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Should gun owners now be advised NOT to seek mental health help?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by backbencher, Dec 17, 2012.

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  1. backbencher

    backbencher Member

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    In the current legislative climate in which it is likely that more mental health checks will be placed on the exercise of our rights, are we now in a situation in which gun owners should be advised to not seek mental health counseling, lest they inadvertently lose their 2nd Amendment rights under future legislation?

    I realize a positive answer could be quite damaging to many fellow gun owners' present & future mental health, but given the current hue & cry in Congress, it would seem prudent to consider the question.

    Farmers Fight!

    backbencher
     
  2. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    this is a tough one.

    Which is honestly more important? Mental health treatment, which can benefit yourself, your family, your community? Or your guns, which can also benefit yourself, your family and your community, but only if your potential mental illness doesn't change your thought process?

    I'm all for gun ownership and the RKBA, but if someone is mentally ill, they should get checked. Hopefully, that won't result in losing your rights, but since each case is individually situational, a blanket statement can't and shouldn't be made in this regard.

    If someone needs the help, it would be highly irresponsible to advise them against it on the possibility that they might lose their gun rights.

    I know that if it comes a day that I am mentally unstable and have the capacity for violence, I wouldn't want my guns around. Or at least, not where I could access them.
     
  3. HDCamel

    HDCamel Member

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    You should seek help if you need it, but it wouldn't necessarily need to be a blacklist.
    As long as no one deems you mentally unstable or incompetent, it shouldn't matter. If anything, seeking help might be a requirement to regain 2nd amendment rights if one was deemed unstable or incompetent.

    It would be rather hypocritical to call for mental healthcare reform and then encourage people not to use it for fear of losing their rights. The whole point of the discussion as its happening now is to try to catch potentially dangerous individuals before they can do things like the CT shooting.
     
  4. Wes B

    Wes B Member

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    I don't think the RKBA will, or should, be revoked for any and all issues.

    I think people should get help and hopefully, in cases of serious issues, people receive the help they need before a tragedy occurs.
     
  5. Onward Allusion

    Onward Allusion Member

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    Mental illness has a many levels. Someone could suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder in the winter months and be on Wellbutrin. Is that person mentally ill? How about the person who suffers from schizophrenia but is on Haldol? Should that person be banned from owning firearms? How about when they are taking their meds?

    Tough questions. It goes back to the question of WHO will decide...
     
  6. 9mmforMe

    9mmforMe Member

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    Wow, this is a very slippery slope, and I have been working in mental health for 20 years.

    I'll say this. When a person is functional on medications, not emotionally labile, involved in therapy and their cognitive functions are intact, owning firearms seems reasonable. If off the meds...there can be big trouble.

    Any new legislation will include some or all of this criteria as well as putting time frames on how long it has been since the activating experience...onset. We really do need to be careful, many people only need mental health services once or twice in their life and some need it for a chronic illness, so for their entire life.

    I hope our reps take this seriously and consider we need to protect our community as well as our 2nd amendment rights.

    p.s. If you are struggling with a mental illness, I would advise seeing a doctor and therapist, the price you pay might not be gun rights, but your sanity and that of your family...or worse.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012
  7. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    For a while there recently, commercial pilots couldn't fly if on certain medications. That has since been rescinded.
     
  8. Trent

    Trent Member

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    Ugh. This one makes me uneasy just thinking about it.

    I, for one, opted to not get help because of this very issue after my uncle shot himself accidentally, with a firearm I had sold him. I was depressed for a long time after this - quite naturally, given the circumstances - and came out of it on my own. I did NOT get professional help because I was afraid of a black mark on my mental health records.

    Likewise I suffer from a great deal of stress at work, but I'm careful what I talk about to a doctor. I'll complain of stomach pain, gastritis, and so on, and get treated for that. But I don't want to get a mental health diagnosis for stress or anxiety (nor do I want treatment for that; I need a clear head to work). Stress is a natural part of my job, and as long as I do my part in properly relaxing in the evenings / weekends, it's controllable. (Guitar playing, hiking, fishing, things like that help clear my head and reset.)

    Anyway .. yeah this is a very interesting question.
     
  9. backbencher

    backbencher Member

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    9mm, it IS a slippery slope, and I hope you speak to important folks in your community - quickly - about the dangers of becoming policemen. You might talk to your fellows in the Army about their reputation, as they discharge troops with "adjustment disorder." How many troops do you think trust Army psychologists? Seen the Army suicide rate lately?

    The current RKBA police as far as mental health is concerned are judges. If a judge judges one mentally incompetent, RKBA is stripped. IF psychologists are made the RKBA police, what gun owners do you think will come see you? The VA counselors already ask if you have guns in the home - not a myth, I experienced this this year. If legislation passes Congress that has wide mental health disqualifiers for RKBA - you may effectively become the 2nd Amendment gatekeeper. And what do you think gun owners will tell their children? Their friends? Their wives? "No, I won't go to marital counseling, the shrink might decide I have too many guns & I have to hire a lawyer to go to a RKBA tribunal." "No, son, just tough it out. If you say the wrong thing to the shrink, you'll never be able to buy a gun. Once you're on the list, it'll cost you $10,000 to hire a lawyer to buy a $200 shotgun."

    The ACTUAL legal protections might be much broader, but if your community lets the myth get started that talking to a shrink causes you to lose your guns, the upcoming legislation may make gun owners, as a community, less mentally healthy instead of more.
     
  10. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    I suspect that you will see fewer people claiming "depression" than previously if they are gun owners.
     
  11. WALKERs210

    WALKERs210 Member

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    I expect the anti's and federal gov to use things like this to hamper or even deny the right to even have a rubber band gun much less anything else. Psychologist can and will twist what is said every which way that you could imagine.
     
  12. Rocketmedic

    Rocketmedic Member

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    Mental health is important, moreso than your gun rights.

    To put in a similar analogy, would you go to a hospital if you're having a heart attack, even if it would mean the loss of your career?

    What about the trucker who finds himself to be a diabetic in need of insulin? Treatment will save his life, but it may revoke his CDL.

    Postponing or avoiding medical treatment is never a good idea.
     
  13. The Red Hot Rider

    The Red Hot Rider Member

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    Well....yes and no. I am a doctoral psychologist and take some exception to your generalization. I am an avid supporter of rtkba. This is a conundrum to be sure. I could find some reason to diagnose anyone, and i do mean anyone, with some type of mental health disorder. There is a world of difference between run of the mill depression or anxiety and a psychotic disorder or antisocial personality disorder.
     
  14. backbencher

    backbencher Member

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    "Psychologist can and will twist what is said every which way that you could imagine."

    "I could find some reason to diagnose anyone, and i do mean anyone, with some type of mental health disorder."

    Dr Red Hot, I think you've just proved Walkers' point, and @ the same time made your entire profession look like a gaggle of witch doctors. If everyone has a mental health disorder, then surely they're not disorders & you're robbing your patients blind @ $100/hr & should be in prison for a flim-flam job.

    Trent, here, suffered depression to the point that he realized he should seek professional help, and chose not to do so under EXISTING legislation. What do you say to him, Doc? If you have folks actively avoiding you now, how do you think you'll fare under tighter mental regulations for RKBA?
     
  15. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    Except that a blacklist is what everyone seems to be (and always has been) suggesting. It's a trust issue; we don't allow felons to own guns again (without very onerous litigation) why would the same not be true for those with emotional/mental disorders? And logically, would not the ramifications of such a diagnosis play into a persons decision to seek help?

    Take all the guns from the crazies and there will be no crazies with guns--but suicides and murders will continue unabated (or even increase)

    TCB
     
  16. Jon Coppenbarger

    Jon Coppenbarger Member

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    My doctor is a shooter and belongs to the same club as I do. It is a main reason he has been my doctor for 15 years.
     
  17. DNS

    DNS Member

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    I have mentally ill son in his twenties who does get violent.

    The problem is the mental health community doesn't want to do much with people like him UNTIL something happens. IMHO the system for handling mentally ill folks is broken and a pro-active approach is needed. The potential for violence should set off alarms but I've seen differently.

    Luckily we found a good doc and he's always tweaking meds. No cures but meds somewhat help. Instead of blaming guns I'd start fixing the above.

    Btw any responsible gun owner should have a safe and use it especially around anyone with mental issues like this latest shooter.
     
  18. 9mmforMe

    9mmforMe Member

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    I think Red Hot may wish to explain his position more clearly?

    You could also walk into an M.D.s office and walk out with any diagnosis, a hangnail and some dandruff...wouldn't warrant a trip to the hospital.

    Just as a diagnosis of dysthymia (chronic mild depression) wouldnt warrant medication (it doesnt do much in these cases anyway) and shouldnt give pause regarding taking away someones right to keep and bear arms.

    Balance and checks are the key, not just one psych professional determining one being fit to own firearms, but many as well as other health and legal professionals.

    Really though, the lesson we can take away from this is that determining psychological problems in the young is vital, before they can get older and own guns.
     
  19. Ragnar Danneskjold

    Ragnar Danneskjold Member

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    First of all, legislation is not going to provide a solution. Can anyone provide an example of a time when a government body seized control an an aspect of private life and actually made life better by doing it? "The good of the people" is the reason for EVERYTHING a government does, at least they say it is. But when is it ever really true? When has banning this or that, telling people what they can at can't do, where they can and can't go, what they can and can't buy, ever really ended up helping like they promised? Ever? But what it does accomplish is that it gives them control over another aspect of your life. With mental illness and RKBA, it gives them a list of people they can deny guns to with little to no recourse. Just like saying "felons" can't own guns. Sounds nice at first when you're thinking of a "felon" as a rapist or armed robber. But once you realize a few decades later "Felon" can include illegally downloading software or some other similiar totally non-violent and sometimes made-up crime, you see how dangerous it is.

    You give the government the ability to create a "no guns/voting rights" box..and then give them the ability to decide at any time who falls into that box. Felons can't own guns. Want to restrict guns or who can vote? Make more things felonies. And now we're talking about making another "no gun rights" box that the government can toss people into. It sure sounds good now when we're thinking that only violent psychopaths will be the ones included. But we're talking about giving the same people in charge of enforcement the authority to redefine who fits anytime they want. That's very very dangerous.

    A fitting quote from a great book "There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them...you create a nation of lawbreakers – and then you cash in on guilt."


    Furthermore, this whole thing touches me in a personal way. I struggled with what could be be described as depression while I was in and shorty after I returned from Afghanistan the first time. A combination of an engagement ending and some things that happened while I deployed caused me to have some very dark feelings for a pretty long time. I know the Army is always harping on talking to your chain of command, seeking help, tell someone if you're having problems. Much like we're talking about recommending people seeking help now. But the Army, no matter what they tell you, places the Army first on its own priority list, not you. I saw other people who talked to their chain of command about emotional issues get ostracized, have their weapons taken away in front over everyone, pulled off missions and stuck helping in the DFAC, forced to attend counseling. When we got back at our de-mob site, they were stuck there for additional time, being evaluated by counselors, asked more questions, put on restrictions. Some got recommended that they be medically discharged. The bottom line is, if the Army feels you have a problem, they see you as the problem. Helping you is not the goal. Isolating you and minimizing your impact is their goal. And if they ruin your life and relationships in the process, so be it.

    Now in a lot of ways that makes sense. We want a functioning Army as a whole. We want to make sure the Army as a whole is full of functioning soldiers. But for the individual soldier, there's a LOT of negative things that can happen to them and affect the rest of their lives, just for seeking help. Chances at careers can be lost. Friends can desert you. People's opinions of you change. You may get kicked out of the Army. You may even lose some of your rights, like the right to bear arms. This all hits close to home for me because I will never know what might have happened if I actually did what the Army said was the "best" option. Instead, I spent a lot of time talking to a close buddy. I took up a few new hobbies. I worked out a lot. I did a lot of reading and listening to music. And I feel MUCH better and have been for the past year. I didn't need the Army's "help". And something that really made me think, was that in one of my board interviews for my current law enforcement job, I was directly asked "have you ever sought counseling or medical help for mental health related issues?"
    Now I wasn't forced between telling the truth and ruining my own chances of getting hired, or lying and making myself not worthy of the job in the first place. By dealing with things on my own, I avoided something that could have doomed my entire career prospect. And that would have been especially harsh since focusing on achieving my law enforcement career goals was one of the few solid things I felt I had left in my life to look forward to.

    Think about what you're asking people to do. Essentially put themselves on a list of possible "troubled" individuals forever. They won't know what rights, opportunities, or future chances they might lose for good. Even in the best of cases, yeah you might get the mental help you need now, but your name will be on some paperwork forever. Who knows who and when someone will see that. Maybe tomorrow, maybe 10 years from now. And now that guy who got help 10 years ago is today being told he can't buy guns, or "sorry, we can't risk employing someone with that in their history". That's a HUGE chance to take, even if you really think the government really has good intentions about this.
     
  20. RX-178

    RX-178 Member

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    Except in this case, the shooter didn't actually own any guns. The person who OWNED the guns, didn't have these kinds of psychological problems that we're talking about.
     
  21. backbencher

    backbencher Member

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    One of the great ironies of the Army's suicide rate is we screen out folks @ MEPS who have taken medications for mental health - ie, people who had a problem, recognized it, sought help, got it - and now we won't let them in. We do let in people who had a problem and DIDN'T seek help - and then are surprised when our suicide rate approaches the civilian population (adjusted for demographics - unadjusted, it's far higher than the outside pop).

    Ragnar, what you experienced is one of the great problems w/ mental health in this country - we're told it's private & confidential - except when years later we apply for a job, & find out that it's not confidential @ all. Would one of our resident shrinks care to address that issue?

    I've encouraged my soldiers to get counseling - through Army One Source or the VA, though for us part-timers, it's easier - the chain of command is not going to know 99% of what we do outside drill weekend. For active duty folks, or downrange, mental health is not so easy.

    What I'm getting @ in this thread is for Drs Red Hot & 9mm to make some calls to their industry organizations - and point out that the shrinks need to put their foot down & not let Congress make them RKBA policemen - or we'll end up w/ a less mentally healthy gunning community than we had. And, this is an opportunity for those two, & any others here, to reach out to our posters who have had mental challenges & show them the safeguards of confidentiality and that under the current legislative regime, seeking mental help is a worthwhile option.

    But I am also wondering, if there will come a day when as a defender of the Constitution, my duty as an officer will include warning my troops AWAY from the shrinks, on the grounds their rights will be inevitably compromised.
     
  22. 9mmforMe

    9mmforMe Member

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    I agree, and parents being tuned into their kids and not allowing them easy access to their guns would be another component of a potential solution.
     
  23. backbencher

    backbencher Member

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    00Spy, Why should every gun owner have a safe? I live in a RV, & keep a loaded shotgun above the dash, & the AR & Beretta in back. What do I want a safe for?
     
  24. 9mmforMe

    9mmforMe Member

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    We need everyone to reach out, not just the MH pros. MH effects us all in some direct or circuitous manner.
     
  25. WALKERs210

    WALKERs210 Member

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    The Red Hot Rider I had first hand experience with a "Doctor/Physiologist" in 75. Went to air up tires on my bike so I could ride it to work and save money and keep the body condition up. While gone I stopped at a friends house and had a couple beers. Went home and my wife had totally destroyed the house, glass items, pictures and so on. Then she informed me she was taking our kids and leaving me. After I took her home, gave her our only means of transportation (other than the bike) and went back to base trying to get a grip on my life. Wife had accused me of going out with the sister of my friends wife, I had not . After a few weeks I did see the girl, my CO thought I had thrown my wife and kids out for that girl, I did not. I went thru mental hell for several weeks, attempted to talk with the Chaplin, but he did not have time to see me. Applied for two weeks leave (I had over 60 days on books) which was turned down. Few more weeks went by and my career went down hill and in the trash. I finally was able to go talk with a Physiologist, more just to be able to talk and not look for answers or anyone to tell me what to do. What happened is something that I still don't understand, the Dr.'s report wound up costing me what was left of my career in the Navy after he misrepresented my words. Went from pay grade E-6 to E-3 in less than 3 weeks and received a General Discharge under Honorable Conditions. (Already had two Honorable Discharges from years gone by). So you can see why a Dr can screw over anyone if they so desire, and just to save my reputation somewhat I did receive at home a phone call from a retired Coast Guard Captain stating that if I wanted to be reinstated and full rank returned just let him know, his words were "I GOT SCREWED". Two weeks late I also received a call from the Chief of Naval Personnel in DC wanting to find out why an E6 with quarterly marks of 3.8 - 4.0 for a period of 8 yrs go down hill so fast. It was at that time I found out the best thing I ever got out of the U.S. NAVY was ME. Again I will reiterate Dr's can and do crucify and don't really care who they hurt
     
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