Strong arguments are being made that a mentally incompetent person should not own a gun. I totally agree. That being said, I believe that also makes a case that a person judged mentally incompetent should not be allowed to vote. ed
I fully agree that a mentally incompetent person should not own a firearm.
But I also firmly believe that they must have full due process of law and be officially adjudicated in a court of law of being declared incompetent.
The problem right now is that health care laws are moving towards having certain criteria strip your rights at the whim of a health care bureaucrat.
If someone wants to voluntarily declare themselves mentally incompetent, they need to be informed of what rights they will lose. This is a sore point with the VA getting vets to declare themselves as being mentally disabled, then later telling them they cannot own a gun. Some believe they only had issues that affected them from working or holding a job,only to find out that the VA interprets their mental disability payments as declaring themselves to be incompetent to the point of not being able to own a firearm.
This is why rights need to be protected, not shuffled aside only to have their loss revealed after the fact.
I agree with BIO. Also with Shooting Coach on this. This is what Obummer's agenda is. You like guns, you are mentally unstable, and therefore you cannot own a gun. That's why when they ask you if you own a gun or guns, you say no. All this 'big brother' shxx is undermining this country. Obamacare is their means to control society. It is a small step to socialism. Remember Germany in the 30's.
The idea of mentally incompetent people having guns has been discussed on this site many times. As far as i can remember, only Brian has a way of determining that incompetence.
He says that before guns are taken away from mentally incometant people they:
"must have full due process of law and be officially adjudicated in a court of law of being declared incompetent."
Ok. So are these lawyers and judges to make that judgement based on their nonexistent years of mental health training or do they just rely on their "good" judgement. My guess is that they would seek the advice of mental health professionals and that brings us right back to having mental health professionals effectively making the determination. It is hard to believe that there would be many judges that would be willing to ignore the advice of a mental health professional. To much professional risk
It is my guess that with few exceptions, few of the individuals involved in gun killings would have been judged "mentally incompetent" by any court of law.
And legalizing marijuana makes for more mental incompetency, how convienient, however I recently read some old sixties material about one religious sect that required it's members to use hash as a loyality thing....
Now that i have amended by post, I hope you feel better. You must admit, or maybe not, that there is little difference in the opinionsbetween you and Brian. And yes, i do have a hard time telling you apart, especially since you both seem to frequently post on the same thread and without bringing anything new to the conversation. You just reinforce each other. It's called an echo chamber.
i believe that trusting anyone and that certainly includes lawyers and judges, without mental health training to determine mental incompetence is "nuts" Even mental health professionals with years of experience have a hard time determining "mental incompetence" or predicting if an individual, who has not had a history of violent behavior, will become violent in the future.
As i said in my posting,
It is my guess that with few exceptions, few of the individuals involved in homicidal violence would have been judged "mentally incompetent" by any court of law."
"So now the courts are rigged."
This was in reference to my posting.
I never said that. I know from your past comments about my posts that you like to indicate that I have said things I have not. So, please publish the quotes. That we can all be reminded of what I have said.
You asked in your response to my post what my solution was to the problem of mentally incompetent people having guns. Here's what I think.
First, there is no absolute solution. We just have to try to do the best for the greatest number of people.
Second, in regards to mental health issues, the decision of who should not be able to have guns, that is have their rights "infringed", should be made by a panel of mental health professionals with a long history of dealing with these issues. Certainly not lawyers or judges, who's training is legal.
Third, i think the designation of mental incompetence is much too narrow. Using mental incompetence as a standard would, I believe, eliminate very few of the individuals that even you and i might agree should not have guns.
Fourth, I believe that infringement decision should be made with great caution for the protection of both the individual and the general public. That would mean, for example, the actions of anyone who has threatened someone with unjustified violence as judged by a court, would be subject to having their actions review by mental health professionals who would have the right to suspend the individual's guns rights for some period of time. Of course anyone who actually commits an act of violence would also have the circumstances reviewed. My attempt here is to protect the individual and the rest of us.
Fifth, the activities and circumstances of anyone who has ever been in a mental institution, either voluntarily or involuntarily, would be reviewed by the above panel of health professionals.
Etc. I think you get the idea and yes, it is probably true that some people would unjustifiable have their gun rights taken away. As, now some individuals who should not have guns, do legally have them. Nothing is perfect, i want to err on the side of caution.
Also, please describe what procedures under a "due process of law and be officially adjudicated in a court of law" you would suggest for taking away guns from those that already have them and have been determined "mentally incompetent"? Please be specific, annual review, search warrants, protective storage?
If you choose to respond, please detail what you don't like, why, and how you would do better. If you merely respond by saying that I am just a "liberal" trying to take away guns from Americans, you will add nothing to the conversation. Perhaps to save you some time, it is true that I do want to take away guns from some individuals. That at least puts us on the same page for this one point.
Oh good grief. You just said the judge would not rule fairly. What the hell do you think a rigged court is?
Point by point rebuttal:
First. I agree as long as our RIGHTS are protected. RIGHTS must NOT EVER be given up as an expedient for safety, whether real or imagined.
Second. You're whining about unfair judges and want your RIGHTS to be determined by a panel of people who have no legal background? HELL NO. This is why BOTH professions must be involved, as a check and balance.
Third. Please provide examples of where you draw your line.
Fourth. Is not that option already available to the police and the DA if they feel someone is mentally incompetent? And as first point of contact they should be the ones deciding whether pursuing this is justified. No blanket, automatic reviews. This needs a check and balance.
Fifth. If you've been involuntarily or voluntarily COMMITTED to a mental institution you no longer have gun rights.
(Sixth) I oppose "err(ing) on the side of caution" and stripping rights away from any law abiding citizen. This is why we need judicial protections from quasi-legal medical and mental health people making decisions. Who is to say in a very liberal, anti-gun city that they won't "err on the side of caution" for nearly every case before them? Even if you could sue to restore your rights, how much money is that going to cost to do so?
(Seventh) Apparently you do not understand how a court procedure works. This is why you arbitrarily and capriciously dismiss the court system in this process.
When a person is accused, and that's the word, accused, of being mentally incompetent, the mental professionals present their evidence to a legal representative of the state, usually a district attorney. The DA brings the case before a judge. The DA presents the evidence. The mental health professionals can be called to testify by both the DA and by the lawyer or public defender of the person accused of being mentally incompetent. The mental health people ARE NOT cut out of this process. They are part of the process. Apparently you are having a very difficult time grasping this concept.
I want to see firearms out of the hands of the mentally incompetent and unbalanced. I am not willing to give up our constitutionally protected rights to achieve that. The solution MUST work within the framework of the law or it will wind up being a tyrannical law that can AND WILL be abused.
You really need to rethink your position on this, because you want to give a blank check to a government and to a group of health care providers, who are generally hostile to law abiding gun owners, without due course of law for protection of their rights. I don't know if you have not thought this through, or if you genuinely believe our Constitution and Bill of Rights is obsolete.
Clearly you have more faith in lawyers and judges analyzing the testimony of health professionals than i do. Lawyers and judges under the best of circumstances are trained and skilled in the law. And, in the end, it will have to be a judge that makes the decision. As elected or politically appointed officials, they are must more likely to bend to political winds. Or, were you thinking of everybody concerned taking a vote.
I think the big problem here is that you refuse to deal with the likelihood that most violent crimes are committed by people who would never been considered "mentally incompetent" That's most likely true for the perpetrators of horrendous massacres we have had in the last few years. The perpetrators had mental issues, but could hardly be called mentally incompetent. It's only after the shooting that they are judged "mentally incompetent".
My guess is that you have met, and I certainly have, many individuals who were just "nuts" but would not be judged as mentally incompetent by any court.. Think about the guy who shot Chris Kyle and his friend. "Simple" PTSD
In regards to those committed to mental institutions, you said"
"if you've been involuntarily or voluntarily COMMITTED to a mental institution you no longer have gun rights."
i am going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you meant that they lose their gun rights while they are incarcerated. Or, perhaps you really meant that they lose those right forever. Which one?
Under current policies, which likely differ by state, once someone get out of a mental institution, they sometimes only need a single doctor to say he's fine and he gets his guns back. No experienced mental health review necessary. Sometimes they don't even need any outside opinions. For example, check Connecticut law on this issue.
I did notice that you slightly modified you statement by adding the word "unbalanced" to incompetent.
Although unlikely, it might work with mental health professionals, but it would surely never work with any judge or attorney I know. I doubt there are any laws built around the word "unbalanced"
You said I want
"to give a blank check to a government and to a group of health care providers, "
i am assuming that under the system you describe, a judge would have the final decision about gun rights. You did not mention a jury and since we are not talking about criminals (yet) my guess is that is not an issue. Remember local judges, whether elected or appointed are human and subject to enormous political pressures and that would be particularly true for gun rights issues.
in summary, even if we used your system for determining mental competence to own a gun, it would leave out the vast number of people that use guns violently and unnecessarily.. How do you plan on dealing with those people?
i notice that you still haven't posted my quote where you claim I said that the "courts are rigged" I will eagerly wait. I know if may be some time while you search all of my posting. Good luck.
I believe I have answered all of your questions. So, if I have not, please repeat them. If I have, please answer mine before you comment on my responses to your post.
i said:that in reference to Brian's postings, you don't bring:
"anything new to the conversation"
So, please review and list at least some of the subjects and dates where you disagreed with Brian. Should be interesting.
i think you are a little to sensitive.
I am going to add the word "jerk" to the list of name you have called me.
So far, the complete list of names you have called me is as follows:dumb, a loon, a moron, coward, brain washed, feeble minded, mentally ill, believes in perverse and unnatural laws and hinted that I am a "liberal" (the ultimate insult on this site), a Communist and dim witted, lunacy and loser. You are on a roll although I would point out that several of your insults are redundant, dumb, feeble minded, dim witted, lunacy. i will add jerk..
It's too bad many of you cannot have a debate over an important issue without respecting each others opinion. I know, if it differs from yours it must be wrong and that person must be abused. At least that seems the mind set.
The only people who are in the dubious position to judge a person's mental state are those being treated by a health care specialist, ie, psychiatrist or psychologist.
Unfortunately I know several parents who have turned their children over to health care specialists because they have exhibited anti social behavior. Some of these kids are suicidal. Some have made threats of killing their parents or others. The list goes on and on.
So now we have a problem with the health care professionals. Since most mental competancy tests are subjective what is the psychiatrist to do? We also have HIPPA laws in place. Report the suicidal/homicidal child to police? Possibly get sued because he shared priveledged information?
There are no foolproof means to solve the problem of mental competancy. Certainly no one on this forum is going to solve the problem. I'm a health care professional and as such I have to make decisions that effect the treatment of patients. Is my decision 100% correct? Usually but not always. There is a little thing called "clinical judgement." Certainly I think my treatment plans are valid but another professional may approach a problem differently. His opinion is just as valid as mine. It's the results that count.
Mental competancy and gun ownership is certainly going to be a hot and growing topic. It's important to keep an open mind, and we, as gun owners have an obligation to keep the ship on an even keel.
In closing, I have a father who had Alzheimers (now deceased). He owned guns but couldn't find his way home. Should his guns be removed? His drivers license certainly was.
Remember it's important to have intelligent discussion. Your mind is like a parachute. Doesn't work unless it's open.
The court system is there to PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS via due process of law.
The judge is there to hear evidence presented by the state advocate who wants to take your rights away, and the person who is affected is represented by their advocate.
The mental health professionals give testimony and can be questioned by either side.
This protects your rights.
Please tell me how a panel of health professionals are going to protect your rights when they decide if you are stable enough to own guns? Especially if some or all of them are biased against gun ownership?
So Brian what is your suggestion? Who is going to determine which people should be scrutinized?
How does a person get in front of a judge in the first place to see "if his rights are being infringed?"
Like I said I am and know a bunch of doctors. The gun issue is split pretty much 50/50 at least within my circle of friends. Matter of fact a bunch of us get together and shoot various disciplines frequently.
Your assertion that most docs have a bias against guns is not correct, at least in my experience.
Perhaps you should consider that you are the one with the bias. We all have individual biases. That's not a bad thing. It simply makes you who you are.
I don't think this a black and white issue. I certainly don't have any fabulous solutions. If you do please share.
I suggest exactly what I outlined. I do not know what is so difficult about the concept of protecting people's rights.
As far as bias of doctors, I mentioned that in rebuttal to the paintbrushing of judges as biased. But since you mention it, there IS a bias with some in the medical field. You don't need to look further than JAMA, NEJM and the ridiculous "guns in the home are 41x more likely to kill you" study horribly made up by a doctor with the latest junk science. In fact, I recall when the CDC declared guns were a disease. Yeah, that's the folks I want making mental health decisions affecting people's rights.
The bottom line is this: The proposal is to allow easier stripping of gun rights based upon the whim of a health care professional. Please show me HOW you are going to protect the individual's rights. Unless there is a system in place (and there is, the court system), then congratulations, you've just reinvented the Soviet system of mental health care.
The concept of protecting people's rights through the Judicial system is not hard to understand. What is hard is how you plan on achieving it. The courts are overcrowded now with many alleged criminals waiting for trial.
Now you would foist upon them the additional burden of determining mental competency? What exactly triggers such a hearing? After all there has no been no criminal activity.
The fact that you are ignoring is that there are no objective tests for competency. It's all sujective, and as such, could easily be refuted. I will give you that in some extreme cases a diagnosis can be made with a pretty good probability of certainly but that's not we're discussing.
We are discussing intercepting potential dangerous kids and adults before a crime. So what do you use as a trigger? A psychiatrists insights, a tip from a neighbor, a soldier that's been diagnosed with PTSS or the fact that someone is taking psycotropic drugs. Since 20 to 25% of the population is taking those drugs you can't use that as a precipitator.
So now we need a panel of experts. Who is going to pay for that Do we need yet another government agency?
You could use the anology that you have a neighbor who is a heavy drinker and drives after imbiding on a regular basis. You report this person to the police. The police are going to say that unless they catch him in the act there is nothing they can do.
Even if little Joe has admitted to his shrink that he wants to kill his parents then what? Perhaps the psychitrist reports that to the police and little Joe gets pulled in front of a judge. Then the judicial system steps in, Little Joe's father doesn't want Joe's guns taken away because they've hunted together and this is probably just a "phase." So little Joe's Dad hires a good lawyer who then hires an expert witness to refute the findings. There are plenty of professional expert witnesses that can make a doctor look silly under oath and the child doesn't loose his guns.
Little Joe's father decides that maybe a bonding trip is in order so he takes his son deer hunting. Bad choice. Daddy ends up with a 30 caliber hole in his head because little Joe did want to kill his Dad and "mistakenly thought his father was a deer."
I can think of a dozen examples of things like that happening without thinking very hard. So my conclusion is that there must be a better way than yours to keep the insanity in check. It simply won't work because your concept is flawed and the courts do not have the expertise or time to deal with every case of allegged incompetency.
As for your comments about the medical profession I would be interested in how many times you've discussed this with doctors. In any large group of people there are going to be extremists whether it be the medical profession, lawyers or trapshooters. Those people are sediment that eventually falls to the bottom and are ignored by the more rational.
As I stated in my first post there are no easy answers. I give you credit for coming up with a plan although I think it lacks practicality. I don't think anything I write is going to change your mind one whit so I'm going end my part of this discussion and go point up the checkering on my latest 1911 build.
Doctors...some biased some not. If you were judged incompetent by a biased doctor you would have to go to court with your own doctor at your own expense to prove otherwise and put the first doctor on the stand to determine his or her bias. Those proposing this know this all to well and figure that they can eliminate potential gun owners. It is just another step on infringement like eliminating lead for bullets as in California. The latest to hit the news is to determine mental incompetency in early grade school. Are parents to go to the expense to prove otherwise as in the case aforementioned? I believe the way to fight back is to say if you are judged mentally incompetent to own a gun you are also too incompetent to make a decision on voting. ed