Safety and Training

Firearms and the Mentally Ill

A young woman in a dark t-shirt calls 911

Look back to any of the mass-shooting tragedies and, at the heart of the matter, you will find mental illness. By extension, if there is a single gun control-related issue that truly has a majority of support, it would be a measure related to restricting access to and ownership of firearms from certain mentally ill individuals. According to the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago: “More than 8 in 10 Americans favor a federal law preventing mentally ill people from purchasing guns,” the AP reported March 23.

Let me back up a step and refer you to the disclaimer in the box on the right.

I am an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment. This article is designed to foster discussion—not take any position—so unload your accusation guns and please hold your social media fire. I do not speak for Cheaper Than Dirt! nor does Cheaper Than Dirt! in any way endorse, oppose, support, or whatever else… any of the words, ideas, or concepts used in this article. Please accept this as the standard disclaimer, which we unfortunately need in today’s charged climate where social media warriors so often take offense and want to blame someone for merely daring to discuss a topic.

Now, it would be easy enough to dispute many of the claims and reported statistics made in the AP article, but that is not my point. I would simply be preaching to the choir, as they say. Instead, I would pose my first question, “Where would you draw the line between mental illness where an individual has been evaluated to be a danger to themselves or others, and the right to firearm ownership?”

We can look to Florida’s latest round of gun control laws to see where it drew the lines. For Florida, in the 14-page law that was enacted following the Parkland shooting is a measure to temporarily prevent people “at high risk of harming themselves or others from accessing firearms.” So, that is interesting. It is a restriction. However, due to the word “temporarily” being placed in the language, we can deduce that there must be some limits or path to regaining rights. As always, I am sure the devil is in the details. Again, I ask you, the reader, for your opinion on this. Do, or would you, support such a law?

Pitfalls and Consequences

Next, drilling a little deeper but still along the same lines, how exactly is it determined (before an event) that a person is a danger to themselves or others? Is this by their own admission or a culmination of events or behaviors? What is the danger of a mental health professional with an agenda, or the government, going overboard and using such laws as a back door to gun control? After all, not so long ago under the Obama Administration, there were threats to the gun rights of individuals collecting government services.

Then there is the question of whether such policies would cause those who would otherwise seek treatment to shy away from it due to a fear of losing their Second Amendment rights. So I’ll pose the question, “If the person is able to recognize their problems to the extent that they voluntarily reach out for help, should they still be precluded from firearm ownership or possession, or should a voluntary temporary surrender be all that is necessary?”

ATF Form 4473

Read the following account and then comment.

At a hearing in St. Lucie County, Florida, Adam Fetterman, attorney for the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, got Circuit Judge Janet Croom, who handles mental health matters, to issue such an order to seize a man’s firearms after the man was arrested for brandishing a gun while walking half-naked and acting unusually in a parking lot.

That seems pretty cut and dry, but neither the suspect, nor an attorney for him, was in court to potentially fight the order. Why hasn’t there been a lawsuit fighting such actions? Perhaps because it was in the public’s best interest? Maybe the individuals affected recognized the issue and have not sought to fight such orders. Sheriff’s officials have received cooperation from families in the other cases, so there have been no protracted legal battles.

Though Florida law does not require the accused to be present in court or have representation present, do you think civil rights groups should get involved in a case such as this proactively, or was the system’s actions appropriate in the interest of public safety?

Let’s look at another case in yet murkier water.

On April 2, a circuit judge in Orlando lifted a temporary restriction on firearm possession against a student at the University of Central Florida.

Law enforcement initiated an investigation of the 21-year-old student after he went on social media to praise the alleged murderers in Parkland and Las Vegas as heroes. The student then went on to allegedly tell police he would probably shoot up the middle or high schools where he had been bullied if provoked by a tragic life event, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The attorney for the student made the argument that the admission was protected as free speech under the First Amendment.

A young woman in a dark t-shirt calls 911
This young student is illustrating a homeowner dialing 911 while checking out a potential threat, not being the threat.

“She argued (the student) had not done anything to suggest he would act on the comments,” the Sentinel reported. “He had not purchased a weapon, and he did not have a criminal record… He would have voluntarily relinquished his gun rights had he been given the option.”

The student didn’t even have a gun, which begs the question, “After such an admission, should the student be placed on a watch list that prevents firearm ownership or requires additional scrutiny before legally purchasing a firearm?” Personally, I feel this still blames the firearm more than the individual. To a degree, it accounts for legally purchased firearms, but it does little to nothing against illegal purchases.

I have heard the counterargument that we should control the things we can, and react as best we can to minimize the things we cannot prevent. How does this affect your opinion or decision-making? Should the legal system have placed a restriction on firearms ownership by the student due to an exercise of free speech that may have been threatening? If no, how does that balance after an event where people look back and say all of the signs were there but no one acted upon them? If yes, what crime was committed that warrants the loss of a constitutional right?


I am not sure a heading of “conclusion” is appropriate here. The topic has so many variables, I do not think there is a simple answer or conclusion. The language of the Second Amendment is very clear to me, but we have placed limits on the First Amendment (yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater). There are situations when individuals have given up their Fourth Amendment protections against certain search and seizure, but that was after a “mentally competent person” signed a voluntary agreement. I do not equate that with most of the questions posed here regarding Second Amendment rights.

Let’s hear your opinion. As a community, let’s listen to the perspectives, opinions, ideas, and solutions of others. Sound off in the comment section with your opinion or any answers you have to the questions posed in the article.


The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (52)

  1. Maybe a bit different angle here – the Sandy Hook Shooter was Autistic, considered a disability, not mental illness. The Las Vegas shooter is un-diagnosed – one might say anecdotally mentally ill in hindsight, on basis of the act he committed. The Marjorie Stoneman shooter was certainly “angry”, and reached out for help he never received, but is there a specific “mental illness” diagnosis? (he certainly qualified to purchase his rifle) The Santa Fe HS shooter had no reported signs of mental illness (other than anecdotal after the fact).

    Point is, it’s easy to categorize as “mentally ill” in generalization, but a whole lot harder to parse in specific situations.

  2. You are the exact reason why I am against these types of laws … because they will not define things properly! You are just like almost everyone else in the US who needs a little help during a certain portion in their life and need some counseling and have some anxiety because life is difficult sometimes. That is NOT mental illness! IN NO WAY OR SHAPE should it be considered as such! All people have emotions and everyone has a bad time during one portion of their lives or another. The 2nd Amendment does not specify it only applies to those who are happy and joyful and play under rainbows with pixie dust!

  3. No No No! Your suggestion is completely out of line with all of our rights afforded to all Americans under the Constitution. I certainly understand how difficult it is to listen to some of these “inflammatory” remarks, but it is protected speech. There are a number of countries that have social police that do what you suggest, but I would not live in any of them. Nor would you if you don’t recognize that this feeds the lefts narrative and is exactly what many on the left believe. Sorry, cannot agree.

    1. the REALITY is,once you’re restrained/incarcerated/evaluated[whatever the term used and REGARDLESS of the end evaluation,] you WILL lose your NICS clearance in New York State. It is a bogus method used by hoplophobes

  4. This is not a firearms / weapons issue, it is an individual issue. If someone makes inflamatory statements, in public or in social forums, this individual should be restrained and evaluated for a comunsurate 48 to 72 hours to determine if this person is a threat to themselves and / or others. This is not a violation of civil rights,
    as this person self-precipitated the closer observation of their mental condition. This falls in the same pervue as a person who screams fire in a croweded theater when none exist. They would be restrained and investigated until the threat was properly assessed.

  5. If mental illness is used as a criteria for disarming the citzenry, then let’s start by disarming our politicians first.

    We(gun owners who have never been convicted of a crime; felony or gross misdemeanor) can create an ombudsman group to ascertain their mental stability to own a firearm.

    Then upon our recommendation to the Sheriff of the County(who are elected and answerable to their local constituents the politician is elected from); whereupon we can call for their being disarmed under penalty of contempt.

    Let’s see how they would like that.

  6. My opinion on the matter is best stated with this quote from Benjamin Franklin “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”. Making laws to stop something has never stopped it and won’t while we still have free will (I.e. Homicide is already illegal but yet we see it every day). Laws only work for true full law abiding citizens, plain and simple. And as far as the mental health aspect goes the CDC has said that nearly half (50%) of all adults in the USA will develop a mental illness in their lifetime. I know most people won’t want to hear it but in my opinion the only way to attempt to stop crimes and tragedies from happening is by bringing God and prayer back into not just our homes but our schools and places of business as well, and stopping the hatred for our brothers and sisters regardless of our differences in religion, beliefs, and stances.

  7. In 2013 the s.o.b.s in Clifton Springs,NY Hospital kept me an additional day and didn’t issue prescribed diabetic and glaucoma Rxs simply because I insisted on having a legal witness when speaking to the shrinks/staff. have to regard the those staffs as only arrogant charlatans.Any one can lie/make a false claim against you and you will be institutionalized for >=72 hours.With that you’ll lose your firearms/pistol permit/NICS/UT non resident CCW permit.
    Be exceedingly careful if you’re in NYState and store any firearms off site of your residence.The state or local pigs will seize and steal them.
    Been there.

  8. Your call for serious reflection and discussion is commendable. As others here in the comment section have noted, a label of “mental illness” can become a catch all, to be wielded by anti gun biased judges. To address concerns of irrational/violent propensity, an evaluation needs to be developed specific to this issue. Could we trust such and instrument to be unbiased? That’s where development of said instrument comes in. In the case of the 21 year old in your article, we have only to ask ourselves what the resulting arguments against the “mentally ill” and gun ownership in general would be if he were granted gun ownership and he did commit a violent act.

  9. I have worked in mental health for over 20 years in AZ. All aspects from inpatient hospital to outpatient meds only. Over the years I have initiated countless involuntary commitments. The idea of DTS and DTO, should remain in any legislation. Using the term “mentally ill” in proposed law is foolish. There are pretty hefty penalties for filing false commitment applications, however, I can say that in mental health and law enforcement, these applications are seldom questioned. For those in comments that seem to have the attitude of “lock ’em up”, remember that paranoia (of the govt, for example) can easily be worked into a viable diagnosis. Also, when those two psychologists in that 72 hour period are evaluating you, they may spend as little as 5 minutes with you. If they don’t like you, if the nurses or techs don’t like you… the commitment will be upheld. Doesn’t matter what you think or say. You can throw out your sovereign dogma, your trilateral conspiracies, or whatever secret squirrel stuff you read on the prepper website yesterday; but none of it matters. You will be on the wrong side of the table. I’ve seen everyone from an 18 year old star student athlete with his first psychotic break, to a seasoned 35 year old Navy SEAL locked up. It ain’t pretty. The solution to these problems is complex and IMO there is zero room for simple, weak minded, one shot answers. Regardless of which side of the argument it comes from. You want to preserve our rights, for Pete’s sake, do some research. Employ some critical thinking skills.

    1. Thank You for your insight into this matter. I have never been involved with someone being committed. However, I know people that have worked in hat field & heard some of the horror stories. I agree the DTS & DTO are the standard in which committal should be determined. Not just having a mental illness. I think we all suffer from insanity when we do the same old things & expect different results. We can’t expect the government to stop infringing on our rights on it own accord. It takes action, and at times very direct action. Jefferson warned us that as a last resort we should take up arms against a tyrannical government. It seems we are getting ever so close to that point.

  10. Life isn’t that simple (black & white) as the “Collective of “Quick Draw” judgement passers do their best not to properly examine (or lack ability) any real issue more complicated than how to justify passing something that generates income. So they just throw a blanket over the whole thing & call it “solved”.. That’s how endless rights disappear because punishing everyone for the actions of a select few (less of them so an actual effort would have to be made to do it right.. Identify threat potential,..sounds like work & brainpower….) Easier to throw a blanket over it so its out of sight & outlaw it so “The issue is officially resolved”! Like everything else we lost/lose. THE TITLE/LABEL “MENTAL ILLNESS” UNFORTUNATELY INCLUDES “ANXIETY ATTACKS”, “STRESS OR PANIC”..YEAH, THE CONDITION THAT INSTEAD OF VIOLENCE THE PERSON HYPERVENTILATES, MAYBE PASSES OUT OR NEEDS TO LAY DOWN FROM BEING DIZZIE. HOW ABOUT ADHD.. LOST YOUR TRAIN OF THOUGHT? WELL YOU JUST LIST YOUR RIGHT TO BARE ARMS TOO. I BET A PERSON WITH OCD WOULD NEVER HAVE A GUN CLEANING ACCIDENT. BUT I BET A TOTAL LUNATIC CAN PICK UP JUST ABOUT ANY OBJECT & MAKE IT A DEADLY WEAPON. THATS THE REAL ISSUE.. & it & others like it will never be resolved because of STUPID & LAZY.. #1 Address profiling unstable personality types with potential for unlawful violence. Especially if any such behavior has been noted,; Flag Them! (The real threat) #2 Accurately define through case by case, symptom by symptom….What exactly is “Mental illness” & should someone with phobias like not leaving the house or afraid of heights or maybe lost some memory in a accident IN WITH PROVERSE THINKERS & DOERS OF UNSPEAKABLE HORRERS! Education before regulation & quit being so darn lazy! Do it right or do it to yourself where no else is effected… If you can’t refrain from “taking action because doing anything is better than nothing,” Without these regulatory heroes many school children would have been lost to the rising trend of deadly assaults with “NAIL CLIPPERS” … Good tghing they outlawed them by penalty of expulsion! You’re my hero!

  11. The answer is not when and how we restrict people from owning firearms. The answer is when and how we help these people that suffer from mental illness. We manufacture these mass killers. I can recall the bullying that went on in my schools. I was bullied some, but for others it was relentless. I truly understand how some kids might come to this, if they don’t kill themselves first. Kids are abused at home. They are bullied at school, usually while teachers and staff look on or turn away. They are abused at church. They are abused and bullied at other youth groups. We send our young men and women off to war and ignore them when they return home with both mental and physical injuries. We create these problems by ignoring and refusing to demand action to begin to change these situations. And, untill we do, this problem will never get better. We need to address the mental health problem and it’s causes.

  12. Read your disclaimer, sounded a little hinky, so I didn’t bother with the article. Here *s the question, we have to deal with first and foremost, from a logic standpoint, before we can go any were else.
    If a person is to “dangerous” to be allowed access to a firearm, how the hell, are they “safe” enough to be allowed it in public?

  13. 1st – good article and offers 2 examples, relatively current, to go along with and spark discussion/opinion/argument/etc.
    2nd – girl in photo with revolver and on the phone (guessing she’s the one calling 911 while investigating) – she’s dead if he’s the threat. She cannot see anything to her left! Hair in the way, head hanging down, more involved in the phone than anything.
    3rd – guy who sheriff’s dept wanted court order for guns: idiot, possibly in need of mental help (which is near impossible to find in America) but HIS RIGHTS were still VIOLATED! As you state, neither he nor an attorney for him was present and I’d bet they have a “court ruling”, or “local understanding” that illegal as those are, allows them to move forward and still his God given/Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Since we have very little information on all that occurred and on where exactly Mr. Half-naked was during that request, we simply should state – these violations of God given and Constitutionally protected and/or granted rights should not happen and any/all groups that supposedly work solely to protect people and their rights, most certainly should be heavily involved and damned be public anything until all rights are being fully and equally protected and honored.
    4th – Student, public forum and very serious in person comments showing an active desire and search for justification in current life and environment to act completely on those threats/comments – seems pretty clear he should be busy with his attorney/liar preparing for defense and hopefully (if all that is as it appears) being put away and thus losing his Constitutional rights at that point.
    For both persons – my opinion is If they are the threat(s) that the above information indicates, they should be institutionalized (i.e., put in daffy’s house) and our laws in those areas modified so that the liberal, so called doctor can’t just declare them “all better”, back on proper course or whatever and let em run and see if they can actually be helped and one day be a valuable and worthy American.

  14. Gun Laws will Never adequately protect the public from anyone with any type of weapon from injuring or killing others.
    Need Phsyc hospital treatment like cancer treatment. Everywhere, All over the country !

  15. A quote from another era:
    You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered.– Lyndon B. Johnson

  16. I volunteered for medical treatment to care for panic attacks, insomnia, and depression. I was treated and recovered and I am still doing well. I also sought therapy to learn skills that really helped, especially in the first months of recovery. 4 and 1/2 years I applied for a foid card and I answered the questions frankly because my intent was always to have a lawful ownership. I was turned down because in my state there is a five year wait. I did not know I had tossed my second amendment right by seeking medical help to treat anxiety and depression.
    At the end of the 5 year wait I challenged the earlier ruling and was required a note from my psychiatrist as to my mental state. Upon a report of my mental state being healthy and remission I was issued a food card.
    One, I feel people should be able to seek psychiatric help if their health changes. For volunteer action it should be the right thing to do. Our responsibility with a gun may change, for example depression, schizophrenia, may flare up and need to be treated. As we age some form of dementia may occur and we may need to change accordingly. Making it easier for people to volunteer to seek help is much better than setting up a situation where others may have to step in. Some mental problems actually ,are it harder to make the right call.
    Second, Due process that is motivated by safety for all and the one who is personally involve to be involved in care may in time recover and if so able to repeal for right of gun ownership. In my case I was able. But if I change as I age, I first want to be lawful and responsible. I may have to surrender that right.
    3rd mental illness can not be ignored. But it is not always the cause for these horrific killings. There is wrong, unlawful, willful evil that is a factor. Most with mental illness would never harm someone else. One size does not fit all. We need to be aware and informed and respect the rights of even those who suffer loss of mental abilities. Legal ownership requires the ability to be responsible for lawful use.

  17. This is a subject that is very near and dear to my heart because I was once considered “mentally ill”. When I was in junior high school through high school I was medicated for small periods of time and had a psychiatrist/psychologist for anxiety and depression, in junior high I was required to meet with the school psychologist for 1 month all because I didn’t have a very good attendance record or very good grades because I was a lazy teen and couldn’t see past Saturday so to speak. However in my ninth grade year I fell into a severe depression because of health problems. Since I fell into that depression I was medicated again. I’m off everything now and have been for years I’m in my early 20s now and I am very responsible especially when it comes to firearms. I own a handful of firearms and I am concerned about these laws because they could eventually affect my rights, I’m not “mentally ill” but some people could argue that I was once and should still be judged that way because it doesn’t just go away. I have my own complicated opinion on this as does everyone else but I would like to know what people feel about my situation and if I should still be considered “mentally ill” and if my rights should be taken away because of being medicated for small periods of time as a minor?

  18. The limitations need to be written for the government agency who wishes to take away or suspend a citizens rights, not for the citizen, much like our Constitution. The burden is on the police/family member/medical professional to prove, or offer probable cause, that someone is a danger. That is why it is before a judge. Walking around without a shirt and carrying a gun, proves nothing. Neither does writing on social media, short of giving a time and date if the person has the means, on a dreamed of scenario. The FL cases may be exceptions in light of the recent tragedy and a hyper sensitivity to threats of violence. If that same situation had occurred in Iowa, I doubt a judge would have complied and suspended the kids rights. I may be wrong.
    If the limitations are on the citizen, then some bureaucrat decides that anyone taking Zoloft (for bipolar depression or anxiety, headaches) would lose their rights. See how that works? It’s akin to blaming the gun and why our Constitution was written the way it was, to control government, not the people.

  19. My question is this:

    How will ANY gun control laws, stop the pissed off and fed up (notice that I did NOT say “mentally ill”) person, with the 5 gallon bucket of gasoline and a zippo?

  20. This issue is just like almost any form of gun control legislation… It only punishes people who follow the law and do what they are supposed to do. Being a person who has been diagnosed with a mental illness, and a legally obtained gun owner I can tell you there are probably a lot of people out there who should be diagnosed but are not. A person such as myself who sought out treatment, properly manages my condition, and has been stable for decades should not have to give up my rights. In my state I cannot get a concealed carry permit with my diagnosis. I can obtain, possess, and even open carry a firearm legally. If legislation was passed that took away my right to possess a firearm, it would not fix the problem. The individual out there that has a mental condition that has not been diagnosed who snaps and commits a criminal act with a firearm is the problem. The legislation in question does nothing to stop that.

  21. I believe that no citizen should lose his or her gun rights to an accusation towards mental health without proper legal representation/defense and proper mental evaluation by a certified and licensed psychologist/psychiatrist. Furthermore those individuals who make threats and/or support events such as mass shootings or domestic and gang violence should be immediately be evaluated legally and psychologically.

  22. The central issue is the mental health judgement “a danger to themselves or others.” This is already used to commit people against their will to a mental health facility. State and federal law currently has basic protections against abusing this criterion – I’m not sure it’s a diagnosis – plus the pressure for places to put these mentally ill is very great because there are more such people wandering around than there are facilities. So currently, if a person has recovered “enough” they are moved out of involuntary treatment. The same criterion should be used for firearms. It should also be the only criterion.

    It CAN be hard to properly identify these people. Sometimes their only interaction is with medical staff in the Emergency Department. While an ER doc gets some training in mental health assessment, it’s not at the top of their training list like heart attacks, strokes, and trauma. Police are trained to just know that a person appears to have a mental health problem and bring the person in to the ER for evaluation. So properly identifying people is a big problem.

    Only a judge should issue such an order. It must ONLY be used in conjunction with a mental health diagnosis that would require other restrictions – involuntary commitment and treatment, the mentally ill person must be observed taking their medication as prescribed, and must meet other mental health treatment requirements.
    There must be frequent and regular review by some court system of the person’s treatment and condition with a view towards removing any and all such restrictions as early as safely possible.

  23. I just want to commend all of the really concerned and seriously outstanding logic expressed on this serious problem throughout this series of discussions. It shows that well thought out and respectful debate is alive and well at the grass roots level of our country. Bravo to all who partook with such insight and good intention. I wish this could be conveyed to the “Bafoons” we have been duped into representing us. I see more common sense and just deliberation in this series of statements that I have witnessed in any elected official in my lifetime. Thank you all for sharing your thoughtful deliberations.

    The large take-away for me is that we need to bring our “Politicians” back down to earth. They act only on their own self interest and not as our representatives. They appear to listen to the loudest, not the smartest. We must take America back because “We the People” are really in charge. WE need a referendum to address the Tyranny that exists today. Term limits must be real and short. Our representatives need to be judged harshly and immediately if they ignore the Laws of the Land. No Democrats or Republicans, just AMERICANS!


  24. A well thought out think piece. It requires people to think, something that the antis and the democrats can not do or want you to do.

    While I have concerns about any firearm legislation in the current environment, I do believe there does need to be a system in place to allow the authorities to protect the general public, within reasonable limits. And that is a key point. ‘REASONABLE LIMITS’.

    What most of the ‘red flag’ laws do not have is a mechanism to protect the rights of the affected individual. One that I saw that I particularity like, was one that allowed the person who’s firearms were impounded to appear before a judge to explain his/her side of the story with a lawyer if they so choose. This has to happen within a short period of time, like under a week.

    I have personal knowledge of one he said/she said case. A co-worker (female) was divorcing her husband. While she was removing her personal property from their home, he tried to stop her. They got into an argument. Neighbors called the police. Now I have never met this ‘person’, however I have seen photographs of him. He was about 5’10” 230+ pounds. She is 5’0″ and 130 pounds. He has a criminal record including violent crime and drugs. He is well know by the local police. The police break up the argument and stand by while she finishes loading her car to move out of state. He tells the police that she has a firearm. Does not say he is afraid of her. The police search her vehicle and find the firearm. Said firearm is confiscated. It was a legal firearm within that state at that time.

    Another item that needs to b discussed is bullying in the schools. The last couple school shooting, it has come out that the shooters were bullied. While that is no excuse for their actions, it does point to a bigger problem. Especially the last shooter, teachers were involved in the bullying. THEY ARE ADULTS! THEY ARE SUPPOSE TO KNOW BETTER!. If this is an example of the nation’s school systems, why are we trusting our children to them?

    More food for thought.

  25. That kind of law would remove gun rights from many of the liberals we see with TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome).

  26. I think the problems with this kind of legislation are two fold. Most obviously, taking action against someone and compromising a Constitutional right based on what they MIGHT do in the future opens a door I don’t think we want opened. Second, I have a problem with the criteria determining someone’s mental fitness, especially when the motivation for “reporting” him or her could be suspect…ex-wife, pissed off kid, etc. In short, in the absence of any crime having been committed, this criteria needs to be very, very narrow.

  27. It is interesting how politicians have progressively (pun intended) painted the population into a corner, disenfranchising them from their natural Common Law rights at every turn, and when some individuals acting as social miners canaries start acting out, the legislature never once asks if the rights restrictive legislation might have had anything to do with it.

    What happens instead then becomes a kind of self-fulfilling prophesy. To some more ethically challenged lawmakers, it would be just what the doctor ordered, but to many others, it is just that they are so consumed with going along to get along that they won’t ever challenge the system.

    Where to go from here? Good question.

  28. I would have no objection to having to take a drug test before purchasing a gun. There are plenty of independent labs that can be used for this. Not only would it check for illegal substances, but also drugs for depression and anxiety that are known to cause violent and suicidal thoughts. People’s privacy would be protected because they take the test on their own and just bring a printout of a clean test with them to the gun store. If you enjoy smoking the snooky hooch and you can’t stay away from it for a couple of weeks, you shouldn’t own a gun anyways. The only problem I see with this is the democrats will require you to get the most expensive test possible that takes the longest time to get your results back.

    1. So an old person that took 2 or 3 opiate pills a day for years (so they could walk with their extreme arthritis and bad back) would be kept from buying a gun for protection in his/her bad neighborhood. He/she may have had firearms all his/her life, but found it hard to rack the slide and needed a firearm that he/she could handle.

      Many people are on daily doses of drugs to get through life. Many doctors will force antidepressants into your schedule for the drugs that really work, because they might believe they are helping.

      Many people take drugs that do help them(even drugs that are sought after by those that wish to get high). Requiring a drug test and forcing people to tell the world their medical secrets is wrong.

    2. I have family members in similar situations to what you describe. But usually, their medication also contains warnings such as, “Do not drive automobiles or operate machinery while taking this medication.” If it’s not safe to drive or mow a lawn, is it safe to shoot a gun? Not trying to be overly critical, just trying to apply the common sense test for safety’s sake. Having said all this, I would always argue for ANY person’s right to protect themselves, especially in a diminished physical condition. No easy answers.

    3. There are so many flaws with your idea. First a ÔÇ£print off testÔÇØ?? Nothing would stop people from cheating the rest on their own time, so democrats would indeed seize that opportunity to force us to piss at a designated center. Then the cost of this program would be huge and most likely be taken from taxes on our firearm purchases creating a price hike on all firearms. Second, this pisses in the face of privacy and liberty in so many ways. Lastly, as the first response noted, there is a large portion of buyers who are on proscribed medications. Together these burdens would bankrupt gun manufacturers leaving the NRA with less cash to fight off the Democrats inevitably leading to a breakdown of our 2nd amendment rights. Unless youÔÇÖd like to see that too!

    4. As someone with a serious permanent medical condition that leaves me in serious pain daily for which I take a laundry list of medications for I take issue with any suggestion of a requirement for drug screening on legally prescribed medications.I have permanent damage to my spine, hip, knee leg, ankle and foot. I have permanent severe nerve damage in all those areas. There are days I can barely handle walking, standing, sitting or laying down to include sleeping. On top of that I suffer from PCS (Post Concussion Syndrome) after suffering several concussions over the years.

      None of this has kept me from working for DHS training the TSA After 911, nor working in the Information Technology Sector since 2004, currently as the I.T. manager for a major corporation covering a large portion of the state I work in and managing multiple locations. Nor has it effected by ability to continually qualify as an Expert with both a handgun, rifle and shotgun using military standards.
      Based on some states “standards”were I to volunteer my information I would be denied the right to own a firearm. Due to my physical condition I would be unable to fight off an attacker, even one considerably smaller than myself so without access to a weapon I would be defenseless to protect myself, my family or my home.As a US Citizen, an Army Veteran with an honorable discharge, no criminal record I feel that I should not have to fight or justify why I should keep my 2nd Amendment rights, and I have had to.

      During a contentious Divorce from my 1st wife she only had to claim I was dangerous and had threatened her and this was back in 2002-2003 in a very liberal state (IL). No proof required. I was not innocent until proven guilty, I was guilty until proven innocent. I was able to prevail after proving that she made these false claims in an attempt to force me to agree to her demands after being advised to do so by a local woman’s advocacy group, but not before having to go get a psychological evaluation by 2 separate Dr’s and spending thousands of dollars and almost a year in the courts, during this time my weapons were in the hands of the state and I had 1 handgun, an antique, damaged beyond repair and 3 knifes from my knife collection were not returned as they claimed that these were illegal to own under any circumstances..

      So yes I am very concerned when I hear ideas like these tossed around. I was lucky, I found out over the next few year that others are/were not so lucky.

  29. For me it comes down to our basic human rights that you are innocent until proven guilty so they have no constitutional right to take arms away from anyone until they have committed a crime. The V.A. has taken thousands of vets guns away illegally and i hope the new V.A. head changes that fast. You cannot punish someone because you think they will commit a crime.

  30. Well written and well thought out. One of my problems with this is the subjectiveness of the determination or who is or who is not mentally ill. Years ago, I had a spouse who was a mental patient. As such I was met with her doctor to discuss her condition and the living conditions at our home. Two weeks later I went to my regular physician for a follow up to diabetes. During this visit he asked several questions about how my life was going, how I felt and how I was coping with things. This was a bit unusual so I asked if things were OK or if there was a reason he was asking so much stuff. He shared with me he had received a report from my wife’s doctor that listed me as in possible need of mental help. Reasons: suicidal, why is I ride motorcycles. I could be violent and have killed animals, why was I used to hunt. I could suffer from depression, why was I am diabetic and the stress dealing with a mentally ill wife. I do believe there are times when a person’s, even a doctor’s, perspective and judgement despite the best of intentions is influenced by things other than the medical facts. I met with the wife’s doctor one more time to let him know why I was transferring my wife to a different care-giver. I also have concerns that some judges and lawyers also have anti-gun sentiments which could influence their actions. Things like medicine, mental health and the law should not be subjective to a person’s feelings, but based on the facts. Some people should not have firearms, some people should not be allowed to teach in our schools, some should not be allowed to sit in judgement over others and some should not be allowed to practice medicine or give mental care. Fortunately most professionals act professionally.

    In the case of the Parkland Shooter, I believe the signs were there and people failed to respond to the signs. Its not a firearm issue, its a mental and moral one. If the lives of 4,000 unborn children a day are not important, why should we expect anyone to value any life?

  31. I’m almost wondering if this doesn’t boil down to the questions:

    “What right does society have to deny an individual a means of self-defense?”


    “What obligation does society have to protect those that who choose not to exercise their right to self-defense?” (whether that self-defense utilizes a firearms or not)

    Personally I think the answer to the first question may lie in how US society worked in the late 1700’s where capital crimes seem to have been dealt with by capital punishment (as opposed to restriction of rights of the law abiding).

    …and the second would seem to have been answered in Warren v. The District of Columbia.

    Obviously both of those prior outcomes/solutions could be overturned, however that would beg the question: Should they be overturned if we wish to retain liberty?

  32. You bring up some good points, and used the scenarios you picked well as examples. One of the biggest issues for myself, has been the introduction of “Red” laws in State Legislators. In several of the proposed (and recently passed in some States) there is a definite lack of professional opinion required in the Laws. By that I’m referring to the absence of a Medical evaluation by a licensed Practitioner, before the action of seizure of property. Many of these laws require only a friend, family member or LEO to state/believe that the person is at risk and the seizure can occur. None of these individuals, and I include Judges in this, are capable by law, of making a diagnosis of mental illness. With no required examination and evaluation, the laws are simply denying Due Process to an individual based upon evidentiary hearsay and not by a valid medical opinion.
    I’m in agreement that we need to keep firearms out of the hands of individuals that are mentally unbalanced, but mental illness is a slippery slope. The right of privacy of medical information found under HIPPAA regulations can be violated too easily by Mental Health Gun Control Laws, and this needs to be addressed before any legislation is passed. As we learned of the extent of interaction the Broward County Sheriff’s Office had with the Parkland shooter prior to his actions, the question comes up of when should an intervention occur. I believe we can agree that the multitude of instances where there was interaction in that case was excessive, and the young man in question should have been flagged long before he ever purchased a firearm. In this case, the Sheriff’s Office took it upon themselves to downplay the events that were occurring, the end result of which was a mass shooting. We need to address this if we’re to make any success at preventing future problems. In my opinion, the second call out for him should have been a flagging event. Dismissing his behavior and actions, because he was at the time a juvenile, was a serious mistake.
    In the end we must do something to address the mental health problem, but it needs to be the right something. Too many legislators are willing to pass legislation good or bad, simply to “feel good” about what they’ve done. Instead, most of the legislation they pass is further infringement on the rights of the Law Abiding citizens, and doesn’t really address the complete issues at hand.

  33. All the hype I have been hearing & reading about taking guns out of the hands of people with mental illness seems simple & logical on the surface. Most good ideas like this have altruistic motives. When we are talking about taking away the rights of people, we traverse a very slippery and treacherous slope. ItÔÇÖs like trying to climb a greased up flag pole. Only a few will ever attempt it. Fewer still, will ever make it to the top. When they do they risk breaking their leg, foot, or ankle on the slide down.
    All the hype out there seems to be based on the presumption that people with a mental illness are a danger to society. Anyone that has a loved one with a mental illness should know that most mentally ill people are harmless. That leaves us with those that pose harm to themselves and/or others. In Texas there is a legal way to get those that are a harm to themselves &/or others off the streets. They are usually involuntarily sent for mental evaluation on the order of a judge that has been given evidence that would warrant such a commitment. I see no need for Texas to adopt any new law concerning this matter. Furthermore, it is important to note that a mental illness, in & of itself, should not be the yardstick to measure whether someone should be barred front observing/exercising their right to bears arms. I am behemothly opposed to legislation that infringes on any group of people because of the actions of less than 0.0001 percent of the people, (In this case, the mentally ill with murderous intent). Besides, whose gauge of mental illness are we to go by. One manÔÇÖs nut case is another manÔÇÖs genius.
    Let us not forget about the famous serial killers out there. They were very dangerous people with a mental illness. Most people that knew them claimed they were nice people, at least for the most part. Furthermore, very few, if any, of these serial killers used a gun. Additionally, as I understand it, the latest FBI statistics has shown that a baseball bat is used more than anything else to murder someone. WhereÔÇÖs the outcry to register baseball bats, and to keep them away from our children. In other words, open your eyes pull your head out of the box & take a look at reality, not reality TV media bias. Mental illness is not the problem & guns are not the problem. People are the problem, more specifically, the way that they think. We are constantly bombarded with the lies spewed by the mediaÔÇÖs biased half truths & outright lies. ItÔÇÖs no wonder the masses want to jump on the latest bandwagon fad. At the moment it is, taking guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.
    When we take a more realistic look into the problem, the lies, hype & bias start to become transparent. Unfortunately, most people do not take the time to learn the truth of the matter, or they feel like it doesnÔÇÖt concern them, worst yet they trust the media. Then there are those who egoistically make bold claims of what they will do if they came after their guns. Then thereÔÇÖs the bunch that just donÔÇÖt care. All these people donÔÇÖt bother to do there civic duty to support the cause of freedom & rights, or they get on the wrong side of it with altruistic motives believing they are doing something good.
    There is evil in this world whether anyone wants to believe it, or not. The only thing it needs to grow, persist & prosper is for good people to do nothing. Unfortunately, it appears thatÔÇÖs what we are experiencing the results of today. There are too many good people for too long doing nothing, or the minimum, and there are too many people being motivated by evil. Evil that disguises itself with goodness. Even the Devil masquerades as an angel of Light. Our founding mothers & fathers fought off the tyranny of the British Crown to live as free People. They also did it for their posterity, us today. Many of them would be ashamed of us. Their efforts, i.e., our freedoms, have been taken for granted far too long. Our inactions and misguided actions have allowed an elite class of people to take almost total control of our government. It is never too late to take it back.
    What most concerns me about gun violence is the caffeine fueled and/or steroid juiced miss guided & poorly trained egomaniacs out on the streets wearing uniforms, (or suits), badges & guns beating & killing people for standing up for their rights. The bad cops out there are more of a threat to society than any mentally ill person. What aggravates the situation is that the good cops do not keep them in check, except in rare occasions. Piled on top of that is the corrupt courts that trample on our rights and add insult to injury. Not to mention the politicians that pass legislation that is an obvious infringement on our rights. All these people take an oath to protect & defend the Constitution. An oath they take to the People they serve. Most of them have no idea what it means. It means our rights trump their safety & security. They chose to work in these professions to serve the public. Instead they serve the government, or the elitist top 1%, & its tyrannical rights violating statutes, codes & regulations siphoning off our hard earned fruits of labor with taxes, fines & levies.
    The populace is oppressed. At all levels we are experiencing some sort of tyranny, and it makes us angry, afraid and many left feeling helpless & hopeless. People wonder how it has come to this and what we are to do about it. Many believe nothing can be done. They have the ÔÇ£You canÔÇÖt fight city hallÔÇØ mentality. I believe these feelings, due to the oppression that is experienced, are the chief causes of people snapping & going on a shooting rampage, or murder spree. They are otherwise sane, yet disturbed people that will act out in anger for seemingly no good reason, or sink into seclusion. They will rant & rave and create trouble for themselves & others. They are the loner, or member of some extremist group, or the quite one, the strange one that doesnÔÇÖt fit in, etc., etc. All of this can be prevented, but not overnight, nor by a new piece of legislation. Ever since there has been government, it has not been able to control the conscience of man, nor his actions and it never will. Laws do not & cannot create a safe & secure society whether it has guns, or not. It cannot dictate morally, nor the sense of right & wrong. History has taught us this. Many of us have never learned it though.
    We live in a violent world with temporary moments of peace & security. Those whom believe that they can feel safe & secure just as soon as we get the guns out of the wrong peopleÔÇÖs hands are living in a delusional fantasy world. If history has taught us anything, guns or no guns, someone with murderous intent, for whatever reason they have justified in their mind, will commit murder with whatever means they have available. The only way I know to protect, my loved ones & myself in todayÔÇÖs world, is to get educated, trained & armed. Some may say that makes me mentally ill. Perhaps we all are. It is a very crazy world we live in. IÔÇÖd rather be crazy on the side of defending my rights, my family, loved ones & myself. Than to let the tyrants of this world run rough shod over us and be the next Nazi Germany, or Communist Russia. If you ask me what needs to be done about getting guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. IÔÇÖd say nothing at all. They have the same rights & protections under the law as you & I do.

  34. any “Red Law” should be unconstitutional under the 5th amendment, “nor be deprived of Life, Liberty or Property, without due process of the law”.
    any attempt to take ANY right, including the 2nd amendment MUST be conducted with due process and allow the accused to confront any witnesses against him. as Ben Franklin said ÔÇ£Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.ÔÇØ Most of the mass shooters were on law enforcement’s radar long before they acted, removing 2nd amendment rights will NOT prevent a mass murder from carrying out his deed, he will steal firearms, or go the ghost gun route, or simply build an explosive device.
    mental health is the issue, NOT firearms.

  35. Great set of questions! This is a very slippery slope and I can see where someone could easily be unduly judged before an actual crime has been committed. Then there is the due process issue to contend with. Under what circumstance can a persons rights, any of them afforded by the Constitution, be presumed guilty prior to actually committing a crime?

    I certainly have argued in the past that “guns don’t kill, people do”. The mechanism used to kill someone can be almost anything: car, truck, knife, hammer, pen, gun, ax, fist, feet, etc, this list is long.

    Perhaps there needs to be a mechanism that tracks behavior, speech and other things that starts a record of behavior that is suspect. Insanity takes many forms, some instantaneous and some over many years. Is it logical to say that a violent act, of any kind needs swift, severe and immediate consequences. However, as I write these words, these thoughts seem presumptive and very harmful if misplaced or misused.

    The other important element to this discussion is how far should our society take such concepts. One final thought for me. Perhaps we need to introduce a mental health education and identification process into our school curriculum /system that develops a sense of human thought and decision making?

  36. I’ve always preferred Ohio’s statues on the matter. Anyone who was adjudged an alcoholic or mentally incompetent by a court of record or certified mentally ill by doctor is prohibited from owning, possessing or purchasing a firearm. This was my understanding of the law in Ohio upon my graduating from the police academy in the mid ’60s.

    The problem with that, as I remember, was there was no established procedure for reporting into a central database or register, thereby rendering it ineffectual..

  37. Majority of the shrinks,psychologists,sociologists have their own warped[hoplophobic] agendas.Be damn careful what you say around them

  38. The only truly correct answer is predicated on the premise that we are free citizens and our rights are not to be violated. Commit a ctim, get locked up. Pay your debt to society and get released, get your gun back. If you are too dangerous or crazy to be free in our society, you should remain locked up. And absolutely no loss of gun rights without due process, held to a very high level of proof.

    1. There are people that, if they receive proper therapy, and if we could keep wepons away from them, could function and perhaps even get better. Why not try to come up with a working plan where we can restrict a right or two and not have to strip them of all of their rights. The key here is a working plan.

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