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View Diary: Please consider the following (42 comments)

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  •  I am more uncomfortable (3+ / 0-)

    with the idea of tracking people who have "disqualifying mental conditions." Which would -- it seems to me -- be the other side  of what you are talking about.

    Among the considerations: "disqualifying mental conditions" would need definition. Who should do the defining? HHS? Congress? Private physicians on a case-by-case basis? Mental illness of some stripe is not rare; depression is the common cold of mental illness, for example, and by some estimates hits 1/3 of us at some time in our lives. Some depressed people have committed horrendous violence against themselves or others. The vast majority don't. That just one example. Physicians can disagree about diagnoses, and beyond diagnosis can disagree about who is likely to be a danger, and they can be wrong. Which diagnoses, and at what level of severity, would then count as "disqualifying mental conditions"?  How much faith would you put in the DSM manual, which the medical profession does not unanimously think is perfect, and includes some dubious (to me) things like "Oppositional Defiant Disorder" (in children, it's just the first example that comes to mind) but not sociopathy? How wide a net do you want to cast?

    Then: would the diagnosis of any one physician disqualify a person from gun ownership, or would you require two or more to agree, as when a person is found legally incapable of managing his or her own affairs? Would people wishing to purchase any gun have to submit a doctor's certificate to prove they don't have a disqualifying mental condition? Would they have to submit re-certifications at intervals to keep the weapon? And/or would you like to see a national registry of persons who have been diagnosed with disqualifying mental conditions to compare with gun purchase requests? Once a person got on such a list, supposing the person’s mental health improved, how could he or she get off the list?  Would any physician be willing to certify that they are no longer a danger, or would self-protective caution rule? Many mental illnesses can be controlled very well with the help of medication. At the same time, how much faith do we put in prescribed treatments -- which as helpful as they can be, are sometimes imperfect or even go badly wrong? Would persons diagnosed with disqualifying mental illness, well controlled by medication (such lthium for manic-depression), be required by law to comply with their medical provider's recommendations for treatment and submit to regular blood tests to prove it? Who tracks all this?

    Then: If the government maintains a list, or other records, on persons who have been diagnosed with "disqualifying" mental illness, is it humanly possible to prevent the eventual use of such records for other purposes than gun control, causing further stigma? Will  not persons who suspect they may suffer from a mental condition be even more intimidated than now to seek help, knowing that this might get their name on a list? Or are they – and their families – all the more likely to sink into denial and/or paranoia? Finally, would not classifying citizens in this manner be potentially subject to abuse by some future administration, as happened in Soviet Russia, where political dissidents were labeled mentally ill and in this manner shunted out of political activity and normal life?

    I don't have answers, you understand, but I think the overarching question is whether, to close  loopholes that might possibly let some persons with mental issues at some time get hold of a gun, it would be worth while to...go there.

    •  This. I couldn't get past "disqualifying mental (2+ / 0-)

      Condition" either. I read the diary. It was blessedly short. But the entire premise on which it's built raises way too many questions and problems for me to take any of the rest of it seriously.
       There's just nothing to talk about if we don't first answer the types of questions you raise in this comment.

      Thanks. I don't have many answers to this issue, frankly. But I'm not sure opening mental health records is one of them.

      •  think of Cho and Virginia Tech (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        a person who hallucinates is not someone you want with firearms

        a person who is classified as a possible danger to themselves or others is more difficult, although it is the standard for involuntary commitment in most states

        the premise of the diary is the acknowledgement by Wayne LaPierre that the mentally ill should not be able to obtain weapons.  The overwhelming majority of Americans would agree.

        Once you get that agreement, then the question becomes not merely preventing them from purchasing, but also from possessing.

        We already in general accept the premise that convicted felons should not have firearms.  But we do not have a database that can be checked for that purpose.

        If a gun store is going to be required to check conditions, then the entire process breaks down if gun shows or private transfers are exempt from the same standard.

        And the issue of guns already in possession when a person enters a status that would prevent him from purchasing becomes equally relevant.

        "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

        by teacherken on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 04:12:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, hell, if you're gonna get all (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      analytical on us ... ;)

      We might also pay some attention to the psychiatrists & psychologists who are jumping up and down and waving their arms to tell us "YO! This isn't something we can do without a false positive rate way beyond what's ever been acceptable for denying a constitutional right." Which they've been saying for decades.

      Now, if we make it not a constitutional right ... backing away slowly ...

    •  I also am concerned about this, as well (0+ / 0-)

      Which mental health conditions?  

      What if the person recovers?   Are their rights still restricted?  

      Do we rely on self-reporting, or in addition to tracking gun ownership, are we also tracking mental health diagnoses?  

      Is severity of the illness taken into account?

      Does it matter if the illness is being effectively managed by medication?    For instance, a person with epilepsy regains their right to drive, if they can demonstrate that their seizures are effectively controlled through medicatiqon.

      The 'controlled substances' list, and the 'no fly' list, are train wrecks, and I am not eager for the government to start a new list.  

      Should I avoid seeking mental health treatment for fear of being on a "list" and having my rights restricted?

      •  There's an app for that. And as long as you (0+ / 0-)

        just take all your prescribed meds, as long as your double-vision does not affect your ability to aim, you should always be good to go.

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