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NICS and the Mentally Defective

Dr. Helen notes some issues actually getting the info about such adjudication into the NICS. States, it seems, often don’t report mental health records and professionals in the field don’t like to divulge info due to privacy considerations.

And the mentally defective tend to lie on form 4473.

So, should mental health records be reported? What say you, gun nuts and privacy sorts?

Sebastian thinks so.

21 Responses to “NICS and the Mentally Defective”

  1. Sebastian Says:

    I think mental health records in general ought to be private. The only thing NICS needs to know is that the person was involuntarily committed. There should be recourse for getting rights restored if the person’s sanity returns, and mental health people verify they are no longer a threat to others.

  2. anonymous Says:

    Oh joy! Another system to empower more folks to judge us “mentally unfit” and non-judicially remove our Second Amendment rights. We’re getting more Soviet by the day. They did wonders in filling the Gulags with “mental defectives”.

    NICS is unconstitutional and should be abolished. Instead we are cheering for increasing its intrusiveness and scope.

    Weep for the Republic.

  3. Fodder Says:

    No. In Caifornia, if you are “evaluated” at a mental health facility, against your will, say by court order, your gun rights are gone for two years. Other states the term is longer or shorter, of course.

    La La police have a policy of sending arrested gun owners to a psych exam, thereby de-gunning them for two years.

  4. mike hollihan Says:

    This leads me to ask a question. I have a friend who was an alcoholic, a bad one. But he got treatment twenty years ago and hasn’t touched a drop since. He’s now a stand-up, tax-paying, law-abiding, non-violent citizen.

    So if he were to apply for any kind of permit to own a gun, does he disclose his twenty-years old alcoholism? Or is that the intent of the question? If he answers “no” to having a drinking or drug problem and it later comes out he was in treatment, has he violated the law?

    It’s all hypothetical, but I’m curious how the law works here.

  5. SayUncle Says:

    but Iím curious how the law works here.

    It doesn’t. that’s kinda the point.

    google up ATF form 4473 to see the questions it asks.

  6. mike hollihan Says:

    Ah, question 11-e would be the one, but it’s pretty clear as relates to my hypothetical example. I guess I was confusing it with the old ATF Low Explosives User Permit application (used in hobby rocketry).

  7. gattsuru Says:

    Depends on the case. Someone that’s recently shown signs of violent schizophrenia, that might not be the sort of person we want with a 1911 or CCW, just from a political viewpoint. On the other hand, I don’t think we should be preventing someone with Asperger’s, or who suffered from alcoholism or smoking addiction. Nor do I want a person to be involuntarily committed or examined falsely to be disarmed.

    I think the best solution, in the long-term, would be to have those who are shown to be a significant hazard to themselves or others, or who are committed to a mental institution, be given a value into the NICS that doesn’t say what happened, just that for the next six months that individual can’t purchase. After six months without the information being reentered (ie, the individual is released), the right to bear arms is returned. A board for review should round it out and be able to prevent any single minor group from causing too many abuses.

    It’s not perfect, since we’d be stuck paying to prove we’re capable of exerting a right (although I have the same complaint for CCWs), and a large number of anti-gun psychologists could easily lock down large groups of people from every being able to own guns without fairly significant economic or political power, but it’s better than the political side effects of having more psychos going on shooting sprees…

  8. Drake Says:

    Sigh. Damn this little prick. Murdering little turd needs his grave pissed on.

  9. Pro-Gun Progressive » Mental Health and Guns Part II Says:

    […] Uncle asks if we should include mental health history in background checks; without getting too far into the weeds on this, I think it’s reasonable to say that people who obviously have self-destructive tendencies and have been adjudicated mentally unsound should have that history considered when making firearm purchases. […]

  10. Sebastian Says:

    I would only support mental health related firearms disabilities that would come about through due process. There has to be hearing, there has to be evaluation, and the courts have to render a judgment. Anything less I’m not going for.

    Having a firearm is a right. And when something is a right, you can’t take it away without due process. It’s not easy to get someone committed against their will, nor should it be, but I do think it’s probably a bad idea to let someone who is mentally unstable access to firearms. I have no problem with removing that disability if the person gets better, but some people stay medicated for life, and have off and on mental problems.

  11. Sigivald Says:

    Heck, not just mental defectives lie on a 4473. Criminals and drug users do, too.

    (I know people who both perfectly peacefully smoke marijuana and also own guns. That involves lying [or at any rate what the ATF and the law would certainly consider lying] on the 4473.

    I can’t make myself care, since it’s the assertion that one does not use any drugs is an obviously unconstitutional and stupid requirement to begin with.)

    I don’t think “mental health records” should be reported, but actual denial-causing forcible treatment probably ought to be (and also expungable by court order on testimony showing lack of further “danger to self and others”, which is the whole point of the denial in the first place).

  12. JKB Says:

    To me this is not that hard. When a mental health professional deems a patient to be a threat to themselves or others, they should be required by law to report it to the authorities, just like a gunshot wound. A judge would then review the report and decide whether or not to issue a restraining order prohibiting the person from buying or possessing a gun. That order goes into the NICS. If the person gets help or otherwise recovers, they can apply to the court to have the order lifted.

    You get due process, no crazy mental health official being the first and final word, and you have a way for a person to restore their rights. No medical privacy issue as the order is a from a court and the reason for the order isn’t required to enforce the prohibition. It also prevents denial of rights to the majority of people who seek help from a mental health professional who are not a threat to themselves or others.

    Care must be taken because the mental health profession isn’t a big supporter of individual freedoms.

  13. countertop Says:

    leaving aside with the NICS is constitutional or not (its a reality we have to deal with), I think that the more I mull this over I am still against general mental health records being released (on the same grounds that i am against any medical records being released to the government or anyone else).

    That said, If someone has been deemed so great a threat that they need to be taken off the street (something I think should only happen after a court reviews all the evidence) then I’d support that information being reported (but not indefinitely, only for a set period of time (say 1 or 2 years) or until they were given a clean bill of health whichever came first.)

    At the same time, I do think if we are going to be in the business of telling insurance companies what treatments they must cover, then we ought to make them cover mental health issues (and need to encourage mental health evaluations on an annual basis similar to what we do with Dentists and/or ophthalmologists or even the good old family doctor – and this is something your doctor can include in his already on going exam).

    The records of that, being medical records, wouldn’t be publicly available, but it at least gives an individual and his doctor an opportunity to address a condition before it deteriorates further.

  14. Lyle Says:

    You would think, on the surface, that it might have made a difference (as in he would be forced to get his guns elsewhere) but if mental health declarations are seen as an alternate path to gun control, you will be shocked at how many people will be declared mentally “unfit” to keep a weapon–

    I.e. anyone mentally deranged enough to want one…

    How many of you know anything about the Soviet re-education camps?

    If you think that government officials (who don’t flinch at the idea of violating the Constitution to advance their social control agenda) won’t try to use the health care system for all sorts of horrible things, including gun restriction, then you have a huge amount of learning to do.

    Regardless, I challenge any and all to tell me that any law you could possibly hope for could have prevented that ignorant piece of crap from killing those people, and exactly how it would work. In light of the fact that certain drugs have been totally banned for years, we’ve spent billions trying to stop them, and they still come into this country by the tons and are used by millions, explain to me how hard it could ever be for a criminal to get a gun. Explain it in detail, so I can make fun of your ignorance.

    The Second Amendment of course was the intended solution to this issue, and its still there– we just need to enforce it.

  15. Lyle Says:

    Now if you want to talk about the attitude this ignorant piece of crap murderer, that is, his state of mind such as it lead him to do what he did, we can discuss:

    He had embraced about every Leftist/Socialist meme there ever was. Such pathological crap is spread with vigor by our college and university professors nationwide.

    We’re too rich, we live a decadent and selfish lifestyle, killing the planet, we “alienate” the poor souls who only want to live a simple life as we strive for profits, gain, extravagance, yak, yak, yak, yak, yackity yak, yak…. The human race is a stain on an otherwise pristine world full of beauty and grace, and on and on and on and on.

    Cho could be seen as the ultimate disciple of AlGore and that stupid socialist slug, Michael Moore. All he did was take of business– the business of the Left in this country. Thanks, college professors, for teaching this idiot that we’re all deserving of scorn and hatred, because of our American way of life. Thanks for teaching him nothing whatsoever about how invention, creativity, and hard work in business, even selling luxury items, leads to new advances, lower prices, and a better life for everyone.

    Thank you, Algore and Michael Moore, et al for telling kids, pounding it into their heads non-stop for the last several decades, that Americans suck, Americans are responsible for all the evils of the world, and that human life in general is a threat to the delicate flower– Mother Earth. This murdering pile of crap was one of your most pious soul-mates, Lefties. Keep it up and you’ll have a million of these snarling little imps. Disarm us some more and you’ll have ten million nice, vulnerable, helpless victims for them to kill.

  16. anonymous Says:

    In the state of Tennessee, if you are checked into any in-patient mental health facility, you lose your right to own a gun. It doesn’t matter if you go in on your own or are committed. It doesn’t matter if it’s for rehad, eating disorders, or threatening to kill someone.

    The one thing I’m not sure about is the length of time before you get your rights back. It’s either 7 years or never.

  17. Sebastian Says:

    I don’t think gun control really accomplishes much in terms of keeping guns out of the wrong hands. But there’s strong public support for some level of gun control, and my opinion has generally been if it keeps the public off our backs, I’m OK with background checks, and violent and mentally incompetent people being disbarred from arms after due process.

    My basic test is, as long as I can walk into a gun shop and walk out with a gun, I don’t really consider it to be infringing on y rights.

  18. Jim W Says:

    There are huge constitutional (due process) concerns with institutionalizing people that dont pose an immediate threat to anyone. Remember how we spent all the 70s freeing people from lunatic asylums? We’re basically proposing reversing that.

    Btw, I think that wouldnt necessarily be a bad idea, albeit a far more expensive solution than wider concealed carry.

  19. Standard Mischief Says:

    Let’s get some sort of system to legitimately get people off the list, with firearms rights restored before we dream up new ways to get people on the list.

    Another thing they should have fixed while we “had” a pro-RKBA majority.

  20. Kurt Says:

    If the person is such a threat to himself or others that he shouldn’t have a gun, why would he be allowed to run around lose at all? There are plenty of potential weapons out there besides guns, folks, and a lot of them are a lot more effective. If the state has the ability to make this judgment, it has the ability and the responsibility to society to keep such people out of circulation – if institutionalized, they can’t get a gun anyway.

    Now ask yourself: If you knew that you needed some psychological help for some reason, would you be reluctant to seek it out if you knew you’d be giving up your second ammendment rights in the process?

    Seems to me that the problem is with our mental health system, not our gun laws.

  21. Lornkanaga Says:

    Mental health records, just like other medical records, should be private.

    The way to stop people with guns who are too wacked out to use them responsibly is with people with guns who know how to use them responsibly.