native home of Iowa.
After a period of time spent festering in his mental illness, the veteran shot himself following a small disagreement with his girlfriend:
"On May 2, Spencer said good night to his roommate, said he was excited about going back to college and getting his future going, finally. Then he called a woman he'd been seeing for a couple of months, and they had a little disagreement, so my handsome 24-year-old nephew reached over and grabbed one of the five loaded guns on his nightstand and shot himself in the head."
According to Tom, his loss was heightened by the absurdity of the situation. The father of two couldn't help but wonder how a certified mentally ill person was able to purchase a ton of guns so easily, especially since there have been so many deaths related to guns and mental illness as of late.
To illustrate his point, T.A. presented a flawless metaphor on our lax gun laws by tying in his past drug addiction:
"Spencer having five loaded guns next to his bed every night is like me sleeping next to a dresser made out of chocolate cake and filled with cocaine. I will probably be totally cool forever, unless someone says something that kinda hurts my feelings and … f— it."
Yep, that pretty much sums it up.
Now that Tom has been personally affected by gun violence, he made the decision to team up with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, an organization devoted to improving gun laws:
"I met with the Brady folks, including president Dan Gross, and my timing was perfect. They had the very bill I wanted before Congress, as well as a bill fixing the gun show loophole. The Brady Bill was great, but gun shows and the internet have changed the picture since 1993, so we just want to update things. No guns for the mentally ill until they are treated (the last two cop killers in the headlines were former military with PTSD; once you serve this country, you deserve follow-up mental and physical health checkups every year for the rest of your life). No guns for domestic abusers, violent felons or people on the terrorist watch list, and background checks for everybody. No more buying 40 handguns in a day and selling them to your "cousins" in the parking lot."
Sounds reasonable! It's an especially poignant plea considering we have a TON of veterans in America suffering from PTSD at this very moment.
At the end of his essay, Arnold made it clear that he DOESN'T want to abolish the second amendment. All he wants to do is change how we think about and operate our guns:
"I've handled guns for 52 years. I support the Second Amendment. I own guns, but I am very, very careful because they are very, very dangerous. I know."
You can read the 57-year-old's full essay HERE.
[Image via WENN.]
Tags: controversy, politik, r.i.p., sad sad, tom arnold, violence