Riding Shotgun With Charlie
Walk The Talk America
You never know what is going to happen or who you’re going to meet at the Gun Rights Policy Conference. This year, Kerry Slone from We The Female (RSWC #55) approached me and said “You HAVE to have Michael Sodini from WTTA!” An exchange of info and a few text messages and it’s a done deal.
Michael Sodini had family that worked in the gun industry for 3 generations as an importer. He says he’s “the most un-gun gun guy” but really enjoyed the people in the industry. After getting a DUI, one of his colleagues thought that he would never be able to work in the firearm industry. Sadly, his friend took his own life thinking there was nothing else for him to do.
Michael eventually founded Walk The Talk America (WTTA). WTTA focuses on the mental health issues and suicide prevention in the firearm community. It started over a conversation with a woman in New Orleans who asked about what happens when there’s a school shooting. They agreed that one side blames the guns, while the other blames mental health. And they decided that there has to be a way for both sides to work together for a common solution.
Knowing that there are good people in the firearm community who do care when there are mass and school shootings, he set out to do more research about people who struggle with mental health. He came across Mental Health America and their Proposition Statement 72: Violence: Community Mental Health Response (see link for the article) and discovered that only 5% of people who suffer with mental health commit acts of violence.
WTTA is working to take the stigma away from having mental health issues and owning a firearm. Their website offers a screening quiz to see if you’re experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. The link is here. https://walkthetalkamerica.org/love// Looking at the website, there are several types of tests that you can take. He shares that some of his own family members did a screening and ended up realizing that they have some concerns that can easily be dealt with.
Michael says that mental health education is just as important as physical education. And we should have courses in school about this topic. We know that it’s easy to see if we need some physical exercise to help ourselves. But we can’t see when someone needs with mental health issues.
We have a great conversation about the mental health issues and owning a firearm and that struggling with depression, PTSD, and anxiety, should not be a permanent disqualifier for owning a firearm. I really think you’ll get a lot out of this interview.
You can print out the flyer that Michael holds about WTTA here. https://walkthetalkamerica.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/WTTInsert.pdf
Michael’s speech at the 2A Rally for Your Rights in Washington DC on November 2, 2019
Mental Health America
Position Statement 72
“Most people are gun ignorant. And they’d ask “Like Nicholas Cage in Lord of War? And I go “yeah, just like that!”
“Everybody blames the gun. We blame mental health. And it just goes in a circle, nowhere”
“We have a physical education course. We should have a mental health education course”
“There’s no future predictor of violence, only previous violence is a future indicator”
WTTA Instagram Page
WTTA Facebook Page
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