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Even the NRA agrees that a person with mental illness should not be able to purchase a gun.

But what if a person already has a gun and is diagnosed with a disqualifying mental condition?  Are we going to allow that person to continue to have access to guns?


Because if you agree that person should NOT have access to guns, then we would have to know that person has a gun.

Which means that every gun would have to be registered.

So let's acknowledge that we need to communicate appropriately when people have mental instability, just as we should if a person has a restraining order against or a domestic violence complaint.

Which means all guns need to be registered, or else the system breaks down.

And NO gun transfer should be allowed until the the purchaser clears the necessary background checks -  disqualifying criminal record, disqualifying mental condition, a restraining order or domestic violence complaint.  That needs to apply to private transfers and gun shows.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (30+ / 0-)

    "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 Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:22:26 PM PST

  •  And we need sufficient resources to enforce (16+ / 0-)

    the law if such a law is passed.

    One way the Republicans try to avoid government oversight is to not adequately fund the appropriate governmental programs, making it impossible for the very few inspectors to adequately monitor those being regulated.  

  •  At least as stringent rules as cars. Including a (7+ / 0-)

    practical test.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:34:29 PM PST

  •  Also I For One Welcome Our NRA Allies in Expanding (12+ / 0-)

    mental health care support and diagnostic services through the ACA, Medicaid and other health programs and agencies.

    With the lobbying support from the NRA, along with their push for gun registration so that as you say we can turn our focus effectively away from the healthy law-abiding gun owner to those who should be barred, I think we can build an effective lasting consensus on gun rights and controls.

    I think I'll phone them in the morning.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:40:08 PM PST

  •  Can't limit to gun owner (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gator, Chi, bhut jolokia

    Does gun purchaser have anyone in their household with a mental illness?  Or any other disqualifying reasons?  Basically, eliminating straw men or allowing access to other household members.  And gun owners should responsible, as well, for whatever crimes are done with their gun.

    Purchasers should be required to show they can operate it adequately on a periodic basis, as well as being rescreened.  And each gun should be fired and bullets from that gun be put into a database for law enforcement investigation.

    "There is no barrier of people's acceptance. The only barrier is the media. Remember what people cannot see or hear, they cannot think about." - liner notes of Soft Cell's 'The Art of Falling Apart'.

    by dugjxn on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:45:47 PM PST

  •  I guess we should register computers (0+ / 0-)

    and put FBI monitoring software on them just in case there's illegality afoot there.


  •  Close the gun show loophole (9+ / 0-)

    but I like your broader control of no transfers without background checks.

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:04:17 PM PST

  •  While I agree... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kay Observer2

    ...with all you've said, it might be wise to remember that Republicans, at least the Tea Party variety don't really want a government big enough to regulate anything at all...or even help in times of disaster if their recent behavior is any indication.

    Without leverage, you got nothing with this group.

    I am a 67 year old teacher...teaching computer applications in a Texas high school. I've already retired once but it didn't take.

    by 43yearsateacher on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:09:30 PM PST

  •  Got a cite for this? (0+ / 0-)
    Even the NRA agrees that a person with mental illness should not be able to purchase a gun.
    If this is now the NRA position I'd love to see a link, because that would be real news. That does not remotely represent the position long taken by NRA's lobbying arm -- for better or worse. They may pay lip service to expanding mental health services, and great if they do, but I'd bet a fair sum you won't see them supporting a legislative stance on possession anything like this.

    Perhaps some RKBAers can show up and explain their positions or the NRA's, but as I understand it, the lobbyists fought hard to make sure that only a tiny, tiny minority of those with mental illness would be restricted (adjudicated mentally incompetent or "defective" AND dangerous, IIRC, or unable to handle their affairs), and to make sure even those people faced the lowest possible bar to regaining their gun possession rights after losing them. See, e.g.:

    NRA on NICS



    There may be decent arguments for mass gun registration, but this isn't one of them -- it would be cheaper, more efficient, and less invasive to order searches of the homes of those few who fit the criteria that the NRA will allow to pass to restrict ownership on mental illness grounds.

    •  I have a cite (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Wayne LaPierre who stated in his latest speech that we should have a NAtional Database of folk with mental illness, to prevent them from owning guns.

      Wayne is quite a guy for expanding government power.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      by twigg on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 08:35:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Even if I take your recollection as a cite, (0+ / 0-)

        would you like to make a wager about what he/they will actually support? Really, I'm sure you know better, twigg. They pushed through an earmark of funds to aid in the restoration of possession rights to the mentally ill. Let's see their draft legislation & maybe I'll owe you the beverage of your choice. I'm pretty comfortable I won't.

        •  You asked for their position (0+ / 0-)

          all I did was let you know what he said.

          What they DO is a matter of complete indifference to me. They are not honest, I see no reason to even listen to them.

          I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
          but I fear we will remain Democrats.

          by twigg on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 09:01:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So, the premise of the diary is irrelevant. (0+ / 0-)

            OK, then.

            I asked for a cite to support teacherken's claim. I've looked for their position, and all I've turned up so far is what they've supported and what they've crowed about getting changed & passed. I'll take that as my evidence unless you've got a link to the speech you're referring to & it says otherwise. If you're suggesting that LaPierre's reference to a person

            so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can possibly ever comprehend them

            really means a "person with mental illness" as used in the diary, there's not much room for discussion, because we're operating from different knowledge bases about the number and nature of those with mental illness. I had hoped there was a more sensible response to my question to the diarist, or that he could be bothered to engage as you have. Oh, well.

  •  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?

  •  As is usual, sanity from teacherken (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Closing the gun show loophole would help.

    A waiting period of 1-4 weeks, even for shotguns would help.  If you wait until 2 days before your duck hunting trip to acquire your weapon you are a disorganized dumb-ass and should not have a firearm in the first place.

    As much as I could support a very large sales tax, inflating the price would act like prohibition and lead to a lucrative black market.

    Requiring a registered firearm dealer to complete citizen to citizen sales and the associated registration transfer would help.

    If the military and police forces don't need 39 round clips for a Glock, private citizens sure as hell don't need them.

    An AR15/M16 is a very nice all around rifle, but 30 round clips are not needed for hunting or target practice.

    Required training and testing for initial purchase and license with annual or bi-annual qualification for renewal would help.  At least make it as frequent as renewing your drivers license for crying out loud.  Failure would subject the owner to immediate confiscation/surrender of any and all firearms, ammunition, and accessories or risk the example penalty below.

    Raising the legal ownership age to 25 or 30, particularly for males, would help.  Renting an automobile while under 25 is far more difficult than purchasing a firearm at the same age.

    Placing a severe penalty for circumventing the rules would help.  I'm talking a real deterrent, say 10 years with no chance of parole for 1st offense, 20 years and no chance for 2nd offense, 40 years and no chance for 3rd offense regarding sales restrictions.

  •  Illinois (0+ / 0-)

    In Illinois we must have a FOID card or Firearm Owners Id.  To obtain this card the state police run a criminal background check and a mental health check.  If a citizen in Illinois commits a felony or violent misdemeanor the card is taken along with any weapons.  I sold a Kimber 1911 to someone I had never met last week.  In order to sell it I have to fill out a form with his name, address, FOID card number, and Expiration date.  I know that if he has his FOID card he has cleared his background check and has no history of mental illness as far as the state can determine.  The problem with much gun crime up here in Chicago is that most of the criminals are... well... criminals.  They do not have an FOID card and have obtained those weapons through illegal channels.  The paperwork I fill out does not need to be turned into anyone, but I must keep it for 20 years.  If that weapon is ever used in a crime they will come to me at which point I show them the paperwork proving that I no longer own that weapon.  At this point the police can follow the paper trail to find the owner of the weapon.  I guess my thought is that with a system like this you do not need gun registration or private background checks.  The FOID card is the background check.  I saw you posted a comment on my 2nd amendment post, you may think I am some crazy militia guy, but believe it or not most of us agree with you regarding having weapons in the hands of mentally ill or dangerous people.  

    •  In other words (0+ / 0-)

      you are just interested in putting as many guns as you can, "out there" --- with no liability for any damage they might do once out of your hands.

      If that weapon is ever used in a crime they will come to me at which point I show them the paperwork proving that I no longer own that weapon.
      Good for you, Mr. Patriot.
  •  please consider further (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As we saw in the Adam Lanza case, the person with a mental illness didn't have to purchase the gun to have access to the gun.   His mother was not a "straw purchaser".   She actually bought the guns for her own use, but shared them, and went to the shooting range with her son, allowing him to use her weapons.  

    So, to stop the mentally ill person from using a gun, which is the real objective, then you are not just talking about blocking gun ownership.   You are talking about blocking gun access.   You are talking about licensing gun users, even those who do not own firearms.

    And, then you are assuming that mentally ill person who uses a gun in order to commit mass murder is actually concerned with licensing laws.   The only way such laws are effective, are if they effectively BLOCK ACCESS, in a similar manner as liquor laws or laws pertaining to driving a vehicle, so that each person is criminally liable for allowing their gun to be used by a person who is not authorized to use a gun.  

    It has to be a law that makes it difficult in practice for a mentally ill person to gain access to a gun, because everyone who has access to the gun is preventing others from accessing it, out of fear of liability or prosecution.


  •  like automobiles (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In practical terms, it would probably be best if guns were managed like vehicles.  

    Gun ownership registered.   Gun use licensed only after required training.   Liability insurance required.    Yearly renewals required.

    However, it would be more difficult to enforce, since vehicles are very visible in use, and guns are invisible, so it's hard to ticket one that is "out of registration".   However, you could require that paperwork be filed to end a registration, and incur fines if the paperwork is not filed properly.

    However, the right to own (and presumably use) a gun is considered a "right", whereas there is apparently no right to the ability to travel, and that seems to make a difference in how gun ownership and use is managed.  Athough, I think that is a bit strange, in itself.  The right to travel ranks right up there with the right to free speech, for me, and if this right had been ennumerated, it might have curbed this "no fly list" nonsense.

    It seems crazy to turn just anyone loose with any gun, with no training required, but we do.  

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