It’s of interest that version five of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has separated the tendency of people to collect and keep inordinate numbers of specific items from obsessive-compulsive behavior and has now recognized this retentive trend as a distinct neuropsychiatric disorder: hoarding disorder. This new view has special significance for those who are in the inexorable grip of hoarding behavior patterns. Said Dr. Sanjaya Saxena, who heads the University of California’s Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Program: “Hoarding will be listed as a disorder, clinicians will have awareness of it, and people will start screening for it. And patients will realize it’s a problem that they can get treated.”
All this, it is obvious, has multiple applications to what I call gun-gatherers – people who advocate that the Second Amendment gives them the right to collect all manner of guns, which they then keep stored in cavernous vaults (gun safes), at the same time claiming they need their armories to protect their homes. Clearly, these gun-gatherers are victims of this hoarding disorder. But there is hope, on two fronts: As a proactive measure of sorts, screening for this disorder will prevent further indulgence. In their driven attempts to gather more guns, the hoarders will flunk universal background checks. Also, now that counselors know that this hoarding disorder is a distinct psychological/emotional/neurological aberration, they can offer therapy to afflicted patients. Good news for the gun gatherers: They can look forward to liberation from their urges to buy, buy and buy more, more and more guns. And good news for me. I once thought these individuals were evil. Now I can offer them sympathy and can encourage them to seek help.