Many here know of my membership in the RKBA Group and the fact I've never felt the need to own a firearm. I'm also a transgendered woman that believes in Equity Under Law for all Americans, no special privileges, no special rights for anyone. We all get treated the same under law. If I'm to be prosecuted for a crime in a certain way, then so should all Americans, especially our LEO.
New York, where I live, passed the "SAFE ACT" this past year. An overreaction to the Sandy Hook tragedy. We've had some time now to reflect upon its results. Did it stop any mass shootings? Did it stop mentally ill people from acting out in a violent manner? Did we save anyone, especially the children?
I'd like to focus on the regulations in the SAFE ACT pertaining to mental illness. I got into an abusive "discussion" with another poster here that demanded this from me:
Go ahead and defend the right of convicted felons, mentally unstable people, and people with criminal backgrounds to keep their guns. I dare you.This isn't to call this person out but to address the issue despite his bullying.
Follow me over the fold to "see just how loopy" I really am.
First off: Did our “common sense” gun-control legislation, more commonly called, The SAFE Act do what it was claimed?
It's clear from the growing opposition, as people begin to understand it's true depth and implications it will only serve to criminalize more New Yorkers for no other reason because we can and do nothing to reduce gun crimes.
Out of all the applications and permits that have been processed and issued here in NYS, they've only acted against 11 people since the law went into effect, (12 if you count the man here in Buffalo that was illegally striped of his firearm based on a prescription list). Now, they don't breakdown how those 11 ppl were "acted upon", were they current permit holders or applicants, it doesn't clarify.
Surprisingly, from link above, we find out that there are many more groups against these "common sense regulations", more specifically the mental health requirements, than I could have imagined:
-The New York State Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors
-The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
-The New York State Psychiatric Association
-the New York Civil Liberties Union
-New York State Nurses Association
The New York State Nurses Association has come out against this new law for very specific reasons:
“To promote the criminalization of patients with mental illness under this provision is an injustice.”________________________
I was asked three separate questions and really would like to expand on the mental health part in a bit:
1. Defend the right of "convicted felons"...to keep their guns.
2. Defend the right of "mentally unstable"...to keep their guns.
3. Defend the right of "people with criminal backgrounds"...to keep their guns.
The answers to questions one and three are very simple.
1. If you've been convicted of a violent felony, then you probably shouldn't be allowed around things that go boom. I'd go further and push to deny these violent felons the privilege to drive a car or heavy machinery or gasoline. If they're that dangerous, what could they do with a Monster Truck or a dump truck during recess in a schoolyard? Or a farmers market, or five gallons of gasoline in a social club?
That's my only clarification to "convicted felon", that the conviction be for a violent act. Everything else is arbitrary. Each State and our Federal Gov't has it's own standards of what a "felony" can be. Possession of too many drugs, say a half gram of coke, you're a felon, period.
Here's a good link for us laypeople to understand what a "felony" is.
And to be complete in this explanation: I'd expect that any convicted felon, excepting "violent felons" have all their constitutionally protected rights restored upon completion/repayment of their "debt to society". If you've been sentenced to jail for 3 1/2 yrs and have been released, your debt is paid in full and your rights must be restored.
3. If you have a criminal background should you be denied the right to keep and bear arms? NO. That's my simple answer, see above for my only exceptions. Besides, as of 2011, there were over 65 million Americans with criminal backgrounds. And this arbitrary and vague "reasonable gun regulation" is anything but a dragnet to deny millions of Americans their rights.
"Oh, Mrs. Bunnell, I see you were arrested during the OWS protests, NO GUN FOR YOU, ever!" "What's that, you say you were just walking down the street trying to get into your apartment building and the police arrested you?" "PLUEASE, the Police never arrest someone whom hasn't done anything wrong!" "Come now, Mrs. Bunnell, your background check shows they charged you with resisting arrest and assaulting them!" "The standard is very clear: If you have a criminal background, no guns!"
On to the heart of why I felt compelled to write this diary.
2. The question I was asked was to defend the ownership of firearms: first, for "the mentally unstable", then to "the mentally ill".
Now I have responded, directly and indirectly to this question many times and I'll borrow most of what I've stated previously from this posting and expand on it a bit:
When it comes to the term "mentally ill", I have a personal problem with that being used a some "legitimate" metric to assess a persons proclivity for future crimes or violence. Even the NYS Psychiatric Association doesn't like it.
“'Likelihood’ isn’t a standard that we work with. We are not very good at predicting violence at any point in the future,” said Dr. Glen Martin, president of the New York State Psychiatric Association. The association has submitted a complaint to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, charging that the New York law may violate HIPAA.As a transgendered woman, my entire life has been marred by the arbitrary standards of our medical professionals, up until this past December, I was deemed mentally ill for being transgendered. MY entire adult life has been shaped by this arbitrary diagnosis. But since they've retracted it, I'm all all better now!
Before gender dysphoria was ever officially defined, categorized or truly acknowledged, being gay was a mental illness and many of my first therapists told me I was just gay and couldn't accept it. Sadly I believed them and failed miserably at being a gay man. I became an alcoholic and was arrested over 6 times relating to it. It was better to be drunk than face the pain and emptiness I felt.
I understood that when I was "diagnosed with a mental illness", many avenues of employment would automatically be denied me, including being a teacher, homosexuals weren't allowed to be around children. And I'd be denied rights others exercised, one of them being "the right to keep and bear arms." This would automatically deny me employment in the Air Force. You see, I really wanted to learn how to fly and after 2 yrs of college, hiding my "gayness" was second nature, I hadn't been arrested yet and I almost signed on the dotted line. At that pivotal moment I realized I couldn't envision myself as closeted gay man, I wasn't. It was that simple (or so I thought). I gave up that dream and tried to find the courage to seek out a therapist whom could help me. Could I become the woman I believed I was? I had read, in passing, the stories of Christine Jorgensen and I decided to go back to college. I then searched through the entire college library, it wasn't too hard, there were only 4 books on the subject dammit, ;)
Needless to say, I slowly but surely created my own path to happiness. The thoughts and understandings of the stigma associated with being "diagnosed with a mental illness" never left me. This is well over 30 yrs ago, surprising how time flies.
This brings us to this today. We are now criminalizing and penalizing people whom may have a "mental illness". Does this mean in all my years being incorrectly labeled as such that I was truly a threat to others? NOPE. I've been clean and sober for almost 25 yrs and living and being the woman I always thought I was.
Tomorrow they could claim that anyone whom argues with another person or anyone whom doesn't trust the government, must also be mentally ill and banned as well.
Hell, many have claimed that the very thoughts of wishing to own a firearm is a mental illness. Ain't that a kick in the teeth?!!!!
Does any of this sound familiar???
Secretary General of the Global Initiative on Psychiatry Robert van Voren is convinced that recent Soviet history should become public knowledge in order to immunize society against possible recurrences of the Soviet practice of politically motivated psychiatric abuse. This problem remains highly relevant, as vividly illustrated by the attempt of Russian authorities to “hide away” Col. Budanov in a psychiatric hospital.Chinese Dissidents Committed to Mental Hospitals
I traveled to Wuhan to talk with another Chinese activist, Liu Feiyue, but he was under house arrest. Liu heads an NGO that is currently following 100 cases of wrongful psychiatric detention. Over the last three years, he says he knows of 500 more whistleblowers and protesters who have been detained in mental hospitals.What is that you say, "That can't happen here!" I beg to differ:
“While the police may bring someone who is potentially at risk to themselves or others to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation, they have no say over who is admitted or for how long,” Frank Barry, a spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg, said this week. “That’s up to the mental health professionals at the hospital.”Recovery from "schizophrenia" and other "psychotic disorders"
Many Democrats decided 9/11 was a conspiracy, probably because they didn’t want to get sucked into supporting costly national changes designed to confront terrorism, just as many Republicans decided global warming is a conspiracy, because they don’t want to support government regulations designed to combat it.You see, anyone can be arbitrarily labeled "mentally ill" and for someone to "justify" that diagnosis as irrational thinking "filling a void" or whatever.
I will never support any "reasonable gun regulations" that criminalizes mental illness, as we have done here in New York.
Well, there you have them: my answers.
Are we really able to tell if a person will become violent sometime in the future, obviously not. Must we implement arbitrary, ever changing, "standards" that could result in any American being denied a constitutionally protected right, including the right to keep and bear arms, because of fear and loathing?
How do we protect ourselves against the "mentally unstable" or mentally ill"? How does anyone know you're "mentally unstable"? Is that when I rant and rave at the driver whom cut me off while I had 3 children in the car? Is it when I bitch to my therapist about our criminal government?
WE ALREADY HAVE the tools in place to keep mentally unstable or mentally ill people from hurting others:
Here in New York, you can be held for 72 hours for "evaluation" if it is believed you are a threat to yourself or others. What more needs to be done to satiate these gun control advocates???
I'll leave you with this last article to think about:
It is worth pointing out, as Dr. Michael Stone, a forensic psychiatrist, did in a recent front-page story in the New York Times, that "most mass murders are done by working-class men who've been jilted, fired, or otherwise humiliated."
They noted in their piece, "People with serious mental disorders ... account for only about 4 percent of violent crimes overall."
But I am opposed to a broad reporting provision in any law, whether state or federal, that might cast a pall over and have a chilling effect on the relationship between clinicians and patients.
We have to be able to speak freely in our psychiatrist's office. That is as inalienable a right as anything our founders intended.