14 June 2007

Congress!

When drafting a law to put an end to some crime, could you JUST ONCE check to see that it doesn't fuck the people who are NOT criminals?

This is why we gun folk get so bent out of shape about you worthless sacks. Every time you pass a law about guns, it creates an additional burden on me, the lawful gun owner, and doesn't have any effect at all on the criminal.

The latest push to add mental health records to the NICS check is a great example. What I expect to happen: A lot of people who have been successfully treated and are perfectly healthy mentally now are going to be denied purchase. A few people who have been successfully treated and are perfectly healthy mentally now may have their existing guns seized by the authorities. Fearing this, a large percentage of depressed people who own, or want to own, a gun will avoid getting treated for their disease for fear of having their rights taken away.

There is a reason that the current form ATF4473 has a question 11f;

"Have you ever been adjudicated mentally defective (which includes having been adjudicated incompetent to manage your own affairs) or have you ever been committed to a mental institution."

Notice the language, adjudicated and committed. Not admitted to a mental institution, committed. Adjudication and committing are legal sentences, they require due process to assign to a person, and are normally placed on a person against their will.

What the new law proposes is that anyone who voluntarily decides to seek treatment for a problem before someone gets hurt will be forever banned from owning a firearm, or at least buying one. No mention at all of successful treatment of the malady, or in fact, mention of a diagnosis!! Only that a person sought treatment! What if the psychiatrist says you aren't depressed at all, and not a danger to anyone? What if the psychiatrist says you were depressed, probably would have killed someone, but we caught it in time and fixed to problem?

See the problem yet?

I think I would be OK with changing this to a disqualifier where a TEMPORARY bar on purchases is put in force while the subject is undergoing treatment AND where the psychiatrist feels the patient might be a danger to themselves or others. That allows the person who is successfully treated to suffer no stigma for receiving treatment and doesn't dissuade people from getting treatment out of fear of losing their guns forever because they did the right thing and got treated.

There especially needs to be due process where someone who has been added to the NICS mental patient list can get their name removed simply. With the costs assumed by the State and the burden of proof being on the State to retain the subject on the forbidden list.

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