Skip to comments.Privacy Laws Slow Efforts on Gun-Buyer Data
Posted on 05/01/2007 9:46:57 PM PDT by neverdem
WASHINGTON, May 1 Momentum is building in Congress behind a measure that would push states to report their mental health records to the federal database used to conduct background checks on gun buyers.
But a thicket of obstacles, most notably state privacy laws, have thwarted repeated efforts to improve the reporting of such records in the past and are likely to complicate this latest effort, even after the worst mass shooting in United States history at Virginia Tech last month.
Federal law prohibits anyone who has been adjudicated as a mental defective, as well as anyone involuntarily committed to a mental institution, from buying a firearm. But only 22 states now submit any mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, against which all would-be gun purchasers must be checked.
The erratic reporting is a problem to which gun-control advocates, law enforcement officials and others have sought to draw attention for years.
Weve had these wake-up calls for years, and all we ever do is push the snooze button, said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
The federal system, in fact, contained only about 235,000 mental health records as of January 2006, even though it is estimated that as many as 2.7 million people have been involuntarily institutionalized nationwide.
The biggest impediment is privacy relating to mental health records, said Joey Hixenbaugh, a unit chief in the Federal Bureau of Investigations criminal justice information systems division.
In 1998, Russell Weston barged into the United States Capitol and fatally shot two police officers. Mr. Weston had been involuntarily committed in Montana as a paranoid schizophrenic, but the authorities in Illinois, where he bought the gun, were unaware of that because privacy laws bar Montana from reporting those records to federal authorities.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
I canât see how non judicial information can be held against a person without some appeal process. Suppose someone is placed against their will in a psychiatric facility and the doc finds that their placement there wasnât appropriate; are they still going to be disallowed their 2nd amendment right? Can they appeal the decision? Will all mentally disabled people have to be registered? Boy, this adds up to a real big brother computer, and I donât support it. Freedom sometimes requires that people die in war; unfortunately, sometimes civilians will have to die in the peaceâotherwise freedom itself may become the first casualty.
I first read that as “Restricting Gum Buyers.”
I was like WTF!?!
I will now take that as a sign that I need to go to bed :-)
So the liberals are going to argue that public safety (supposed) trumps privacy laws.
Only when used against the vast right wing conspiracy, not the adherents of TROP, who are reported to not discriminate. All infidels must suffer dhimmitude or worse.
From time to time, Ill ping on noteworthy articles about politics, foreign and military affairs. FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.
Luv it when they call something an “effort”.
Sounds so freakin noble.
AFAIK, "involuntary commitment" DOES, in most states, involve some or other judicial process.
Why even read the NY Slimes? Isn’t there a paper out there with CREDIBILITY?
Y'know, if they're not stable enough to be trusted with a firearms purchase, they're probably not mentally stable enough to make an informed decision about an abortion, either, another decision upon which innocent life depends.... Surely it's no great inconvenience for those wanting an abortion to show proper identification and sign the abortion registry, wait for clearance from the National Instant-Check system, and then go about the business of their procedure.
Why, if it saved the life of one innocent child, or the mental health of even one unbalanced mother, it'd be worth it....
Good point! Thanks.
In California a police officer can place a person against their will into a psychiatric facility for 72 hours if the officer believes that the person is a danger to himself or others. After the 72 hours, a doctor’s evaluation is required to extend the hold. There is no appeal process. When should the person be listed as incompetent to own/possess a firearm? Are there any statistics of stature that actually show that people placed in mental institutes are thereafter incompetent around firearms, or are we continuing a thread of mass hysteria here?
Hasn’t the left historically used “treatment” as a means of coercion?
I wouldn't limit it to just treatment. That's why there's so much resistance just to a diagnosis being made public.
Thanks for the ping!
"Adjudicated" means that there was a legal process and that this isn't non-judicial information. It has never been the tradition in the US that mental defectives have rights under the 2nd Amendment. (Ann Coulter thinks that mental defectives shouldn't have 1st Amendment rights either; but how could we make fun of liberals if they aren't allowed to say anything?)
I’m with you. I’m very disappointed in the NRA and gun-rights advocates like Larry Craig who are supporting this piece of garbage. They should know by now that Carolyn McCarthy and Up-chuck Schumer are not our friends! They may claim, for now, that their bills apply only to people commited involuntarily and not to those who seek help on their own, but anyone who cares about the 2nd Amendment should know that it won’t stop there.
More importantly, government tentacles do not belong in our medical records, period! Anyone deemed a threat to self or others should be hospitalized for the duration of the condition. People who are treated successfully, or whose mental “defect” is not likely to cause violence, have the same constitutional right to self-defense as you and I.
The horror of the VT incident is undeniable, but it should not be used as an excuse to revoke parts of the Constitution. AFter all, the massacre might have been prevented if all college students, Asian-Americans, or males were prohibited from gun-ownership, but is that the way to go?
What are the factual errors in this story?
Why would anyone want to remain ignorant of what the enemy thinks?
A recent "Frontline" story on PBS about the decline of the old "drive by media" and their supposed replacement by the "new" media made the point that 90 - 95 of the primary news stories still originate in the "drive by media." Even the Washington Times and the NY Sun carry wire service stories. If only that those papers had the resources of the NY Times, I'd check them more often.
The NRA doesn’t support this crap. They know we’re on the losing end of this and it’s better to get involved instead of sitting on the sidelines.
Gee, sitting on the sidelines. Just what gun group does that remind me of? -S-
Is there any basis in the Constitution for denying rights to a particular class of free citizens? It seems that with regard to this argument there should be two classes of individuals: those who pose a greater-than-average threat of committing violence, as judged by past behavior; and those who don't. The first group can be further subdivided into the sane and the criminally insane, but in either case they belong off the streets. As for everyone else, the Constitution should apply as written.
It is wrong to assume that anyone labeled with the broad brush of "mentally defective" is going to go berserk and start shooting people. Are we going to deny someone his rights on the basis of low self-esteem, bulimia, or a learning disability? On the positive side, this law would mean no armed body guard for Rosie O'Donnell!
One more thought: In the past, homosexuality was viewed as a mental defect. I wonder how a “no guns for gays” law would sit with liberals ;-)