April 20, 2013

The First State and gun background checks

Thursday, legislation here in Delaware made it through the state senate which will expand background checks for gun purchases. I cannot find anything that objectionable about its provisions; there are exemptions if the transactions "are between immediate family members, law enforcement officers, or if they involve antique firearms or the return of a gun by a pawnbroker." What's more worrisome is coming proposed legislation by DE Attorney General Beau "I've Tried Tens of Cases" Biden that will expand the definition of who is mentally ill:

“But the other piece that we’re going to be introducing next week is another part of our package. And that is expanding and broadening the category of folks who have a mental health issue that we believe should prohibit them from possessing a firearm,” he added.

The mental health definition has been fuzzy in gun bills introduced on the federal level, but usually has boiled down to whether a person is adjudicated mentally ill. Much of the debate on the Hill has been about whether a doctor can violate patient confidentiality in reporting a person to be listed in the gun-check database, and whether that would discourage those afflicted by mental illness from seeking treatment.

Biden called adjudication “a very high standard, basically being involuntarily committed to a mental institution.”

Michael Walsh says,

Good idea — let’s adjudicate more folks as mentally ill, because obviously we don’t have enough of them. But what about that civil-liberty-threatening, “health care professional would have an obligation to report” bit? Shouldn’t that make us just a tiny bit nervous — especially in light of the president’s series of executive orders about guns in January, two of which helpfully stated:

Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.

Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

Walsh adds "The flagrant abuse of psychiatry as a tool to control or eliminate political opposition could never happen here, right?" and then links to this little nugget.

Hmm.

Posted by Hube at April 20, 2013 04:42 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

This is what worries me the most about the mental illness designation. It will quickly be widened in scope and will eventually include other "experts" and their opinions. You went to counseling after your mother died when you were 14, too unstable. Court ordered DUI counseling, a menace to society. Suspension from school in 8th grade for fighting, anger issues. All of these individuals would be deemed mentally ill and denied ownership

Posted by: Arthur at April 20, 2013 06:29 PM

I haven't read the details of the bill, but one of the big problems with a lot of these bills is that they redefine what is considered a transfer that requires a background check. For instance if you have a gunsmith work on your pistol for two weeks, that becomes a transfer. If you loan your best friend a .22 for 2 weeks so he can teach his daughter how to shoot, that's a transfer. These now either require a background check or become felonies.

Posted by: Jeff the Baptist at April 20, 2013 08:51 PM

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