I have a mental disorder. This is what happened when I tried to buy a gun.

How does buying a gun actually compare to getting psychiatric treatment? I decided to find out for myself.

It’s 7 a.m., and a police officer stops me at the gate of the only road that leads to Moon Island.

She asks me for my pass, which I scramble to retrieve from my messenger bag in the backseat of the car. Moon Island is a restricted property controlled by the city of Boston, even though it’s technically in the city of Quincy. But this is hardly the most bizarre or confusing part about my day. Because Moon Island is also the location of the Boston Police shooting range, and I’m here to take a target test so I can get my gun permit.

The officer furrows her brow as she checks my range pass, and I wonder if it’s that obvious that I’ve never actually shot a real gun before in my life.

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