Mental Illness as tool to abolish firearm ownership
By John D. Turner
26 Sep 2013

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” – Amendment II, U.S. Constitution.

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams, 11 Oct 1798, signer of the Declaration of Independence and second President of the United States.

A simple statement, the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution; the English is plain. And yet, a statement that many these days seem to think convoluted and unclear. “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” What is it about that word “infringed” that people seem to not understand?

We hear discussions of all sorts when it comes to firearms. “The second amendment only pertains to hunting” – because of course, that is what militias are for, right? Hunting. And so, politicians who are interested in limiting gun ownership in America are always quick to say that “of course, we don’t intend to stop people from hunting or target shooting.”

Then there is the “it only pertains to militias, and we don’t have militias today, so you have no right at all to keep and bear arms.” That would be fine except that the word militia has historically meant “all males of age to fight.” Of course, we can just change the definition of the word “militia.” After all, we are changing the definition of the term “marriage,” which has been around far longer.

Then there is the argument that, while it may be OK for citizens to own firearms, certainly it isn’t ok for them to own the same sort of firearms that the military and police forces own. Ignoring for a moment that the common citizen already can’t own the same weapons that the military uses (fully automatic weapons are tightly regulated, very expensive, extremely difficult to come by, and in any event, must have been manufactured before 1986 in order to be legally owned by a private citizen), making that argument stands history on its head, as for much of the history of this country, those are exactly the sorts of weapons that private citizens did own.

But surely, one asks, there is something that can be done? We have to do something to stop things such as Columbine, Aurora, New Town, and Navy Yard from happening again.

Some congresscritters, such as Senator Diane Feinstein, have taken the opportunity to attack the problem head-on, proposing a series of draconian laws that would greatly restrict the ability of the average American to own the firearm of their choice. Anything that looks mean and nasty, or holds “too many” rounds has to go. It’s for the safety of the children, right? And even though none of the proposed legislation would have prevented any of the above-mentioned mass shootings, at least we are doing something.

Some have said that the real issue here isn’t guns; it’s mentally ill people getting their hands on guns. So maybe what is needed is not gun legislation per se, but legislation regarding the mentally ill. What we really need to do is to keep the mentally ill from having access to guns at all cost.

So how do we do that? It would be simple if we could just lock up all seriously mentally ill people in sanitariums, like we used to do. But we have determined as a society that it is much more humane and kind (not to mention cheaper) to turn them loose on our city streets, so that is a non-starter. And to be fair, most of the crimes being committed with guns aren’t being committed by street people (who are usually victims of crime themselves) but rather by people who many times live in good homes and who may even have no previous criminal history.

Well, lawmakers are hard at work on this issue. As I detailed in a previous article, there are a number who are proposing legislation that would ban your ability to possess a weapon (or for anyone else in the place you live to possess a weapon either) based on medication you might be taking or might have taken at any point in your life. In fact, such legislation has already been passed in some states, such as the State of New York.

The medications they seem to be most concerned with are the class of medications known as “psychotropic” drugs. Psychotropic drugs are classified as psychiatric medicines that alter chemical levels in the brain which impact mood and behavior. Obviously, anything that messes with your brain must be bad, right? Even if it is correcting a condition (i.e., normalizing) that is abnormal. I mean, if you have an abnormal condition, then even if the medication fixes that – what if you stop taking it? Either way, if you had it prescribed to you, it’s bad; a “catch 22” terminating your right to keep and bear for the rest of your life.

For the rest of your life. Ritalin, heavily prescribed for children in school these days to “combat ADHD” is classed as a psychotropic drug. Let’s say that you “acted out” while in middle school and your school had you tested and, low and behold! You were diagnosed as ADD or ADHD and put on Ritalin “for your own good.”

Then later in life, say in your late 20’s or so, you find yourself in an abusive relationship. You leave. In fear of your life, you decide to purchase a handgun, only to be told sorry, because you had been on Ritalin for ADD back in middle school, you are on a list and are no longer permitted to defend yourself – at least with a firearm. The abuser comes by one night, and, having never been on Ritalin while he was in middle school, shoots you dead with a handgun that he is legally permitted to own.

Of course, that would never happen, right? People are smarter than that. Doctors will only put people on the list if they truly are a danger. Police will use good judgment and only confiscate weapons from those who truly pose a threat. And everyone will respect your right to keep and bear a firearm, right? It’s only those “crazies” we are trying to keep guns out of the hands of who must be disarmed.

Well, here are the opinions of some of your fellow citizens about people who should be allowed to own guns. Donald Kaul, a liberal columnist for the Des Moines Register would like to see the second amendment repealed (most libs would like to see this), the NRA declared a terrorist organization, and Mitch McConnell and John Boehner tied to the back of a Chevy pickup truck and dragged around a parking lot. I guess his “tolerance” has run thin.

Vice President Joe Biden hints that people who own guns, particularly AR-15s, and are not hunters, are outside the cultural “norm.” They own guns because they “just like the feel of that AR-15 at the range. They like the way it feels,” he says, adding “you know, it’s like driving a Ferrari, do you know what I mean?” Well no, Mr. Biden, I can’t say that I do. I have never had the opportunity to drive a Ferrari. Tell me, how does it feel?

Others, like “Doctor Frog”, writing for the Daily Kos, would like to regulate gun owners. He does say that there are responsible gun owners with perfectly valid reasons for owning guns, whose rights should be respected and who do have a right to keep and bear arms. (Of course, that probably does not include you.) He then points to the “well-regulated militia” part of the amendment, Supreme Court rulings that equate individuals to members of an ad hoc militia, and asserts that the “plain original intent” of the second amendment allows for regulation of individuals “right to keep and bear”, somehow ignoring the “shall not be infringed” part of the clause, which would seem, at least to an ill-educated southern redneck like me, to preclude that.

Of course, if you did happen to belong to a “well-regulated militia”, today, you would be labeled a subversive, potential terrorist, threat to society, turn up on all sorts of government lists, and be relieved of your weapons on that basis.

His list of “regulations” which, of course, would not in his mind “infringe” gun ownership include registration of all guns by serial number, including ballistics information on each and making that list a matter of public record. He advocates requiring liability insurance for gun owners, just in case their gun up and hurt someone, and finally, would require certification training and testing on a regular basis to prove that they should be allowed to exercise their right to a gun. This he likens to obtaining a driver’s license for a car, which is interesting. Does he then believe that everyone has a constitutional right to drive a car? I thought driving was a privilege, not a right enshrined in the constitution.

In my previous article, I detailed how Mr. David Lewis in New York was stripped of his gun ownership rights for having been prescribed Zoloft (a psycotrophic drug) for a temporary condition that had since been resolved. The police showed up at his house and ordered him to surrender his weapons immediately or else his license would be revoked and he would be charged with illegal firearms possession.

And so, with a concrete example of how a law of this kind can lead to the minions of the law swooping down and divesting you of your firearms, let’s see how such a law might be parlayed into confiscation of all firearms throughout the country.

You go see your doctor complaining of lower back pain. Your doctor prescribes Neurontin, and enters the prescription into his government mandated electronic patient file. The prescription is automatically flagged as being a “psychotropic drug” and accordingly, an alert is kicked off to the local authorities. Your doctor, who always seemed a kindly sort, had asked your children on a previous visit if anyone in your home owned a weapon. The answer being yes, your doctor, concerned for your welfare, and believing that “guns and children do not mix,” made sure that on your next visit you would be prescribed something on the list of “banned” substances.

You apply for a concealed carry permit in the state in which you live. This state does not have a gun registration law; however you are required to go through a background check in order to get your CHL. The background check turns up the fact that you were prescribed Ritalin while in high school for ADD. Your application for a CHL is denied, and the local law enforcement shows up at your home and demands you turn over all your weapons.

Your doctor asks you during a routine exam if you have any weapons at home. You answer yes. Your doctor, a liberal who believes that any gun ownership is prima face evidence of some sort of mental disorder, puts your name in the registry as being a potential danger to society. Local law enforcement shows up at your home and demands you turn over all your weapons.

For that matter, alcohol is a psychotropic drug. Should anyone who has ever imbibed be denied the right to keep and bear? And if there is any alcohol of any sort in a home, should guns be banned from it?

Here in Texas, we have a law that says that if more than 51% of the revenue generated by a business establishment is from the sale of alcohol, then you cannot legally carry a weapon on the premises. This is primarily aimed at places where alcohol is consumed like bars. So even if you were a CHL holder, you would not be legally permitted to carry your weapon into a bar, but you would be able to carry it into, say, HEB to purchase a case of beer that you intended to consume at home. The main reason for this law was to separate guns from locations where alcohol was being consumed. So, if you have a party at your house (the reason for buying the beer), should all weapons be banned at your house for the duration of the festivities? If you keep alcohol in your house, should guns be banned entirely?

What about schools? We also have a law that says that it is unlawful to possess a firearm on the premises of a school. In Texas, home schools are considered private schools. So if I home school my kids, have I revoked my right to keep and bear arms at home?

We have seen, even here in our own country, how a law that starts small is eventually expanded to include the entire population. A good example is the income tax, which originally was only a small percentage of one’s earnings and paid by a very small percentage of the population. It is not hard to imagine this law too, starting small and being expanded regarding “mental illness” and the right to keep and bear arms.

What about PTSD? Should someone diagnosed with PTSD be allowed to own a weapon? Please note that PTSD is not limited to combat-related issues. A person could be diagnosed with PTSD following an automobile accident. The students at a school where a shooting occurred can all be diagnosed with PTSD. I wouldn’t be surprised if viewing some of the movies made in Hollywood, by those who oppose gun ownership incidentally, aren’t enough to give some movie goers PTSD.

A bad divorce could lead to a diagnosis of PTSD. Heck, these days, taking away your kid’s cell phone could trigger a bout of PTSD.

Should Christians, be denied gun ownership rights? Atheists on the left have frequently derided Christians as people who believe in “an invisible little old man,” and as hearing “voices in their heads.” Both are symptoms of various mental disorders currently on the books. Do we want people who “hear voices” to have guns? Supposedly the recent Navy Yard shooter “heard voices,” which he believed emanated from ELF radio waves being aimed at him by the government, and led to the shooting rampage in which he killed 12 people and wounded four before dying himself in a hail of bullets.

Can a “rational” leftist take the “chance” that a “nutty, gun-toting, right-wing Christian conservative” might not “snap” and “lash out” with their gun of choice, driven by a voice in their head from an invisible little old man? What about the children?

As I mentioned above, Vice President Biden is on record as, at the very least, insinuating that those of us who own guns but don’t hunt, particularly those of us with “black rifles”, are outside the norm of society, probably a bit deranged, and certainly bear considerable watching. Certainly he is not alone in that assessment; many on the left feel exactly the same way and there are those on the right, particularly those who don’t want the finger of suspicion pointed at them, who will be more than willing to go along.

Categorizing a group of people as "not normal" is the first step towards making them a class of people that can be extracted from the larger population, be made scapegoats and the target of specific legislation and treatment that would not be allowed against the public at large. An example would be Jews in Germany before and during the Second World War. It's ok to do things to such groups because they are "subhuman", "not normal", "mentally ill", etc. We have seen such tactics used before, against Jews, Blacks, homosexuals, and others as an excuse by various groups and society at large to pretty much do what they want against them. Are such individuals “unbalanced?” Should they, on that basis, be denied gun ownership rights – just in case?

The Soviet Union used this tactic to justify locking up those who disagreed with them in sanatoriums; after all, anyone who opposed the government must be mentally ill. Already we have seen warnings from the Department of Homeland Security that religious Christians, pro-lifers, supporters of the Constitution, and veterans returning home from Iraq or Afghanistan are potential domestic terrorists; this despite the fact that there have been exactly zero examples of such domestic terrorism to date. Might not such people be deemed “mentally ill” and thus banned from owning firearms? Can’t take any chances you know.

For some, even the desire to own a firearm is evidence of mental illness.

There are plenty of people out there who would like to severely restrict your right to keep and bear arms, or ban you from doing so completely. So why, in the name of “saving the children” should we give them the ideal means to accomplish that?

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