Mental illness/concealed carry question--all states


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BridgeWalker
January 23, 2008, 01:33 AM
I'm currently working of sorting out a topic for a seminar paper on some aspect of gun law. In trying to discern my topic, I am researching various states' requirements for concealed handgun/weapon licenses.

See, MI, where I am located, disallows issuance of a CPL to anyone with a diagnosed mental illness. With the recent passage of the NICS improvement bill, mental illness and guns a hot topic and I'm interested in potentially exploring this requirement of MI's, particularly in how it may act as a disincentive for seeking treatment.

I'm slowly going through each state's websites looking to see if any other (shall issue) state has a similar requirement. Some require getting an application in person, some are difficult to find. Some I've already found. In any case, it's a big project.

I'm curious if anyone has any thoughts on this, or lives on or knows of another state that places mental health based limitations on concealed carry licensees other than the standard restriction for those adjudicated insane/incompetent or involuntarily committed.

Thanks in advance for your comments.

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huff.jeremy
January 23, 2008, 02:18 AM
That is a very interesting paper... although it's subject does raise the hair on my neck. I know far too many psychology students who are willing to pin a "mental illness" on anything and anyone. Does your state regulation differentiate between higher disfunctions and some of the more mundane disorders? (like psychotic/cognitive disorders v. personality/anxiety disorders). Just curious.

FYI & paper:
Illinois does not have any concealed carry for private citizens... but the application for our FOID card which is required for all firearm/amunition purchases/possessions asks whether the applicant has been a patient in a mental hospital in the preceding five years".

Not sure if this question covers voluntary commitment though, and am not sure if checking "yes" is an instant denial... i guess that is for your research, if this regulation even applies to your study.

And.. like i said, I am not sure whether the illinois law is applicable to your study, but i would think that a permit to possess a gun would affect the behavior of a larger sample of gun owners than a permit for concealed carry would. So maybe I can get a footnote. ;)

BridgeWalker
January 23, 2008, 02:25 AM
Does your state regulation differentiate between higher disfunctions and some of the more mundane disorders? (like psychotic/cognitive disorders v. personality/anxiety disorders). Just curious.

Well, first, to clarify, I don't yet know if checking that box equals an instant denial, but I do know that one the MI State Police annual CPL report there is a category of denials for "mental health--other" (as opposed to adjudications). Obviously, it's not even a well-formed topic yet, and I don't even have a thesis at all.

And no, the Michigan CPL application does not distinguish between different types of disorders. It asks about "any diagnosed mental illness, whether in treatment or not". Since severe PMS is now treated with anti-depressant medication, this is bad news for a lot of women.

It also seems a strong disincentive to seeking treatment. I know some people who are not a danger to no one or nothing, but who would be a lot happier if they would figure out how to get their emotional lives sorted out a bit better. I guess the message in MI is DON'T--if you ever want to carry a handgun.

In any case, clearly, I gotta do some more research and analysis.

huff.jeremy
January 23, 2008, 02:46 AM
I think that your point does deserve a paper, especially if less-dangerous disorders might prevent a truly sane & safe person from seeking treatment in order to keep their 2nd amendment rights.

I would suggest talking to someone trained in law in MI, maybe faculty/staff at a law school, or a friend who happens to be a lawyer and owes you a favor. Statutory interpretation is a field unto itself, and looking into this particular regulation's legislative history and subsequent case law might help determine what the actual result of the regualtion was supposed to be. (it could very well have been mis-worded and intended only to keep lunatics from packing heat). But we can only hope for so much.

TAB
January 23, 2008, 02:52 AM
There is not a single person in the US that does not have a mental illness...


Mental illness, can also be cuased by physical conditions as well as Rx. Not to mention all the drug/alcohol addicts that get sent to mental health hospitals. There are also those that check themselfs in of thier own free will.

Lots of grey area here.

BridgeWalker
January 23, 2008, 02:53 AM
Yep, it's actually a law school paper, so plenty of research getting started. I'm just trolling for any tidbits of knowledge or thoughts on what direction to go in that members here might have.

Still deciding if I want to work on the law itself or do more of a policy oriented paper. Requirements are very loose, so I can do more or less what I want.

TAB
January 23, 2008, 02:55 AM
Not really shall issuse state, but you might want to look into CAs 5150 and 5152... and the load of crap that they are. :barf:

Grandpa Shooter
January 23, 2008, 12:47 PM
I believe that what you would need to be focusing on is the behavioral component of a diagnosed condition. A diagnosis of "mental illness" alone would not necessarily be reported as the defining issue in being a prohibited possessor. If however it were also reported that the condition were so severe or involving that the patient had delusions, was combative, or suicidal, and if in the opinion of the "professional" making the diagnosis, the patient were likely to act out as a result of the illness, it could result in being placed on the NICS list.

Not every woman with PMS is a danger to herself or others, any more than a Vet with PTSD is necessarily a threat to himself or others. If someone were to act on the depression, or rage, or delusion in a manner indicating they were "dangerous", a temporary injunction against them would be understandable. A permanent negation of their ability to defend themselves and others is ridiculous.

If I were back in college and doing a paper like that for my degree, I would focus on the undue prohibitions placed on the people in the PP's life. Not many people on this forum seem to realize that prohibiting one person also involves prohibitions on every person that individual comes into contact with. For example, if I were to become a PP, which I am not now, I would not be able to have firearms in my house, thereby affecting everyone living in my house. I could not be in the company of anyone carrying a gun, could not visit in a house where there were guns, could not go with anyone who was at a sporting event or out hunting etc. The designation of being a PP is not limited to the one person who has been labelled, it carries over to every aspect of that person's life and of the people in that person's life. It does not seem to me to be anything close to a "fair" ruling.

Good luck and have fun with your paper.

strat81
January 23, 2008, 12:56 PM
Wasn't homosexuality on the list of APA mental illnesses just 20 or 30 years ago?

And while this is getting into the philosophical (and may be worth mentioning in your paper), sanity is relative.

Galileo: crazy
Christopher Columbus: crazy
Louis Pasteur: Crazy

The Tourist
January 23, 2008, 01:35 PM
A few weeks ago I started a thread on this very issue in another gun forum. I am bipolar.

The majority of the members in that forum told me I was paranoid because forms like the 4473 use the term "adjudicated." I do not see that disclaimer in your post.

Obviously, I was diagnosed. I am BP II, which means that I go through a "blue mood" every four years, but I am a superior card player. Like we always say, "Ted Kennedy's one car has killed more people than my entire firearms collection."

So while I am distinguished retired financial manager and Christian living in an upscale suburban community amid firearms that have never fired a shot in anger in over 30 years, I would immediately be "unfit" by simply moving to Kalamazoo.

Gee, that's enough to drive someone crazy. :neener:

BridgeWalker
January 23, 2008, 01:57 PM
If I were back in college and doing a paper like that for my degree, I would focus on the undue prohibitions placed on the people in the PP's life. Not many people on this forum seem to realize that prohibiting one person also involves prohibitions on every person that individual comes into contact with. For example, if I were to become a PP, which I am not now, I would not be able to have firearms in my house, thereby affecting everyone living in my house. I could not be in the company of anyone carrying a gun, could not visit in a house where there were guns, could not go with anyone who was at a sporting event or out hunting etc. The designation of being a PP is not limited to the one person who has been labelled, it carries over to every aspect of that person's life and of the people in that person's life. It does not seem to me to be anything close to a "fair" ruling.

That's a great point, Grandpa Shooter. And yeah, I'm still here, just a new name :D

I had been thinking mostly of concealed carry, but now that I'm seeing that states seem to have a variety of ways of covering the "grey areas" between "normal" and adjudicated, I am going to pull back a bit and survey all the various grey areas and how they are handled.

Some have gradations: wait five years after an involuntary stay with no adjudication, two years after any mental hospital stay, exception for "observation only" patients. MI just leaves it wide open to exclude any mental illness, with no guidelines, but not for possession, only for carry (which has somewhat fewer lifestyle resctrictions, except of course for the big one, the ability to defend oneself).

I had been ignoring may issue or no issue states, but I'll expand it to look at all states and all sectors of firearms possession/carry and try to make some sense of the big picture before I settle on a narrow topic to explore.

I'd love to hear personal experiences, here or via pm, or stories or comments on laws in your state. Of course, I can't merely write a paper deploring the situation; that's just too obvious. Gotta choose a narrow area to analyze, discuss, propose solutions, etc.

BridgeWalker
January 23, 2008, 02:01 PM
A few weeks ago I started a thread on this very issue in another gun forum. I am bipolar.

Yes, you would have to check that box on the MI CPL application, and I'm willing to bet it would disqualify you. It's not for all firearms possession--that is just NICS, like in most states, but for concealed carry. It is so maddening that you would be placed in that position in MI.

I too have some personal experience, which is undoubtedly why this has piqued my interest. My experiences were mostly transient, although there is always that doubt "any mental illness"? I dunno...I was diagnosed once...

It is a very strange law. Yeah, don't move to Kalamazoo.

Bubbles
January 23, 2008, 02:17 PM
Virginia Code § 18.2-308 (http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+18.2-308) covers concealed carry. Disqualification due to mental illness is covered in sections E3 and E4. It only applies if you were adjudicated mentally defective, and how long you have to wait after being declared competent before you're again eligible for a permit.

TallPine
January 23, 2008, 06:33 PM
You might also look into the MI "commitment" system - they just have a "hearing" right in the hospital and the "judge" is one of their MH "professionals" who is wearing a different hat for a while :uhoh:

Blacksmoke
January 23, 2008, 08:09 PM
Grandpa is on the money. The details and definitions are the key. "Mental Illness" is an insubstantive non-medical term. Some conditions that are treated by psychiatry are disabling and some are not. Depression, Panic disorder and Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder are hardly disabling in the legal sense. Psychosis and Psychopathic behavior are two conditions that ought to preclude gun ownership. I imagine there would have to be a hearing before a judge to determine competency before a persons rights can be stripped away. Then that person's name could be entered to a database of "Nuts Without Guns" that could be searched as part of the background checking process.

I hope you post your paper on this website. It would be highly constructive.
Good luck!

BridgeWalker
January 25, 2008, 05:59 PM
Well, I've now had a chance to do some preliminary research:

Michigan is far from alone in restricting people from a dimension of firearms ownership or use on the basis of such amorphous and ill-defined terms as "mental illness".

Arkansas restricts those with "...mental infirmity which prevents safe handling of a handgun" as well as those who have attempted or threatened suicide. So far, I've found no indication that it expires--that is, that the state recognizes a person's ability to get well.

California restricts "present or former mental patients"

Idaho prohibits from concealed carry only those who are currently mentally ill, but does not limit or further define mental illness at all. Apparently if it's in the DSM-IV and you have it, no permit for you!

Louisiana stipulates no CCW permits to people with "a mental illness which prevents safe handling of a firearm. Again, no limitations on what those mental illnesses might be. On the whole, it is nice to have it limited. As a parctical matter though, it is a pretty meaningless phrase.

Mississippi is pretty terse, and pretty bizarre: No CCW's for people with "mental problems"

Montana says that one carry may be restricted if there is reasonable cause to believe that te applicant "is mentally ill....or otherwise a threat...". Someone needs to get the news to Montana that mentall ill does not equal a threat.

New Jersey is very generous: to get a FID one must disclose complete mental health history and requires a doctor's certification that disorder is no longer present. A few other states have these medical documentation requirements, which are, ne presumes, neither cheap nor easy to obtain, whether mentally healthy or not.

Connecticut, by contrast, offers a very well-defined, non-punitive attempt to protect people from themselves. If one recognizes that as a valid state function, then its restrictions limiting those who have "been confined by court order for mental illness within the previous twelve months" is quite reasonable.

Florida also allows mental disability to lapse after a period of time.

Nevada also allows CCW to persons once five years has elapsed after a mental hospital stay.

Well, I gotta go to class now.

Comments, experiences?

Nomad101bc
January 25, 2008, 06:08 PM
How about looking into how many "mentaly ill" concealed carry holders have actually injured or killed someone in a sitaution other than self defense. I am curius if there is even one incident of such happening.

Jaenak
January 25, 2008, 06:14 PM
Some states vary to an extent but the "industry standard" is if you have a history of mental illness you CAN NOT buy a gun or get a concealed carry permit.

BridgeWalker
January 25, 2008, 06:23 PM
Some states vary to an extent but the "industry standard" is if you have a history of mental illness you CAN NOT buy a gun or get a concealed carry permit.

Jaenak: thanks for your comment, but you're incorrect. That's what we're discussing: the extent to which restrictions exist and are useful, fair, and enforceable. Very few states have such a blanket proscription, especially for possession. Most states have no limitations on possession for those with a history of mental illness beyond those imposed by Federal law (adjudication, mentioned by pp's). More states place restrictions on carry, but again, very few have such a blanket proscription.

TAB
January 25, 2008, 06:35 PM
the other side of that is what about a cancer patient that is in extreme pain and says they want to die, to a medical proffessional... well in CA that would be an instat 51-52 and most likly a 51-50. Now these are not a court determing rahter some one is sane or not, but DRs. Well if they get the 51-52 they are prohibitated for 5 years, the 51-50 is for life. What if they get better? Does that mean becuase they though about killing themselfs in the depth of a very tring event that they should not be allowed to own fire arms for the rest of thier life?

Grandpa Shooter
January 25, 2008, 06:42 PM
Are you starting to see a trend here? As with many other laws pertaining to firearms, the wording of the laws are, in my opinion, purposefully vague. While they may have been well intentioned when passed, they are far too open to interpretation to be uniformly enforced. There is a far difference between the bills which were introduced for consideration and vote, and what actually gets voted into law and enforced. Try getting a consensus among gun owners on what a particular ATF reg is intended to mean, and then look at the history of enforcement.

It feels wonderful to think to oneself that the laws don't apply to you, yet another reality to discover they indeed do just on the turn of a phrase. When I was "visiting" with a VA psychiatrist on the issue of PTSD, one of the questions he asked was, "Have you ever considered suicide?" I have an MS ED in rehabilitation counseling, and so am very wary of such questions. My reply was blunt, "No, I have never seriously considered suicide." He asked why not. My answer was that it would be a violation of the covenant I have with God. At that point he dropped that line of questioning.

If I had answered with an unqualified yes, he would have noted it in his report and it very likely would have been reported. The fate of a lot of current or potential gun owners can hang on a very thin thread of meanings.
A person less versed in terminology could easily have simply said yes and been hung by their own words. To have the wording simply be "mentally ill" is far too vague and inclusive. As I said earlier a woman with PMS and a Vet with what once was called "combat fatigue syndrome" are not necessarily "crazy" or a potential threat to themselves or others.

Best of luck with your research, and please do keep us informed as it is a critical issue to a lot of us.

Grandpa

BridgeWalker
January 25, 2008, 06:44 PM
TAB raises an interesting point. Although I have yet to plumb the depths of the PRK's laws, several states ultimately leave the matter up to a doctor. Many, many doctors are anti-gun. Many doctors think wanting a gun is a sign that one is too crazy to have a gun.

Personally, while not sharing too much of my own mental health history in a public venue, I would like to comment that I have no idea what my psychiatrist's opinion of guns is. I stopped seeing him about seven years ago, when I stopped taking medication. I wasn't pursuing gun ownership or concealed carry at that time. To go to him, have an evaluation of my current status, and get a letter about my mental health typed up and sent to the state would have been time-consuming and expensive. It can takes a couple months to get an appointment with a decent psychiatrist. If one has moved a substantial distance, one may need to establish a relationship with a new doctor, solely for the purpose of certifying that his services are not needed. And in all those scenarios, if he is anti-gun, it would have been utterly futile.

All this provides a heavy disincentive to seeking mental health care.

BridgeWalker
January 25, 2008, 07:01 PM
It feels wonderful to think to oneself that the laws don't apply to you, yet another reality to discover they indeed do just on the turn of a phrase. When I was "visiting" with a VA psychiatrist on the issue of PTSD, one of the questions he asked was, "Have you ever considered suicide?" I have an MS ED in rehabilitation counseling, and so am very wary of such questions. My reply was blunt, "No, I have never seriously considered suicide." He asked why not. My answer was that it would be a violation of the covenant I have with God. At that point he dropped that line of questioning.

Grandpa, I've had that experience several times today--realizing that there are several states in which it would be impossible for difficult for me to get a concealed carry permit.

You have a point too about those flagging questions. Blanket restrictions on people with mental illness not only prevent some people from seeking treatment, but they also prevent people from being fully open and honest when in treatment.

The fact is that thinking of suicide, or having thoughts of suicide, is so far from committing suicide that the two cannot really be equated. Most people have transient thoughts of suicide. Most people do not commit suicide. A person should be able to share disturbing thoughts with someone providing medical care without being automatically assumed to be in danger of acting on those thoughts--whether for the next twelve months, the next three years, the next five years, or for the rest of his life.

Thought crimes....

TallPine
January 26, 2008, 11:47 AM
All this provides a heavy disincentive to seeking mental health care.


Yeah, you'd have to be crazy to do that ;)

Soybomb
January 26, 2008, 01:27 PM
I hope when the paper is finished you'll share it with us, it sounds like it will be a good read.

huff.jeremy
January 26, 2008, 01:57 PM
Hey BridgeWalker...

I know the code in question is not really a criminal statute... but maybe, just maybe, there might be a "void for vagueness" arguement here. It really doesn't seem to fit the standard criteria for such an arguement, but the code is definitely poor "notice" and doesn't define the "class" affected very well.

beachjumper
January 26, 2008, 05:20 PM
I have not seen the proposed federal legislation on this issue. But I do have experience in defending persons that the State[FL] wanted to commit to a mental institution under our Baker Act.
First the State must show that a person has a mental illness, a mental defect or is menally incompetent. These illnesses are found in the headshrinkers bible, the DSM-IV. So homosexuality or being a Republican would not qualify.
Once the State has passed this treshold, they must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the person is a danger to himself or others or that he could not care for himself.
The "accused" has right to a evidentiary hearing before a Circuit Judge, a right to an attorney and a right to a mental health expert to testify on his behalf. Therefore, that person can be found to have a mental illness, Bipolar, but not be a danger to himself or others and can care for himself.
In that case he could not be commited and still be found to have a mental illness.
I believed under current Florida law this person could not be denied a CCW licence because of his Bipolar illness . If he was, he would have a right to an administrative hearing.
As I said, I don't know how the proposed Federal law would change the above scenario. But it could [will] raise all kinds of litigation and once more the attorneys win.
One interesting part of the Fl CCW law is that the applicant can be denied if he does not have the phyisical ability to handle a firearm safely.
I guess if I'm ever caught handling a gun without my glasses, they could pull my licence.

chris in va
January 26, 2008, 05:31 PM
My friend has pretty bad depression caused from several factors. The doctors keep throwing various medications at her in hopes of a more stable mindset. Some have worked, most don't. We've come to a mutual agreement that she doesn't need to be getting her CC permit, although she vows it would never be used in the wrong way.

Frankly I'm more nervous of people owning firearms that have a 'mental illness' that they haven't been treated for.

andy29075
January 26, 2008, 05:35 PM
One good source that I've referenced before in writing papers on mental health is the work of Thomas Szasz.
www.szasz.com

Should your paper "be allowed" to adopt a stance (by the professor or instructions given) pro or anti on the issue, then you'll find his reasoning useful.

MechAg94
January 26, 2008, 06:19 PM
Interesting subject. I thought Texas simply followed that federal law regarding being adjudicated mentally defective. I have no idea on getting a CHL. I imagine if you have problem, you probably have an arrest record or criminal record to match it. They do require that you submit your arrest record history in the application.

The only other possibly related thing in Texas is a rule that if you have 2 or more (I think it is two) substance abuse related citations/arrests within the 4 or 5 years of your license, you can have it revoked. My class was told this included drunk driving, public intoxication, as well issues involving other drugs.

huff.jeremy
January 28, 2008, 03:16 AM
http://www.wsiltv.com/p/news_details.php?newsID=3984&type=top

THis is a link to an article by WSIL3, a T.V. station in Southern Illinois. They say there is legisltation possible for concealed carry in Illinois. They also say that there is a requirement that one not have been in a mental institution.

The Illinois General Assembly site has a viewable copy of this potential legislation. It requires that the applicant "(iv) Has no record of mental disease or mental illness on file that would evidence incapacity, or lack of proper mental capacity".

Interestingly enough, it also requires that the applicant not have elected to undergo treatment via the Alcoholism and Other Drug Abuse and Dependency Act or any similar states law in the past 5 years.

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/95/SB/09500SB0348.htm

I am starting another thread for this hot topic, so that we will not steal your thunder here. :D

BridgeWalker
January 28, 2008, 04:32 PM
Thanks for the links and especially the IL information. I finally got my internet switched over to a reliable provider. Didn't mean to cut and run on this thread--just haven't had internet at home for nearly a week.

NeveraVictimAgain
January 28, 2008, 05:45 PM
As you pointed out in the opening post, under Federal law one can't buy a gun if you've been "adjudicated" ( declared by a judge ) incompetent or committed. That's the way it is and I'm convinced that's the way it should stay. For example, most Americans have had or will have a "major depressive episode" some time in their lives. Does this mean we should all lose our gun rights? Of course not. The current law is sufficent and I will vehemently oppose any further restriction.

Sage of Seattle
January 28, 2008, 06:52 PM
Didn't mean to cut and run on this thread--just haven't had internet at home for nearly a week.

No THR for a week?

Hhmmm.... lessee here....

*starts flipping through his DSM VI*

Ah. Yes, here it is. 292.1. Internet Withdrawal

A. Either of the following:
(1) cessation of (or reduction in) internet use that has been heavy or prolonged (several weeks or longer)
(2) administration of an internet antagonist (magazines, TV, blackberry) after a period of internet use

B. Three (or more) of the following, developing within minutes to several days after Criterion A:
(1) dysphoric mood
(2) nausea or vomiting
(3) muscle aches and twitching fingers
(4) irrational need to yell "troll! troll!"
(5) pupillary dilation, piloerection, or sweating
(6) diarrhea of the mouth
(7) yawning whenever anyone else tries to speak
(8) fever
(9) insomnia

C. The symptoms in Criterion B cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

D. The symptoms are not due to a general medical condition and are not better accounted for by another mental disorder.




Hey, Bridgewalker, I've been there! There's always help available, never fret!

The Tourist
January 29, 2008, 11:21 AM
Frankly I'm more nervous of people owning firearms that have a 'mental illness' that they haven't been treated for.

You already know lots of these people. You might even shoot with many of them.

I was first diagnosed at the age of 51, although I suffered for decades. I had a very slow cycle. I might be hired during a mania, and I worked like a dog and did some of the best work of my life. A few years later, I might be a "problematic employee."

My way of dealing with this was to "get back on the horse," go ride my Harley, take very long naps or cast bullets all day long.

However some might have had a glass or two of tequila. Tequila and mescal come from cacti, which is a succulent. In that family of plants is aloe vera, a plant that the human body finds soothing.

So if you have a pal that "needs a shot" once in a while, you might be dealing with a guy who is self-medicating and doesn't know it.

Ten percent of the population has some form of mental illness. The best way to plot this condition is to study your family, and take a MMPI2 test.

And if you need a few shots of mescal on a dreary day in February, go see a psychiatrist.

Grandpa Shooter
January 29, 2008, 12:34 PM
Or you may have a condition called SAD, which is the acronym for "seasonal affective disorder". What's that? Simple enough really. Take some of us and deprived us of natural sunlight for awhile and watch the change in mood. It changes from individual to individual, but is a provable syndrome. Keep me out of the sun for three days and it will start getting ugly around here. Deprivation lowers the natural balance in the body and brain and you have an increasingly depressed, or angry person on your hands. Does that make me or others "dangerous" or just grumpy. I haven't hurt anyone since I found out about it back in the early 80's, just make sure you have sunlight, or outfit your house with full spectrum light bulbs.

My computer light is a full spectrum bulb. Helps keep my spirits up when I am reading the dreadful news which often comes out on the internet.

BridgeWalker
January 31, 2008, 04:10 AM
B. Three (or more) of the following, developing within minutes to several days after Criterion A:
(1) dysphoric mood
(2) nausea or vomiting
(3) muscle aches and twitching fingers
(4) irrational need to yell "troll! troll!"
(5) pupillary dilation, piloerection, or sweating
(6) diarrhea of the mouth
(7) yawning whenever anyone else tries to speak
(8) fever
(9) insomnia

Hm....

Well, during my period of internet withdrawal, I did experience a twitching finger, but I think that was 'cuz I didn't have time to go to the range ;)

I don't think insomnia counts if it's self-induced through massive caffination...:scrutiny:

But then, I'm a woman, and we don't even need to lose our internet to become crazy. According to the DSM it just takes some hormones...

BridgeWalker
January 31, 2008, 04:37 AM
My friend has pretty bad depression caused from several factors. The doctors keep throwing various medications at her in hopes of a more stable mindset. Some have worked, most don't. We've come to a mutual agreement that she doesn't need to be getting her CC permit, although she vows it would never be used in the wrong way.

Yes, there is certainly a point for many people experiencing mental illness or other circumstance when gun ownership/carrying becomes a bad choice. For another example, a friend of mine stored his guns at a relative's home for a couple years after a moderately severe closed head injury. He was aware of the the unpredictable personality and mood effects that kind of injury can cause and he took precautions.

The trouble is that making that kind of determination is so individual. Some people *can* indeed be completely safe around firearms while feeling intensely suicidal. Presumably they manage this the same way anyone who is experiencing intense suicidal thoughts who happens to be around a knife or a rope or a car or a tall building: they have their boundaries and they don't act on those feelings.

Realistically speaking, many people may be in more danger from household objects than from guns. Women, for example, rarely commit suicide with firearms, but more frequently resort to poisons of various kinds. That is one *huge* group that is being artificially "protected" from a minimal/non-threat while still experiencing normal levels of exposure to something more hazardous.

Frankly I'm more nervous of people owning firearms that have a 'mental illness' that they haven't been treated for.

As Grandpa Shooter and others, including myself have commented, "mental illness" is a term so broad it is essentially meaningless.

But it is not *only* about the little foibles that have recently become pathologized. It's also that people who do have serious problems should be free to seek medical care or not as they choose, and other rights should not be infringed on the basis of seeking care or not. Very, very, very few mentally ill people pose a serious threat to others. A larger number pose a threat to themselves, but very, very few have their ability to make choices so compromise that they cannot safeguard their own lives. But many, whether in treatment or not just have an illness.

Not everyone with diabetes is at high risk of crashing into a diabetic coma at any moment. Not everyone with asthma is likely to start gasping for air at any moment. Not everyone with borderline personality is going to slash her wrists at the first opportunity, and not everyone with depression is at high risk of shooting himself in the head.

Many, many people are aware of their weakness and their strengths and modulate their lives accordingly. People with diabetes regulate their sugar intake and insulin levels and monitor their blood sugar. Some merely follow a precise diet plan, with minimal medical supervision. Some people with asthma take daily medication. Others simply avoid triggers, like damp climates or heavy exercise or certain foods. Some people manage their depression by taking Prozac plus Ativan plus Ambien. Some people manage their depression by regulating their sleep cycle, exercising frequently, and getting plenty of sunlight.

It doesn't always take "treatment". It often takes little more than self-awareness. Grandpa mentioned SAD--personally, I don't have serious effects from the seasons, but like most people, I'm more energetic and upbeat in the summer months. I'm actually electing to spend an extra term in law school so that I will sit for the bar exam in July instead of February. I perform better on very challenging tasks in the summer. Self-awareness. Someone with full-blown SAD might make similar adjustments, perhaps filing for a tax extension, so that overwhelming task is put off for an easier time, or budgeting for a warm-weather vacation every winter for an extra infusion of sunlight.

Addiction is considered a mental illness. Should alcoholics be "treated"? Should they be required to go to meetings? I figure if an alcoholic needs rehab, he should go. If he does better with meetings, then he should go. If he manages to realize he has a problem, quit drinking, and stay way from it on his own, well, that's great and I'm happy for him.

Yeah, so I'm straying from legal issues into the problem of why it is so difficult to legislate on mental health issues. Pretty much for the same reason it is difficult to legislate on any health issue. First, it is an intrusion. Second, it is too difficult to evaluate. Third, it is impossible to apply any rules or regulations evenly because almost nothing about human health is binary (have it/don't have it--almost always the degree to which one has "it" is a major part of the equation). Fourth, every person reacts differently to every illness.

And that's just the health-specific issues on top of all the other reasons not to try to control guns (read: people who like guns).

BridgeWalker
January 31, 2008, 04:49 AM
Ten percent of the population has some form of mental illness.

It's important to note that this is ten percent at any given time. This means that over a lifetime, it will be a much larger percentage.

Some will be officially diagnosed. Others will frustrate and annoy their relative with their obviously pathological behavior and yet decline to seek treatment. Others will be aware of their weakness and treat it themselves just fine (heck, I had a baby at home with no doctors involved--life can go on, even without medical people!).

I've been diagnosed with mental illness in the past. I do not currently have a mental illness. Right now someone else is in that 10%. Count up the people who are cured or in remission, plus the people who currently have mental illness, plus the people who will develop it in a little while, and you've got a pretty hefty chunk of the population.

Incidentally, this is why this topic is so important to me. Not only does it threaten my rights personally, but if I were a gun control lobbyist or an anti-gun legislator, legislating on mental health is *exactly* how I would do it, precisely because it affects the largest possible group of people.

I'd be willing to bet here are a lot more "mentally ill" gun owners than there are "assault weapon" owners. I wouldn't go after the tools, I'd go after the people. And the mentally ill are the last group it's ok to discriminate against, for their own protection, of course :rolleyes:. And the millions of people who are "mentally ill" because they had a really hard time coping when Dad died or didn't have the emotional resources and support to cope well with a cancer diagnosis, or couldn't stop the panic attacks after coming home from combat are far, far too often silent on this issue because they/we do not want to be thought of as crazy.

I'm guilty too. I've owned up to having a personal stake in this, but I sure as heck am not posting details online. No one wants to be thought of as crazy, which makes it real easy to strip away the rights of anyone with "mental illness" who is too shy or too prudent to stand up and protest.

Sage of Seattle
January 31, 2008, 03:59 PM
No one wants to be thought of as crazy, which makes it real easy to strip away the rights of anyone with "mental illness" who is too shy or too prudent to stand up and protest.

I posted this quote from Wiki on a related thread regarding Pastor Niemöller's poem and the mentally ill; wonder why it's commonly omitted? I'm not quite the grand conspiricist that that last statement would suggest, but it's interesting to think of...

Variation of second stanza

Most poems omit "the sick, the so-called incurables", (known today as the mentally ill) in Niemöller's original writings, a reference to Action T4. "Dann hat man die Kranken, die sogenannten Unheilbaren beseitigt."

PikeStaff
January 31, 2008, 10:42 PM
New to the forum, so I beg your pardons for my probable faux pas to come.

I have a 27-year-old son, who was near-fatally injured in a motorcycle accident 2-1/2 years ago. Among the plethora of injuries, the most severe was traumatic brain injury; the technical diagnosis was/is Diffuse Axonal Injury. Devastating to all would be a galactic understatement.

As he was steadily and gainfully employed, he was living life well - meaning, he had obligations in the world. I sought and received guardianship for him, principally to ensure his proper care and to see that his debts would be taken care of. Terminology in granting the guardianship by the courts in PA adjudicated him "an incapacitated person". Under Federal law, as I understand it, this proscribes him from even holding a firearm.

Point is, there is no "mental illness" involved here. His recovery is ongoing and steady; he is just now returning to work, albeit part-time; his moral and ethical viewpoints are unchanged from pre-accident. He does have some cognitive issues, but these relate to processing speed - not to his perspectives on life. When his ability to fully regain control of his life is restored, we will ask the court to rescind the guardianship. However, as he has been adjudicated, it would appear that the Federal proscription will not be rescinded as well. The years of pheasant hunting together are past.

There plainly is more to this issue than PMS and ADHD.

BridgeWalker
January 31, 2008, 11:17 PM
PikeStaff, no faux pas at all. Thanks for pointing out that there are others lumped into the categories of forbidden persons who have not committed any crime or wrong. I hope your continues to do well.

I think that your son may benefit under the "NICS Improvement Act", which I believe has designated funds for updating databases of adjudicated persons. Of course, no one is sure how things will work out, and when I read the bill my focus was a bit different, but I think that this is on area where we may be able to look for improvement as far as Federal law and procedure goes.

I hope your son continues to recover well.

It seems strange that in placing you as a guardian over your son, the government has simultaneously removed your power to make the choices about firearms handling and ownership away from you and your son. It seems that as his guardian, you would have the ability to determine to what degree firearms are safe for him.

Grandpa Shooter
February 1, 2008, 02:03 AM
Bridgewalker,

I am sitting up responding to your latest post, much as I have sat up for 38 years now, settling into myself, relaxing with something I enjoy. Sometimes it is reading a good book, sometimes on the computer, sometimes reading Guns & Ammo, sometimes reloading for the heck of it, sometimes working on a new "magic" load for a new gun.

These are the good times. Many of you know about the other times. The times when you sit in the dark, trying to stop the whirl of thoughts in your head. Trying to forget what cannot be forgotten. Praying for the night to be over so you can get back to work on something useful, without awakening the whole family or whole neighborhood. The times when you wonder "Why me?" knowing full well you wouldn't want it to be the other person.

All that we can do is to bear witness to the reality that indeed some of us do suffer, and that we cope, and that we understand how hard it is to admit to ourselves and others that, yes, we do sometimes need help. And we also need to stand up and say, WE ARE NOT DANGEROUS, to ourselves or others. We need to be adamant in protecting our rights and those of others.

My son came back from Boston profoundly touched by a plaque he saw that read something like this: First they came for the Jews, but I did not stand up because I was not a Jew, then they came for...... I am certain most of you know that one. Let's be the one's who do stand up for all the others before they come for us and there is no one left to stand up for us.

Bless you Delta 9 for daring to take this on.

Grandpa

JerryM
February 1, 2008, 05:30 PM
It seems that almost everyone has some type of "syndrome." They need medication and counseling about anything out of the ordinary.

I had two tours overseas without my family. Strangely enough neither my wife or my children developed any kind of problem.

I asked my wife some time ago, when the military wives seemed to need counseling when their husbands were deployed, how she and the kids made it without all that stuff? She said she just kept doing what she knew she needed to do and did not consider or worry about it.

I have little respect for psychologist, and am convinced that if folks worked a little harder and had less time to feel sorry for themselves the psychologist would be without jobs. I recall some Psy majors when I was in college, and I thought they were all crazy. I have not changed my mind. People do not want to take responsibility for their actions so alcoholism is a disease, for example, and it is not the drunks fault that he got drunk and killed someone.

I agree that the mentally ill should not have free access to firearms, but I am not sure who can make that determination in many cases. Folks being mentally unbalanced and killing someone is something that we will have to live with as long as the world exists.
Some cases are obvious, but many are not.

Best,
Jerry

BridgeWalker
February 1, 2008, 07:10 PM
I have little respect for psychologist, and am convinced that if folks worked a little harder and had less time to feel sorry for themselves the psychologist would be without jobs.

What experience with mental illness do you have to lead you to this conclusion?

I have lost friends to mental illness; people who were simply unable to cope. One starved herself to death, trying to cope. Another bled to death, trying to find a way to cope. How much harder should they have tried? Some people work way too hard as a way of coping. See below. Others end up dealing with repeated physical illness that defies diagnosis. Some become simply unable to sleep, which causes all kinds of unpleasant physical effects. It is real. It does happen. And fixing it is not weakness. Yes, there are people who use psychology as an excuse for poor performance or weakness. There are always people who misuse or overuse any tool. Doesn't make the tool bad. Psychology is a tool. It is useful and productive for people with mental illness.

One thing I learned as a kid has served me in good stead: Don't judge someone until you are standing in his shoes. You cannot possibly know what stresses a person has either innately, through biology, or has developed through various difficult experiences.

At the time I was experiencing problems with mental illness, I was teaching for four hours a day, taking classes for about four hours a day, studying and doing homework and research, prepping for classes and grading papers a minimum of six hours a day, commuting two hours a day, attending judo class six hours a week, running another several hours a week, and working in the university library fifteen hours a week. Weekends were spent doing more schoolwork. Sunday through Friday I left home at 7.00 am and got home at 10.30 or 11 pm, when I would start working on other things. How much *less* time do you think I should have spent sitting around "feeling sorry for myself"?

Also, I didn't feel sorry for myself. A lot of people who have mental illness don't. They sometimes feel overwhelmed. I've talked a lot of people through crises such as Grandpa mentioned when they felt like they couldn't get through the night. Some people experience it as panic, a fight/flight reaction that is over-intense beyond all reasons and brought on by a stimulus other than physical threat. That is a common response to PTSD--which has existed for a long, long time, it's just changed names a couple times.

A lot of people seek out the services of a psychologist or psychiatrist not because they feel sorry for themselves but because they feel like they are letting other people down. A friend of mine who is currently in counseling went because after several tragedies in her life, she felt that her grief and distraction were affecting her parenting skills and abilities.

Some people start seeing a psychologist because their feelings of self-hatred become so intense they are worried that they will not be able to prevent accidentally harming themselves. Happened to a relative of mine.

I recall some Psy majors when I was in college, and I thought they were all crazy.

Most psych majors do not become psychologists. It's a popular major for future social workers, marketing people, lawyers, and dilettantes who want what they perceive as an easy major. A few go on grad school, get their MS and their PhD and then are psychologists.

If I judged historians based on the history majors I met when I was studying history, I'd think historians were a bunch of morons. Most history majors become um, unemployed, or alternatively, law students like me. A good friend is a historian; much smarter than the vast majority of history majors I've even met.

I have not changed my mind. People do not want to take responsibility for their actions so alcoholism is a disease, for example, and it is not the drunks fault that he got drunk and killed someone.

I don't think you understand the disease model. People who do destructive things have to deal with the consequences of those actions. Sometimes people do self-destructive things for years on their own; often a psychologist will simply point out what thing they are doing that are destructive so they can stop. Seeing a psychologist is not necessarily a sweet and cuddly experience. More often it's a conversation of the ways one f-ed up this week. That one has an illness does not make it ok to behave badly or hurt people.

I agree that the mentally ill should not have free access to firearms,

Why?

but I am not sure who can make that determination in many cases.

I share your concern. Your comments on mental illness and psychologists seem to indicate that you think that going to a psychologist makes one mentally ill. That is not the case. Some people see a counselor but do not have a mental illness--they may be trying to simply improve an area of performance. This is not uncommon among athletes. I am currently in this category; I see a counseling intern in an attempt to improve my networking skills and my non-academic professional performance. Some people are obviously mentally ill and do not see a counselor or therapist or psychologist at all, often because they cannot afford it, and often out of the conviction that psychologists are useless.

The law, unfortunately, in some states and in some cases, makes no clear distinction between the first category and someone in treatment for suicidal of homocidal tendencies. And people in the second category are generally *officially* restricted, but without documentation of some kind, there's no record demonstrating that they have a mental illness.

Hence, disincentive to treatment.

Folks being mentally unbalanced and killing someone is something that we will have to live with as long as the world exists.

I agree with you there. Sometimes people kill because they are evil. Sometimes because it is a means to achieve and end they desire. Sometimes because they are nuts. We should all these people the same until they have actually done something wrong, and then they should be punished.

That fine philosopher, Larry the Cable Guy, commented that guns don't kill people, husbands who come home early do. Perhaps we should prohibit cuckolded spouses from gun possession? People who are deeply in debt may be strongly motivated to commit armed robbery, perhaps anyone with a net worth under $10,000 should be prohibited from gun possession?

That makes about as much sense as prohibited gun ownership to someone suffering from severe depression, who may (or may not) have a strong motivation for killing themselves.

Some cases are obvious, but many are not.

I agree, but probably not in the way you think. Someone who shows up at a mental hospital because he feel like he needs to be confined because he cannot control his desire to kill someone (or himself) should not be allowed to possess a gun. Or a knife, or a car, or a shoelace, or a piece of glass. Until he is under control enough to leave the hospital. When he is well enough to take possession of his car, his home (full of dangerous implements), and resume normal life, he should once again be able to possess his guns.

We cannot prevent evil. We can only react to it. Mental illness is not evil. Physically hurting or killing other people is evil. We should not punish people because of the crimes we think they might commit.

chrisg511
April 27, 2011, 06:53 AM
i am Bipolar ADHD have been diagnosed with TS but i am interested in getting a CCW in ohio but am unsure if i would be considered mentally defective, i have never been court ordered to be institutionalized but have been in a mental institution before though never for more than just observation and/or med changes which the meds almost always work, i have constant thoughts of suicide which i have not acted on for more than a year, i also have my boundaries with them i wont act on them bc of my own reasons, that being said i have said thoughts 24/7 i just typically ignore them or disregard them in all cases, my main question being should i try a get the CCW or disregard attempts as futile?

NavyLCDR
April 27, 2011, 11:12 AM
^^^^^ already asked and being discussed here:
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=573361

Art Eatman
April 27, 2011, 12:10 PM
chris, you've resurrected a thread that's almost 3.5 years old. Best if you begin your own thread with your question.

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