Better Mental Health Screening


Romeo 33 Delta
January 13, 2013, 01:31 AM
This is an area with which I have NO KNOWLEDGE. I'm searching for answers and this is intended to be a SERIOUS question on my part. The following is not intended to be 100% correct and I've made certain assumptions ... but the point is to find out what our members think.

In terms of disqualifying a person from owning a firearm, it seems to be rather straight forward when we speak of what I'll call "contact with the legal system". Generally, if you are found guilty of commission of a felony, you are disqualified. Correct? I know we also have things like "domestic violence" which I believe is not ever/not always a felony, but it is still a rather clear line. (I'm NOT making a judgement on whether or not I think it's proper to be disqualified for a misdemeanor offense).

There are various stages of contact with the legal system: As a suspect, you are investigated, possibly detained for some brief period. Then, if authorities think they have something, you are arrested. If not, you are released. The DA then determines if they have sufficient evidence for a trial. It may be determined they don't and you are released. Then you have a trial where you are found either guilty or not guilty. If not guilty, you are released.

The point I'm getting at is that there are these various levels of contact with the legal system and each level represents a more serious contact, but each level also has an "escape loop" if you will in that the authorities at any point can make a determination not to take it further up the chain. It also appears to be very clear cut; there are clearly established lines of demarcation and only the last level of contact results in disqualification, depending on that outcome.

We now have increasing demands for better cooperation between agencies concerning sharing of mental health records, with the same insistence on cooperation between states. It's a daily drumbeat: "People with mental problems shouldn't be allowed to own guns". Now, I don't think people with dangerous mental problems should own or have access to guns (among other things) but this is where I start having a problem.

1. Exactly what is a "dangerous mental problem"?
2. Does the equivalent of the legal definition of "felony" exist in mental health in terms of being a disqualifying line?
3. It appears that any number of mass murderers have been perscribed various drugs. Can the use of certain drugs be used to draw a disqualifying line?
4. Isn't it wrong to deny a person an individual, fundamental right just because they might do something illegal at some point?

I don't even know how to phrase this next question so it doesn't sound inflamatory ... so here goes: Mr. X is on a drug which permits him to function in society.

Is there any positive proof that if Mr X stops taking the drug that he will become criminally dangerous?

Who checks up on Mr X to see that he is taking the drug as perscribed?

Will Mr. X ever get to the point where he is "cured" and no longer needs the drug?

If yes, does that mean he can't be allowed to own firearms while under treatment, but once "cured" he is no longer disqualified since he's no longer a danger?

Who makes that decision? Do those decisions have the same level of clearly defined line that exists in the legal system?

As there are various levels of contact with the legal system that do not result in disqualification, what are the levels of contact with the Mental Health system that are equivalent, if any? If not, then how can one fairly separate the different kinds of contact?

These are some of the questions that were tossed back and forth during a recent discussion a group of us had. None of us in the group have had contact with either the Legal or Mental Health system so we couldn't go further than just raising one question after another. Friends ... please contribute. I don't need to know anything of a personal nature. I think you can see that from the tone of the questions. I'm concerned about this because of the media hype and the apparent lack of knowledge on the subject. I think that someone like Lanza should have been disqualified, but I also do not want to see a point where just because you've had some level of contact with the system that you become disqualified. I see that as a real danger in this present climate that demands that the politicans do something ... anything ... even if it doesn't work. Just do something!

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January 13, 2013, 02:04 AM
I don't know, but I refuse to be subject to mental health screenings.

January 13, 2013, 08:59 AM
"1. Exactly what is a "dangerous mental problem"?"

The person has to actually do something dangerous. Threatening behavior might qualify, just like it would for you or me.

"2. Does the equivalent of the legal definition of "felony" exist in mental health in terms of being a disqualifying line?"

Nope. Now, if the person's behavior causes the legal system to become involved, then the legal system can disqualify them from owning guns, just like for you and me.

"3. It appears that any number of mass murderers have been perscribed various drugs. Can the use of certain drugs be used to draw a disqualifying line?"

Nope. For example, according to NIMH (Nat. Inst. of Mental Health), there are 2.2 million Americans with schizophrenia. A great many of them take meds and don't become violent. Another example, according to NIMH, 2.6% of the American population is bipolar. Many take meds and aren't violent. There's no way to predict who will be until they do something. Threats might qualify, just like they would for you and me.

"4. Isn't it wrong to deny a person an individual, fundamental right just because they might do something illegal at some point?"

Of course.

""People with mental problems shouldn't be allowed to own guns""

Which mental health problems? There are dozens and dozens of diagnoses in the DSM-IV (soon to be DSM-V). The list includes sleep disorders, eating disorders and all sorts of things. Here's a good example: kleptomania (312.32) is an impulse control disorder that could lead to a shoplifting conviction, but until it does it's just a diagnosis in a book with a code to use for billing the insurance company/medicare/etc.

January 13, 2013, 09:41 AM
I don't know, but I refuse to be subject to mental health screenings.

Same here.

I could see: "Well, I'm sorry your wife and kids left you.......we'll hold on to those until you're mentally well". Or, "Sorry you lost your job today.........we'll hold those until you're better".

No thank you.

January 13, 2013, 11:08 AM
1. Exactly what is a "dangerous mental problem"?

I'd think that if one's behavior was aberrant enough that it required a 911 call to the police and a trip the emergency room instead of to jail, that might raise suspicion. If one is taken to jail, there would be a legal record. If to the emergency room, disclosure of whatever might have happened in the emergency room is prohibited. In the case that such an event has occurred recently, it might not be unreasonable to require a psychological evaluation.

Adam Lanza, James Holmes, Jared Loughner, Nidal Hasan and Seung-Hui Cho had, by many accounts, given plenty of warning. Unfortunately, political correctness and laws that were supposed to protect the mentally ill prevented effective action to prevent the massacres.

It's been said before, but it's one thing to be open-minded, and another to be so open-minded that one's brains fall out. IMO, we've gone well past that point in an effort to protect certain classes like the mentally ill.

I don't know, but I refuse to be subject to mental health screenings.

I'd actually be OK with it as long as politicians were required to go through a mental health, drug screen and criminal background check before they are allowed to run for political office. (Don't worry, I don't think it would even be Constitutional, and if it were, they'd never agree to it!)

January 13, 2013, 11:13 AM
As someone who works with people with mental problems, but not a psychologist or counselor, I can speak on a limited basis about how the system works here in Colorado. Different states have different laws though.

If you call the police or are found by them to be a "danger to yourself or others" you can be placed on an M1 hold. A doctor, law enforcement officer, or certified counselor has the authority to place someone on an M1 hold. Usually they are brought to the local hospital, where they are not free to leave, but have to be kept in the least intrusive environment. Basically it means I keep you from leaving and make sure you don't hurt yourself or others. The hold can last up to 72 hours, but it is rare that I see it last that long. After a short time, and medical clearance, a psych team member will come and do an evaluation. They will talk to the person on the hold, and to related family members/friends. The decision will then be made by both the MD and counselor as to release the person, or place the person in a mental health facility.

If they are placed in a facility, then I believe a judge has to become involved in ordering it, with the MD's recommendation.

On a side note, there are some people that I work with that I am glad do not have access to arms. While I am in favor of better mental health screening, I think that the ruling should fall more for freedom than against it. In other words, I would rather chance 10 people who should be barred from arms for safety reasons having access, than 1 wrongfully barred. It also brings up the question: who decides mental competency, since what I decide is not necessarily what someone who could have ulterior motives (gun grabbers) could decide.

January 13, 2013, 11:18 AM
"I'd think that if one's behavior was aberrant enough that it required a 911 call to the police and a trip the emergency room instead of to jail, that might raise suspicion. If one is taken to jail, there would be a legal record."

Are you using aberrant behavior in the general sense or the legal definition? The legal definition requires "criminal behavior". Notice how things always seem to hinge on observable behavior?

Aberrant Behavior is a single act of unplanned or thoughtless criminal behavior.
[U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual, ch. 1, pt. A, 11 4]

January 13, 2013, 12:49 PM
Are you using aberrant behavior in the general sense or the legal definition?

The general sense. I'm using the criteria that incidents like psych ER trips should be reported. Police aren't mental health professionals. (I've read that about half or shootings by police involve shooting someone who was later found to be mentally ill.) If they think someone is crazy, he or she must be really, really crazy. If the individual is taken to jail, it would be reported. If to the ER, it should be reported, too. The law enforcement/arrest/emergency room criteria not an awfully high bar.

I doubt the majority of individuals posting here or on any of the other firearms interest boards have ever been arrested and taken either to jail or to the emergency room. Firearm ownership appears to correlate positively with income, success and education, in spite of the efforts of the media to portray the opposite.

In the case of Major Hasan, he was surrounded by mental health professionals who believed that there was something wrong with him. Instead of dealing with it, they promoted him and transferred him to Texas. It's not an uncommon bureaucratic response, but there should be penalties for his supervisors who made such poor decisions.

Once, while presenting what was supposed to be a medical lecture to other psychiatrists, Hasan talked about Islam, and said that, according to the Koran, non-believers would be sent to hell, decapitated, set on fire, and have burning oil poured down their throats. A Muslim psychiatrist in the audience raised his hand, and challenged Hasan's claims. According to the Associated Press, Hasan's lecture also "justified suicide bombings." In the summer of 2009, he was transferred to Fort Hood.

I can't say that I've attended any psychiatric Grand Rounds presentations lately, but those statements do strike me as being more than a little unusual for a psychiatrist and US Army major.

January 13, 2013, 01:01 PM
I think any narcissist who would desire the public spotlight and unlimited power enough to enter politics is by definition "mentally unstable" and should be locked up before they can destroy the freedom of American citizens.

Romeo 33 Delta
January 13, 2013, 02:01 PM
Thanks for the responses thusfar. My problem with using "mental health screening" as a means of disqualifying one from gun ownership is based on what I see as a fairly loose standard of application, coupled with the range, complexity and severity of the many forms of "mental illness" when compared to the legal system which seems to be more structured.

I'm concerned with our being able to protect society ... but am also concerned that one does not get disqualified as a result of mis-application of what appears to be for the most part, a non-standard. Clearly, there are instances where the person is "a danger to himself or others" or actually has crossed the line (without a firearm). Those levels are equivalent to having been found guilty within the legal system.

My question and concern is how far back up the line can you REASONABLY apply the disqualification standard before you violate a person's rights to own a gun?

Further, in the legal system we don't disqualify a person because "they might
commit a crime" ... so where in the mental health system is that same line if it even exists?

January 13, 2013, 02:27 PM
How about the standard for disqualification being an involuntary, court-ordered commitment where the patient was represented by legal counsel?

And how about a mechanism where the disqualification could be removed if it was shown that the patient was no longer a danger to himself or others?

What we don't want to do is discourage people from seeking treatment, worrying that their gun rights will be taken away. This would be highly counterproductive.

Realistically, this "mental health screening" for gun possession is easier said than done.

January 13, 2013, 03:09 PM
First of all I can't ever see everyone having to be subjected. It's what process would be used to bring those who are dealing with mental health issues and or mind state altering drugs.

It's a weird concept that would make people afraid to get the professional help they need for mental or emotional issues.

January 13, 2013, 03:21 PM
Always remember.

When asked about his own obvious oral fixation, Sigmund Freud replied, "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar".

Psychology is an inexact science, and often, the inmates run the asylum.

January 13, 2013, 03:45 PM
The law here says that you cannot own a firearm if you have been adjudicated mentally defective. Thats the best you can do to stop the mentally i'll from having guns. Try pushing the mental health issue more and anyone who has ever been treated for anything will have a "history of mental illness".

January 13, 2013, 03:47 PM
Its pretty simple really. Just apply the law as written. I believed the government is applying the "Clintonian" philosophy of gun control. Don't enforce the laws on the books so you can justify getting even more. As the law is written if you have been "adjudicated mentally defective" or institutionalized against your will you are disqualified from possessing a firearm. As it stand Congress does not fund a system like the NICS for criminal offenses for state agencies to report mental health disqualifications. Only 4 states regularly report disqualifications and only 23 report them at all. Why are we talking about changing the law or making new ones when no attempt has been made to even make the law on the books effective.

The problem is a lot of people in Congress don't agree this law does enough to prohibit enough people from possessing firearms. They have in the past proposed bill sto strengthen the law, not by making it more effective but to help it prohibit more and more people. If you are ever treated for depression, alcoholism, have PTSD, or get counseling for stress they want you prohibited. Millions of regular people and especially Veterans would have their rights stripped away from them without at due process at all. That is truly the goal. To get us used to the idea that Congress can oppress out rights through a bill rather than the due process of an order of the court. If the government is going to oppress your rights you should have your day in court to face the government and let them argue why it is necessary for them to oppress your rights and to give you the right to defend it. Sadly, just like the prohibition on felons and crimes of domestic violence we have grown comfortable with the idea they can oppress it without due process because it doesn't effect us and we don't care about the people it does effect. So at LEAST if you are going to have your rights oppressed due to a mental illness it should be on from an action of the court. Not some snooty Doctor with a 10 cent degree.

A good example would be my own experience. I was having problems and in the past many people like me were treated for depression when it turns out I had low testosterone. Under laws congress had proposed I would have been prohibited from exercising my rights to keep and bear arms for life because of depression I didn't even suffer from.

Tread very lightly and carefully when you talk about good reasons to oppress the rights of an entire groups of people. First we discriminate against felons, then people with marital problems, then the mentally ill. Now I hear people say illegal immigrant shouldn't have any rights because they aren't citizens. Your rights are HUMAN rights, not given by the government, the Constitution, or citizenship. You can only respect rights or oppress them. You can't give them or take them away. Oppression of civil rights is a very serious subject and I just think we should keep the bigger picture in mind when we talk about who and when we are OK with the systematic oppression of those rights.

Romeo 33 Delta
January 13, 2013, 11:42 PM
Again, thanks for the continued input and I like the fact that more and more of you are both filling in the information blanks as well as pointing out that the data base, the science and consistant application are all a problem.

I also appreciate it being pointed out that there is a lack of enforcement, if you will; either unintentional ... or much worse, absolutely intentional with an end to be able to "prove" that current laws are inadequate.

There's all this talk about Executive Orders and one I heard mentioned yesterday/today(?) was that Obama could use his EO powers to force prosecutions for violations to which I say: GREAT! I'm of a mind that there are more than enough laws already on the books that would limit the wrong folks from getting firearms. ... if they were more strictly and more consistantly enforced. Years back a friend on the local PD contacted Chicago BAFT about a situation here where there was a felon in possession. He told me (and I have no reason to disbelieve him) that they asked how many guns were involved? He replied: one. He was then told that one gun was not worth their time to be bothered with. I know it's anecdotal evidence, but that is certainly a law NOT being properly enforced.

Jon in wv raises some interesting points that I touched on at the outset. Just what minor level of contact with the Mental Health System should (not does currently, but should) trigger a disqualification? As it stands, there is a "standard" (adjudicated mentally defective or institutionalized against your will) . Why try to expand this? If a proposed law simply throws out either a bigger net or one with smaller openings with the intent to simply drive up the gross numbers of disqualifications ... that's wrong and worse than useless. The fact that Congress hasn't funded a clearing house for reporting mental health disqualifications IS at the heart of the problem then. Create it as a NICS adjunct and require that all 50 States report at least as often as for criminal disqualifications seems to be a must. With respect to Domestic Violence disqualifications; I don't want to see spouses needlessly endangered, but I think this law was a gross over-reaction, it seems too vague and too broad. I believe that some states treat this as a felony, others as a misdemeanor. I can see loosing your rights for a felony ... but for a misdemeanor? Due process ... absolutely essential.

OK, once the police or hospital has become involved, certain events follow (or should follow) automatically. IlikeSa notes that you go through a process and can be detained (and at least temporarily are disqualified) or you are released (no disqualification). If that's is done as consistantly as in the legal system contact (through a trial with the same result options) that's a positive for the mental health system.

AlexanderA ... yes to your post.

A person shall be disqualified from owning/possessing firearms in the case of: Involuntary, court-ordered committment where the patient is represented by legal counsel, with some sort of mechanism whereby the patient can have his rights restored when it has been determined he is no longer a danger to himself or others.

I also agree. I want folks to get help, but I don't want them to be put in a box that will forever deprive them of their rights (not just to own firearms) ... just because they had some form of contact with the Mental Health System and it's my fear that is what some folks out there think is acceptable.

That was one reason for raising the question about whether or not certain drugs which are perscribed should be factored into the equation as well as touching on the fact that there are many forms of mental illness, many of which, while debilitating to the individual, are not prone to render him dangerous.

I agree that it's terribly hard to make mental health screening workable, that's why I started this thread. I don't really like that phrase ... the "screening" part. It makes it sound as though every gun buyer will undergo some sort of exam when all that would be involved is being cleared through a data base, not at all different from our present NICS check. I see it as another area of NICS information. (Crudely: you're not a criminal and you're not nuts). But, that's why I'm looking for equivalence between the legal system process and the mental health process. In order to be EFFECTIVE, both data bases have to be as complete as possible. To be FAIR, both data base have to be accurate as possible.

Making precisely that point for me, I've even heard some talk of using the Terrorist Watch List (afterall, if you're a terrorist, you certainly shouldn't be able to buy a gun). The problem is, apparently the TWL is neither complete nor accurate. That is what I want to avoid in a POTENTIAL mental health data base.

January 14, 2013, 09:03 AM
"that's why I'm looking for equivalence between the legal system process and the mental health process."

Here's the problem. A conviction in the legal system is a fact. A diagnosis in the mental health system is an opinion and one that changes frequently for many people as they see different mental health providers. There's no test for mental illness much beyond determining if the person is aware of their name, location, date and the name of the president.

Here is an article I googled up at random. It recounts a few patients' stories and their trail of diagnoses. (These are very common situations; I've read the reports for decades, working with one client at a time. JT)

"Diagnosis Roulette
Psychiatric patients can be labeled with numerous conditions during their treatment"

January 14, 2013, 11:17 AM
Does anyone know what mental health questions are on form 4473 that you need to fill out when purchasing firearms from an FFL ? I don't recall if this is asked.
(I ran into some glitch with my computer when trying to download a pdf of the form. I might have a softward problem.)


January 14, 2013, 12:10 PM
11 F

January 14, 2013, 12:21 PM
Thanks JohnBT

January 14, 2013, 07:47 PM
I would fully support the creation of a Federal clearinghouse for states to report those adjudicated mentally deficient or involuntarily institutionalized. This is the law anyways. Enforce the laws we have. Don't ignore them in the hopes you can get more like you did in "fast and furious". That is the MO of the left. Create the problem, then become everyone's savior by pretending to fix it.

Romeo 33 Delta
January 14, 2013, 10:17 PM
jon in wv ... thanks for the post ... it's just the direction I was heading in ... confirmation is most helpful.

It's come to me that only two types of people commit crimes of "gun violence":

1. Those who are Mentally Damaged (Lochner and Lanza come to mind).
2. Those who are Morally Damaged (Neal, gangbanger who stabbed a deaf
guy who was signing, thought he was flashing gang symbols at him)

We can handle the later with our present NICS system and, hopefully, the former with a new, enhanced NICS system (with a mental health data base component).

Just looking at the Form 4473 it's clear what the disqualifiers for criminal and mental health issues are. There's apparently no need to cast a wider net, no need to plumb further the depths of mental health (at some point you cross over from "fact" to "opinion" ... a dangerous and unacceptable line to cross). What needs to be done is:

1. When you lie on Form 4473, Section 11a, (strawman purchase) you
commit a felony and while difficult to prove and prosecute, ignoring
it is NOT acceptable.

2. When you lie on Sections 11b thru 11l, it's also a felony and if you,
as a disqualified person, attempt to buy a firearm, you need to be
prosecuted in accordance with existing law.

The problem is that there is no national data base for those disqualified from reasons of mental health, the questions on #4473 notwithstanding. This needs to change.

1. Establish a data base along the lines of NICS. States will be required
to report at least as often as with the current NICS system and this
should include not only additions, but deletions (if applicable).

2. Once the information is distilled, it passes into the regular NICS
so when a prospective gun buyer is run through the system, it tells
the dealer that he's cleared both criminally and mentally.

3. The sensitive, medical information collected is to be retained only long
enough to create a rating of "Go" or "No-Go" for the subject. Such
information must be handled with extreme care and the rating
needs to be as early in the process as practical.

I appreciate that this new system is not perfect. (I don't believe that Lanza would have necessarily been weeded out before he acted), but that doesn't mean it is without merit. Frankly, I think it's beyond comprehension that we have disqualifying questions on form 4473 and yet, have no real way to verify the answers. Unacceptable! Failures to follow through with prosecutions because of some misguided "cost/benefit" analysis or "little fish/big fish" must stop immediately. BATFE and DOJ ... JUST DO YOU JOBS!

Can anyone see where I've missed anything? Any problems with the proposals? Anything seem unworkable? Anything seem to be missing the point of preventing the wrong folks from legally acquiring firearms?

January 14, 2013, 10:28 PM
REgarding question E on the 4473, I mentioned to lots of FFL holders that if the person has a Medical Marijuana card it would seem, under Federal law, to make them in a prohibited category ap priori . They grinned and said "not so far" :confused:

January 15, 2013, 07:57 PM
There is no "sensitive medical information" that would need to be passed on to the system to be retained or deleted. Adjudication of a mental defect or involuntary institutionalism is an act of the court just like a felony conviction. The only thing that would need to be reported is the existence of the court order. Just like NICS the reporting agency is responsible and liable for the accuracy of the report. There is NO need to report any of your medical history at all.

January 15, 2013, 09:56 PM
"1. Establish a data base along the lines of NICS."

Why reinvent the wheel and add a 2nd separate database?

Do you really think telling federal agencies to do their jobs when Congress won't give them the money is going to accomplish anything? It's all been said before, year after year.


January 16, 2013, 10:10 AM
I think we are saying it should be part of the NICS check. Obviously they would have to fund it. That is what we are saying the problem is. They passed the law but aren't funding or supporting it so it can't work.

January 16, 2013, 12:55 PM
It is already part of the NICS check, if the states would send in all of the required info. Some do, some don't. How many years has it been that they've been working on getting all of the info together?

At least since "In January 2008, Congress signed the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (NIAA), "

Look at the last section: NICS Index on the Rise

"One of the biggest hurdles to states submitting records to the NICS Index is state laws that prohibit sharing mental health information. However, states are required to make this information available if they wish to obtain grant funding through the NICS Act Record Improvement Program (NARIP). "

Romeo 33 Delta
January 16, 2013, 02:02 PM
JohnBT ... thanks for the great linklink. This is precisely the kind of information I was hoping would surface in the course of our discussions. My complaint would now be that states can in effect "opt-out" by not accepting the funding. That needs to change. The funding must be automatically available and every state shall comply with the requirement to provide the information.

As for Congress not adequately funding BATFE and DOJ, I can't speak to that specifically, but given the way they throw money around, I should think funds are available. If not, then it needs to be made available. I'm mostly concerned that the agencies are not properly allocating their resources or not working with sufficient dedication (the top echelons, not the boots on the ground). I say again ... just do your jobs.

Jon in wv ... thanks to you too. I should have not thought in terms of sensitive medical information, but considered it the way you phrased it, its a matter of record with the court. Of course, no need to know "why" you are disqualified ... just that you "are".

I believe we're really on the same page here. We just need to be using the same hymnal. I can't thank you enough. This discussion we've been having has been very interesting and most enlightening ... hope there can be more input. THANKS!

January 16, 2013, 02:26 PM
I am a psychologist. As I've said many times in conversations on this topic, the key questions (and likewise the key problems) are:

1. What is considered a mental health condition that would prevent someone from owning a gun?

2. Who gets to determine the criteria for a mental health condition that would prevent someone from owning a gun?

3. Who makes the diagnosis?

4. How do we enforce such restrictions?

I can tell you there is an alarming variation in quality of psychological professionals out there. Not to mention many of them are liberals and they do not like guns. There are people with PhD's, masters-level counseling degrees, and PsyD's out there who were at the top of their class and are great at what they do. But there are many more that were average grad students or were simply terrible and scraped by at the bare minimum. I even know one or two in my own community who got their PhD's at diploma mills in California that don't even require an entrance exam.

Would you want that sort of person being the one who decided whether you get to own a gun, for the rest of your life?

Romeo 33 Delta
January 16, 2013, 07:43 PM
Thanks Dr.B ... more of what I was looking for. Unlike an action like adjudication or involuntary committment which are facts, what you've brought up is in that "opinion" arena, an area I am troubled with. That and speculating about the side effects of various drugs (not that I'm saying there aren't problems associated with them, it's just difficult to sort out fact from opinion) are areas where I have grave concerns.

That's why I had difficulty with the EO dealing with requiring mental health providers to be required to report certain patients under penalty of prosecution and making them civilly liable if they don't. Wouldn't this lead these very providers to over-reach to cover themselves? Or make those voluntarily seeking help to elect not to do so? It almost seems to be an avenue toward gross abuses and counter-productive behavior.

I can see some benefits of the having to report side of this, but also the possibility/probability that a number of people will be deprived of exercising an individual, fundamental right for no other reason than someone's opinion ... good, bad or indifferentand. I don't feel that is an acceptable trade-off of rights. What recourse does the individual have, if any?

Hey, if we can't have a voter photo ID bill on the grounds that it MIGHT disenfranchise a small number of voters (exactly how, I can't see), why should this disenfranchisement be any less repugnant?

January 21, 2013, 01:35 AM
A person shall be disqualified from owning/possessing firearms in the case of: Involuntary, court-ordered committment where the patient is represented by legal counsel, with some sort of mechanism whereby the patient can have his rights restored when it has been determined he is no longer a danger to himself or others.

I disagree with the premise a person should have to "prove" their civil rights should be restored. The burden of proof should be on the government to prove the necessity of oppressing your rights not on you to prove you should have them restored. I think anyone whose rights have been oppressed should be subject to periodic review where the government either proves the necessity to extend it or it is automatically restored.

I'm really disappointed by Obamas effort to get he medical community involved in this issue. It is a matter of court adjudication not medical opinion that determines if a person is going to be prohibited. How many doctors think you are crazy just for owning a firearm? Some think you are a danger just for having it. Give them the ability to make a phone call to take them away and that system will overflow with abuse.

January 21, 2013, 02:29 AM
I take PROZAC everyday and have been since June of 1994. I take a very high dose of 80mg a day. I have been diagnosed with chronic depression and moderate to severe obsessive compulsive disorder. I see a psychiatrist every 3 months.

How dangerous am I to society? You tell me.

I bet some of you reading this right now would be scared to death to let me have a gun.

I have no criminal felony convictions, none.

I have never been arrested or taken to jail.

Got caught speeding doing 58mph in a 40mph zone one time. Cost me lots of money. Learned my lesson.

Do I own any guns? No

Do I expect to ever be allowed to own a gun? Not now I don't!

Why am I here on this board? Because I believe in the 2nd Amendment; the Bill Of Rights; and the United States Constitution.

January 21, 2013, 02:31 AM
For what it's worth, I don't believe you're a threat.

Shadow 7D
January 21, 2013, 02:57 AM
in order to remove a civil liberty, you need due process with access to remedies

Do you REALLY want a rabid anitgunner, to be the guy on the otherside of the table, when your SOON to be Ex-wife has you committed in order to extract a 'history' of your violence, right before she hits you with with EPO's (emergency protective orders)

you are now in a locked psych ward, because your wife has lied, with her poisoning the pool... and OH yeah, btw, the cops took all your guns and now you are banned for life...

lets Fix the system, giving an inch, is not an option, rather point at the system and try to fix it, not add more ways to be screwed.

January 21, 2013, 10:36 AM
Layers, and layers, and layers ... of control.

Thats what I see in some of these proposals (always worded vaguely - its the thousands of pages of regulations that come afterward that we should be concerned about).

There are all sorts of ways the 'mental health system' can be abused as a way to take peoples rights. Just do a little historical research on that. (And wonder of wonders - theyve got their government Obamacare enacted.)

One area where I haven't seen any proposals from the antis is on investigating how much psychotropic drugs are prescribed in this country, under what justifications (especially with young children), and the impact of that - - - especially regarding such drugs that have been linked to possible increases in suicidal and violent behavior.

Big Pharma has deep pockets. They spend a lot on advertising. They donate a lot to politicians. And there are a lot of people taking these medications, prescribing them, and making a living off them. So only the alternate media will go into this in any depth.

January 21, 2013, 04:24 PM
Dr. B has it pretty well summed up. I worked as counselor in the private sector and in the prison system. Lots of reckless individuals diagnosing this and that because they can. Most are all to happy to treat symptoms with meds. The risks of misdiagnosing children is very real and especially troublesome not to mention the lifelong label they just stuck on them. When you're the hammer, everything looks like a nail.

January 21, 2013, 04:40 PM
Do you REALLY want a rabid anitgunner, to be the guy on the otherside of the table, when your SOON to be Ex-wife has you committed in order to extract a 'history' of your violence, right before she hits you with with EPO's (emergency protective orders)

Laugh all you want, had this happen to me. Had one gun in the house, wasn't even mine, bought it for her, taught her to use it. Until court I hadn't even thought about the gun. Boy, was I niave.

Sat through the hearing, wanting to say, come on, if I wanted her dead, she would already be there.

To the anti-americans, having a gun, is proof you want to shoot someone.

January 23, 2013, 01:17 PM
I worry a lot about all the soldiers I know who are dealing with issues like PTSD, or even just anxiety and depression. I've had soldiers tell me that they won't get counseling because they're afraid of losing their gun rights. BTW, PTSD, anxiety, and depression are a MUCH bigger problem in the military than most people realize, and very little is being done other than labeling these soldiers and medicating the daylights out of them, while the chain of command pursues separation. Its a shame, and the only folks in uniform who have the power to address this, are too busy climbing the ladder to a position where they can let their un-treated narcissism run rampant.

April 5, 2013, 11:19 AM
Adam Lanza, James Holmes, Jared Loughner, Nidal Hasan and Seung-Hui Cho had, by many accounts, given plenty of warning. Unfortunately, political correctness and laws that were supposed to protect the mentally ill prevented effective action to prevent the massacres.

Apparently in the case of Mr. Holmes, - contrary to previous claims - advance notice DID include a legally required report filed by his psychiatrist with the campus police.

That report was filed on June 12 fully 5 weeks prior to the July 20 shooting. There was no mention of why the police did not - or weren't able to - act on that formal report. But if that report was not enough for the police to initiate some sort of contact with Holmes, then why is there a requirement for the report to be filed?

From the link below:
In one of the search warrant documents, Holmes' psychiatrist Dr. Lynne Fenton described Holmes as having "homicidal thoughts and also stated that Jame E. Holmes had threatened and harassed her via email/text messages."

On June 12, 2012, Holmes' CU Denver medical campus ID was deactivated due to that complaint.

In the days after the attack, campus police said they had never had contact with Holmes, who was a graduate student at the university.

But campus police Officer Lynn Whitten told investigators after the shooting that Fenton had contacted her. Whitten said Fenton was following her legal requirement to report threats to authorities, according to a search warrant affidavit.

April 5, 2013, 10:28 PM
Surprise, surprise. He was threatening, stalking and law enforcement did not act on people asking for help.

Quick, rush to pass more laws that they won't enforce, so that we will need to ban more guns. So they won't enforce those laws and have to take away more of our rights.

April 6, 2013, 07:07 AM
Mental health screening is a slippery slope as we all are aware. Quite often we say we are going to kill someone. Yet when the chips fall an amicable resolution is reached. There are millions of people who are mentally ill that have carried a weapon all their life. Yet they have never drawn a weapon of any kind on another human being.

Lets define mentally ill. Does depression, anxiety or paranoia constitute mentally ill? If so anyone who has applied for social security or veterans disability would be considered mentally ill. In both cases if you are not anxious or a little paranoid you are certainly mentally ill. Virtually all social security applications are rejected the first time and dealing with the VA is a PITA. If you are a veteran you know many people who are obviously disabled that have been rejected for disability or only received partial disability. Everyone gets depressed, bad things happen in life and quite often a family doctor will prescribe a sleep aid or antidepressant. Does a rough patch in life make one mentally ill?

The current standard of one being involuntarily committed or cannot handle their own financial affairs is a high enough standard.

April 6, 2013, 08:41 AM
In one of the search warrant documents, Holmes' psychiatrist Dr. Lynne Fenton described Holmes as having "homicidal thoughts and also stated that Jame E. Holmes had threatened and harassed her via email/text messages." To my knowledge, correct me if I'm wrong, this would have constituted a 72 hour hold. If you are at the hospital and confess to a doctor a desire to harm yourself or others, they under law are required under law to put you on this hold for evaluation. I do not know why it would be any different confessing to a psychiatrist. Lack of process or communication?

I have circled this issue in my head multiple times and it always comes back to this. I would not trust any politician to hold the ability of stripping rights from the unconvicted, rather we share political affiliation or not. Some things you hold so dear that you just have to say," Sorry, but no, you can't have that." The ability to redefine mental ability, and what constitutes a danger, is not something I'm willing to give a politician or governing body. We have current standards of determining a dangerous mental state, and it needs to be enforced long before we start to endorse broadening it.
In all, when you separate the emotion from this and look at it, from an all things considered angle, there is simply not sufficient need to justify giving this sort of authority to a governing body. Power is like energy. It can not be created or destroyed, only converted from one form to another. If power is granted to a governing body, it is equally taken from the governed.
The only effective means I can justify to prevent these horrible acts is to meet that force with equal force when it arrives.

April 6, 2013, 08:47 AM
"Virtually all social security applications are rejected the first time"

Completely false. About 26% to 37% (by state) are approved at the initial level and additional claims are approved at the reconsideration level (that's the relatively quick first appeal step where they have a different determiner look at the file.)

There are a variety of sites from Soc.Sec. to privately owned that publish extensive stats on the entire process from the initial application to the hearing level.

The final award rate, initial claim through hearing level, nationwide runs about 45%.

A doctor's diagnosis isn't enough; there must be supporting evidence that meets the Soc.Sec. 'listings'. The biggest problem from I've seen over the decades is that claimants trust their doctors to send the needed info. The doctors typically pay a clerk to copy files and office notes. If, for example, you have 6 doctors and only 3 send info, you just might get denied because needed info is missing. It's better to get the copies. and take it to Soc.Sec. yourself.

April 6, 2013, 08:53 AM
How we screen the mentally ill, and whether we come up with a better system of standards, is moot. If John or Sally is adjudicated dangerously mentally incompetent and still walks the streets, he or she can still get a gun if he or she really wants one.

Why can't we admit that he key to keeping such people from killing others is keeping such people off the streets?

Resist Evil
April 6, 2013, 10:19 AM
A dangerous mental problem would be one where a person believes that redistribution of wealth, nonchalantly killing babies in or out of the womb because babies are too, too inconvenient, exerting as much control as possible over others' lives because of what they might do [to name only a few elements of the problem] is morally correct, virtuous, or remotely Constitutional.

People with this problem should be removed from society so the rest of us can live freely.

I do not want government at any level being allowed or encouraged to further enchain an American's Liberty based on the fantasy of mental health. Any definition of what constitutes "mental health" is as volatile as authority's use of it to further whatever agenda is afire at the moment in its groin. I seem to recall a more experienced marxist country away out on the east side of Europe restraining people's liberty on the basis of the well-known mental health issue named Dissent. As we all know, dissent can be such a crippling disease.

Mental screening as a gateway to exercise a natural right is just insane.

April 6, 2013, 01:40 PM
Any comrades not supporting the party are mentally ill and unift to own firearms. :evil:

See how it works?

Sorry, that was the old USSR.

April 7, 2013, 12:42 AM
Wow, looks like this very issue may have blown up in NY over the past few days in the wake of the state's recently passed SAFE Act.

The meat of the discussion is in the OP and then pages 1, 3, and 4 by "MaximillianTresmond", an attorney in NY.

April 7, 2013, 02:19 AM
Wow, looks like this very issue may have blown up in NY over the past few days in the wake of the state's recently passed SAFE Act.

Oh boy. "The struggle is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north may bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms!"

April 7, 2013, 04:26 PM
Doesn't functional health care system come first?

April 8, 2013, 07:50 AM
the sad truth is in this regard republicans in new york and connecticut have been just as complicit as the democrats.

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