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(62,300 posts)
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 06:18 AM Jan 2016

President Obama saved a lot of lives. Mental health being added to background checks is astounding.

Last edited Sat Jan 9, 2016, 05:08 PM - Edit history (1)

The vast majority of the last half dozen or so mass murders were done by people with serious mental health issues, even with mental health providers being intimately involved (Aurora comes to mine particularly for me, but I can cite others). I've been arguing for years that the background check system doesn't take into consideration the mental health of the buyer of the gun. It's simply been opaque. "Not a felon? No violent crime? Here's your gun."

If there is even a remote trigger when one does a background check that says "hey, this guy is on anti-depressants, and is seeing a therapist," then the gun dealer can deny the gun on their on conscionable reasoning tells the dealer to deny a gun to a mentally disturbed person without saying why. (edit because drunk post and everyone is focusing on that, original comments struck)

Sorry if this post is a few days late, just catching up on Obama's EO and his anouncement (watching his speech now).

Skip to 29:30:

Absolutely astounding.
66 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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President Obama saved a lot of lives. Mental health being added to background checks is astounding. (Original Post) joshcryer Jan 2016 OP
"hey, this guy is on anti-depressants, and is seeing a therapist,"... meaculpa2011 Jan 2016 #1
So sue the gun dealer who decides that is reason enough not to provide a gun. joshcryer Jan 2016 #2
You skipped a step here I think underpants Jan 2016 #9
Exactly LittleBlue Jan 2016 #23
He also can't be a day under ninety if he was old enough to serve in 1944, LeftyMom Jan 2016 #41
He's 93, he doesn't have gun... meaculpa2011 Jan 2016 #48
There's a big difference between "in patient" and "out patient" therapy. briv1016 Jan 2016 #62
One reason people who need therapy won't seek help is that they fear tblue37 Jan 2016 #63
So now some want madville Jan 2016 #3
I have no idea how it'll be implemented. joshcryer Jan 2016 #5
"Nor do I give a shit." Says it all. End of discussion. n/t meaculpa2011 Jan 2016 #7
What a surprise! dumbcat Jan 2016 #18
Your observation does not bother me but my family has a jwirr Jan 2016 #20
All the background check system returns to a dealer... Lizzie Poppet Jan 2016 #16
I stand corrected. joshcryer Jan 2016 #22
Of course there's no stigma against getting help with mental health issues Fumesucker Jan 2016 #4
Yeah, that is truly not going to help. Ed Suspicious Jan 2016 #8
Is there some process to deny a mentally unstable Ed Suspicious Jan 2016 #6
Yes (although depends on State) Nevernose Jan 2016 #17
There are but there is a key difference from this scenario. NutmegYankee Jan 2016 #59
Why astounding? DFW Jan 2016 #10
You'll notice we're not Germany? WinkyDink Jan 2016 #12
Obviously, however: DFW Jan 2016 #19
What about HIPAA? Moreover, what makes anyone think that everyone who "needs" it is on medication? WinkyDink Jan 2016 #11
HIPAA shadowrider Jan 2016 #27
The vast majority of the last -6-? Wow that sounds significant! HereSince1628 Jan 2016 #13
" just catching up on Obama's EO " dumbcat Jan 2016 #14
Yet to listen to some people, here and IRL, you'd think he implemented GGJohn Jan 2016 #15
He directed HHS to do a rule change on mental health reporting. joshcryer Jan 2016 #21
Do you know how rule changes are implemented? dumbcat Jan 2016 #24
You can go to the CFR. joshcryer Jan 2016 #25
"I don't care" dumbcat Jan 2016 #34
I don't think you understand what a background check does NutmegYankee Jan 2016 #26
Should I edit the OP? joshcryer Jan 2016 #28
That's up to you. NutmegYankee Jan 2016 #36
It was a 2 AM drunk post. joshcryer Jan 2016 #39
I'm actually a strong "civil lberties" person NutmegYankee Jan 2016 #40
I edited it. joshcryer Jan 2016 #42
That's fine. NutmegYankee Jan 2016 #43
In retrospect it was a stupid thing I said. joshcryer Jan 2016 #46
What several states have put in place is a method to report that someone is a danger NutmegYankee Jan 2016 #47
To add to NutmegYankee's comment, here's a description of the California law petronius Jan 2016 #50
Good stuff. joshcryer Jan 2016 #51
Civics undergroundpanther Jan 2016 #54
Neck surgery... Nanndoc Feb 2016 #66
Kudos. Perfect analysis. Kang Colby Jan 2016 #57
I had a bipolar friend libodem Jan 2016 #29
Good! deathrind Jan 2016 #30
Good point, that one pilot killed an entire airline of people. joshcryer Jan 2016 #31
It doesn't sit well because it is flat out illegal for the Government to do that. NutmegYankee Jan 2016 #33
The due process deathrind Jan 2016 #44
A background check is not due process. NutmegYankee Jan 2016 #45
Ok deathrind Jan 2016 #49
The Constitution requires a court to make such a decision. NutmegYankee Jan 2016 #52
very well said sweetapogee Jan 2016 #65
I found an article that discusses the HIPAA rule change... Cerridwen Jan 2016 #32
Thanks so much. joshcryer Jan 2016 #35
:) Good to hear, er, read. Cerridwen Jan 2016 #37
This message was self-deleted by its author davidn3600 Jan 2016 #38
I have a weird feeling about this. qwlauren35 Jan 2016 #53
I have a not so weird feeling about this... HereSince1628 Jan 2016 #56
The Mentally Ill have become stigmatized victims of politicians looking for an easy scapegoat. Odin2005 Jan 2016 #60
What steps regarding enforcement are part of this? hifiguy Jan 2016 #55
So hunters with depression can have their guns confiscated by authorities now, wonderful! Odin2005 Jan 2016 #58
That's not what the executive action did. NutmegYankee Jan 2016 #61
Desiring a gun is a pretty blatant sign of a dangerous mental illness. hunter Jan 2016 #64


(918 posts)
1. "hey, this guy is on anti-depressants, and is seeing a therapist,"...
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 06:28 AM
Jan 2016

My father, a veteran of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, has been seeing a therapist and taking an anti-depressant since my mother died three years ago.

He is also the sanest, gentlest and most well-adjusted person I know.

Denying constitutional rights to people who are "seeing a therapist" is the worst kind of bigotry.


(62,300 posts)
2. So sue the gun dealer who decides that is reason enough not to provide a gun.
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 06:31 AM
Jan 2016

And good luck proving it was denying someone constitutional rights.


(184,016 posts)
9. You skipped a step here I think
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 08:33 AM
Jan 2016

The gun seller doesn't do the review, ATF does. It is mostly automated in that certain people (felons) have a set marker on their info saying NO SALE. The gun seller simply gets a Yes or No back. That is my understanding.


(49,212 posts)
41. He also can't be a day under ninety if he was old enough to serve in 1944,
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 05:10 PM
Jan 2016

which means his ability to use a gun safely at this point in his life (reaction time, vision, physical strength, etc decline with age, and 25-50% of those 85 and up have Alzheimer's, and other sources of dementia being even more common) would be highly debatable at best even if he weren't clinically depressed.

So I hope you're making this up, because otherwise you really aren't taking good care of an elder, and that's a depressing thought.


(918 posts)
48. He's 93, he doesn't have gun...
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 05:51 PM
Jan 2016

and he has no intention of getting a gun.

I don't own a gun and I have never owned a gun.

He's doing just fine, he's simply been a bit depressed since my mother died. They had been together since 1946. He sees a therapist at the VA in Brooklyn, which helps. His VA primary suggested he see the psychiatrist who prescribed a mild anti-depressant. It's been two weeks now and should be seeing an improvement in about another week.

His vision is perfect and his reflexes are sharp enough to drive locally.

My point is this: Giving the government the authority to restrict constitutional rights based on visiting a therapist or taking an anti-depressant (without due process and without appeal) is authoritarianism. Supporting this policy is bigotry.


(1,570 posts)
62. There's a big difference between "in patient" and "out patient" therapy.
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 09:11 PM
Jan 2016

The propose regulation only applies to "in patient" treatment.


(65,831 posts)
63. One reason people who need therapy won't seek help is that they fear
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 09:14 PM
Jan 2016

being stigmatized. Blanket generalizations preclude nuance.


(7,417 posts)
3. So now some want
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 07:01 AM
Jan 2016

The background check system and/or gun dealers to have access to people's mental health and prescription records? I don't support that.

I think there should be a hotline as part of the background check system for mental health professionals to report potentially dangerous people but it can't be like the no-fly list or terror watch list where there is no due process or appeal procedures.


(62,300 posts)
5. I have no idea how it'll be implemented.
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 07:10 AM
Jan 2016

Nor do I give a shit.

The biggest issue with background checks is that there exists no mechanism for therapists to say "this guy is unhinged." I've argued about this for years.

I support whatever mechanism the President chooses to create. Fuck it. Gun dealers don't want to sell to unhinged people, not if they can help it. If they see a background check that is iffy they won't do it. I truly believe that.

I think this is different from the no-fly list or terror watch list because it is businesses being informed that they're selling to someone who is at risk, and with that information the vast majority will give up the sale. Those that don't risk seeing someone with mental health issues doing something drastic, and even then, over time, if they see a heavy rate of unfortunate circumstances, due to their sales, they'll pull back on selling to mentally disturbed people.

This will save lives. Sorry if this observation bothers you.


(2,124 posts)
18. What a surprise!
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 12:15 PM
Jan 2016

At least you admit it, and then demonstrate it:

Fuck it. Gun dealers don't want to sell to unhinged people, not if they can help it. If they see a background check that is iffy they won't do it. I truly believe that.

The dealers don't see the results of a background check. They only see "authorized," "denied," or "delayed."

You believe wrongly. Which is a big part of the problem.


(39,215 posts)
20. Your observation does not bother me but my family has a
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 02:36 PM
Jan 2016

genetic mental illness and I want to know what the guarantee will be that our health records will be secure. That is the issue for the mentally ill. They are often discriminated against as it is.

This must be handled in a way that protects them as well. Especially since very few even try to buy guns yet their records will now be out there.

I also have a real issue with how we call everyone who shoots anyone "mentally ill". IMO most of them are not mentally ill but have been influenced by the media fear and hate mongering - just pleading it to get away with the crime.


Lizzie Poppet

(10,164 posts)
16. All the background check system returns to a dealer...
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 11:37 AM
Jan 2016

...is "authorized," "denied," or "delayed." That's it, no other information to the dealer. On the NICS database end of things, I'm not sure of any specifics about data security (other than that it's in place and is said to be robust).

I like your idea of a reporting hotline (with proper due process safeguards).


(13,081 posts)
17. Yes (although depends on State)
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 11:49 AM
Jan 2016

In Nevada, for instance, any doctor can write the DMV and tell them that one of her patients is medically incompetent and the license is suspended. Obviously, the patient still has the keys...

My ex lost her license in this way. She was having seizures, the doc told her not to drive, she drove anyway, the doctor found out, and now there's a whole giant procedure she has to go through if she wants her license back.


(16,267 posts)
59. There are but there is a key difference from this scenario.
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 08:53 PM
Jan 2016

Holding a drivers license is a privilege rather than a right. Rights are better protected and require a court hearing for removal.


(55,258 posts)
10. Why astounding?
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 09:19 AM
Jan 2016

This has been standard to acquire a firearm (ANY firearm) license in Germany for decades.


(55,258 posts)
19. Obviously, however:
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 12:46 PM
Jan 2016

This is not some revolutionary new concept some socially progressive genius thought up last month, but rather picking and choosing bits of laws that have been on the books elsewhere for decades. Ergo, it's something we knew about and could have done decades ago, but didn't (for painfully obvious reasons).


(36,063 posts)
13. The vast majority of the last -6-? Wow that sounds significant!
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 10:51 AM
Jan 2016

Last edited Sat Jan 9, 2016, 12:51 PM - Edit history (1)

It's mind bogglingly silly to make headlines around majorities of six events.

It's beyond mind-boggling when you go to http://www.shootingtracker.com/Main_Page pick 2015 and then start your analysis of their data.

It turns out that for 2015 the mental health status of a majority of shooters -wasn't even known-. There's some question if even half of the names of shooters are known after months of investigations in to the shootings.

I'm all for stopping gun murders, not just mass-shooting. I'm not opposed to efforts that are likely to be effective. But here is what Obama did. He's ordered SS to hand over names of people who receive disability payments for reasons of mental health, but who have guardians/custodians/power of attorneys to handle their finances.

There are an estimated 75K of such people nation-wide. There is -no- published evidence that this class of people represent an enhanced risk of being a gun murderer compared to the rest of the US population.

It's simply based on the assumption that a person not competent to handle their finances is not competent enough to purchase a new firearm. Now I am not going to argue that isn't at least partially true in a 'that just makes street sense sort of way. But as so often turns out, street sense is usually not evidence based.

But I think it's highly questionable as a effective step in reducing gun murders. Who Obama is targeting isn't the James Holmes's of the world who actually committed the Aurora theater shooting. Holmes wasn't on disability, and he was handling his own finances. Holmes hadn't even been adjudicated to be incompetent or dangerous.

The names of SSDI recipients whose names will be added to the criminal database are going to be people with early onset Alzheimer's, people who have had strokes, suffered brain injuries in accidents and war that have led to a loss of cognitive function, and people with various serious cognitive dysfunction that makes it impossible to be gainfully employed, maybe someone with severe autism... it's a pool of about 75000 people, and no numerical estimate exists that describes the likelihood of their purchasing a gun and committing a mass murder.

That's a significant problem for even attempting a guess at effectiveness of this measure. In looking back over news accounts and follow-ups of the mass-shootings of 2015 there is not one event that has been linked to an SSDI recipient who had surrendered control of finances to a custodian/guardian/or power of attorney. A signal for an annual potential effective reduction in mass-shootings through this approach isn't even detectable.

If nothing more consequential than mentally incompetent people being banned from gun purchases they are probably not very interested in making was all that was at stake we might turn to street smarts again and say no harm, no penalty.

But that's not the case. Discrimination against persons with mental disorders runs very deep in the US. It's very likely that what Obama did was apply street smarts based mostly on prejudicial stereotypes generally supportive to the seemingly unquestionable conclusion that ... mentally ill people shouldn't have guns.

And in our society that's so easy and acceptable, because it taps into prevailing stigma about persons with mental disorders in the US. Here the mentally ill are mischaracterized to their dangerousness and incompetence, broadly stereotyped, and made economically and politically powerless. We don't merely want them to be prevented from buying guns, we don't want them to be our surgeons, nurses, police, airline pilots, bus drivers, teachers of our children, co-workers or neighbors.

What Obama's exec action has done is to further reinforce the stigma, using his position to have the US Government endorse the street smarts that mentally ill are stereotypically dangerous and incompetent. I suspect Obama's actions aren't going to do anything to reduce the 16x greater likelihood of getting shot by a cop if that cop suspects a person is mentally ill and a 4 times greater chance of being tazed if a cop suspects a person of being mentally disordered I suspect that Obama's actions aren't going to do anything to reduce the unemployment rate among persons with diagnosed mental disorders that nationally ran at just over 80 percent in 2012.

What I am pretty sure Obama's exec action has done has been to endorse unwarranted prejudice against the mental ill. I suspect many people who share Obama's street smarts are going to be saying to themselves 'YES!!! We finally get to do something about the crazy monsters among us besides the usual shunning from employment, promotions, housing, and social engagement!!


(2,124 posts)
14. " just catching up on Obama's EO "
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 11:21 AM
Jan 2016

President Obama issued no Executive Orders on this subject.

He has issued a Presidential Memorandum on smart gun technology.

Everything else he did was instructions to Executive Departments to enforce existing laws, and proposals to Congress.

Absolutely nothing has changed in background checks at this time.


(62,300 posts)
25. You can go to the CFR.
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 04:42 PM
Jan 2016

And see for your self. I guess you're trying to argue the rule are not yet in effect and that my argument cannot be correct. I don't care. Mental health is important. Lives will be saved because of this.


(16,267 posts)
26. I don't think you understand what a background check does
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 04:48 PM
Jan 2016

It checks to verify that you have not been convicted of a crime that prohibits ownership or that you have never been adjudicated as mentally defective (In other words, a court hearing determined that you cannot manage your own affairs and are a danger to yourself or others), which also prohibits ownership.

A person using anti-depressants and seeing a therapist cannot be used to deny someone a gun purchase and is illegal to even report. What the Executive action clarified is that involuntary commitments (court hearing determination as mentally defective) can be reported to the NICS system.


(16,267 posts)
36. That's up to you.
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 05:01 PM
Jan 2016

I kind of enjoy flushing out the people who don't understand basics of American Civil Rights, like not being denied one without due process. I'm disgusted how few people have even the basics of American Civics down. Did they stop teaching this in schools?


(62,300 posts)
39. It was a 2 AM drunk post.
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 05:04 PM
Jan 2016

I really don't care that much about riling up gun lovers, but I already said I was wrong about how the reporting is done, at this point I'd think people would stop focusing on that one ill thought out argument.


(16,267 posts)
40. I'm actually a strong "civil lberties" person
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 05:09 PM
Jan 2016

The kind of guy who proudly carries his membership card to the ACLU around. I believe that protecting the equal rights of all is key to preserving our Republic. I happen to own firearms, but that is not a focus of my participation in politics.


(16,267 posts)
43. That's fine.
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 05:18 PM
Jan 2016

I wasn't jabbing at you so much as the people who posted agreeing with such a proposal. There are people on DU who are left leaning, but not liberal. They hold very authoritarian viewpoints as opposed to liberalism, which is highly respectful of individual liberty and focuses on economic reform (towards socialism) and social equality.


(62,300 posts)
46. In retrospect it was a stupid thing I said.
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 05:34 PM
Jan 2016

I completely take that back, but maintain there should be some TEMPORARY mechanism in place so an unhinged person would raise flags, obviously I would want it to go away once that person got better.

A better solution would be expending more effort on mental health in general, but we know how difficult that is. They won't even let us research it much less do anything about it.


(16,267 posts)
47. What several states have put in place is a method to report that someone is a danger
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 05:37 PM
Jan 2016

to themselves or others. This report starts an investigation that can result in a court hearing where a judge evaluates the validity of the threat to self/others and if the individual is found to be such a danger the firearms can be removed. This is mainly used for potential suicide cases.


(26,631 posts)
50. To add to NutmegYankee's comment, here's a description of the California law
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 06:07 PM
Jan 2016

allowing restraining orders for people believed to be a(t) risk. It went into effect last week:


On September 30, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 1014, a bill to allow concerned family members or law enforcement officers to petition a court for a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO). In situations where there is sufficient evidence for a judge to believe that an individual poses a danger to self or others, the GVRO will temporarily prohibit the individual from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition and allow law enforcement to remove any firearms or ammunition already in the individual’s possession. The new law, modeled after California’s existing domestic violence restraining order laws, goes into effect on January 1, 2016.1

AB1014 was introduced in response to the tragic shooting in Isla Vista in May 2014. The shooter there had exhibited warning signs of impending violence, yet no legal mechanism was available to his parents or law enforcement to take preventive action. Under California law, a variety of dangerous people are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition, including domestic abusers, as well as persons who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility “as a result of a mental health disorder” which makes them a danger to themselves or others. AB 1014 expands these protections by restricting access to firearms or ammunition by persons who exhibit dangerous or threatening behaviors, but who are not otherwise prohibited from possessing them.

--- Snip ---


(11,925 posts)
54. Civics
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 07:40 PM
Jan 2016

I think they stopped teaching political and civics classes when bush started fucking with the school curriculum.


(2 posts)
66. Neck surgery...
Thu Feb 11, 2016, 10:32 PM
Feb 2016

Hi I found your post about the neck surgery that you were going to have.
I'm on the same situation/problem.
My throat is closing because I have cervical osteophytes that's pushing my esophagus.
I also live in Maryland and would like to know which doctor did your surgery. I'm really scared and need your help.
My email is nanndoc@live.com
Thank you


Kang Colby

(1,941 posts)
57. Kudos. Perfect analysis.
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 08:21 PM
Jan 2016

What this rule change does is provide some "top cover" for state based mental health departments who are the stewards for records pertaining to mental health adjudications. This rule change does not allow reporting by health care providers. HHS listened to the national mental health advocacy groups who were opposed to allowing reporting of information obtained directly from a provider, as it would incentive people not to seek care.

This rule change will have minimal effect if any as most of these records were already stored by judicial entities within the states, which are not covered by HIPAA. With that said, this may open the door to privacy abuses from the SSA and VA.


(19,288 posts)
29. I had a bipolar friend
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 04:51 PM
Jan 2016

Whose soul purpose for getting a gun was to off herself. She got one I think for $450.00. She went the first time with $300.00 and didnt' have enough money for the kind she wanted. She went back to saving.
She took her lessons at a class and I think some check denied her consealed carry permit.
I listened to her for 5 hours one day, while she explained her whole plan. That is a huge danger sign when people go from ideation to making plans. She assured me she was over it and I let her vent. I'm scared of guns and don't like them.
Anyway, last year I got a call from a detective in Michigan asking if she might be visiting me because my number was in her phone. She wasn't with me. He asked me to email what she'd told me and I wrote as much detail as I could. She must still be missing. I asked the detective to let me know when they found her.
I wish she'd never been able to get her hands on that gun. Now, I'll never know if was that or something else.


(1,786 posts)
30. Good!
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 04:53 PM
Jan 2016

This is definitely something that needs to be part of a background check.

This does not seem to sit well with some posters here. I wonder how many of them would still get on the airplane if they knew the pilot was having mental health issues.


(16,267 posts)
33. It doesn't sit well because it is flat out illegal for the Government to do that.
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 04:59 PM
Jan 2016

You cannot deny someone a civil liberty without due process. Think of it this way, any reason you can deny a person a firearm purchase is also a valid reason to deny them the right to vote. And in fact, the two are combined in some states.


(1,786 posts)
44. The due process
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 05:19 PM
Jan 2016

Is the BG check. Granted the process needs to be clearly defined to remove any potential subjectivity involved in the decision to deny a person to buy a firearm.

The "unalienable rights" of the potential victims of a person getting a firearm who is mentally unstable also matter. As the op pointed out had the psychiatrist for James Holmes had a process to sound an alert about his mental instability maybe that event would never have happened.



(16,267 posts)
45. A background check is not due process.
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 05:28 PM
Jan 2016

To lose a right, one must have a civil or criminal hearing in court. Once that right (in this case firearm ownership) is removed by a judge, this can be reported to the NICS system and an attempt to purchase a firearm will be denied. The background check then verifies that you are not prohibited from owning a firearm.

Some states have a system where a psychiatrist can sound an alert that someone intends harm to self or others, but that process then triggers the court hearing to meet the due process requirements of the 5th and 14th Amendments. One can argue about the rights of others, but the American legal system doesn't work that way.


(1,786 posts)
49. Ok
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 05:55 PM
Jan 2016

So your position is that people deemed mentally unstable by a board certified Doctor should be able to buy a firearm. If common sense could voice an opinion I think it would disagree with you. That is your prerogative and you are wholly entitled to have that position.


(16,267 posts)
52. The Constitution requires a court to make such a decision.
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 06:17 PM
Jan 2016

This is to ensure that people are not stripped of their rights wrongfully. There is nothing common sense about a non-judiciary person determining what rights a person can and cannot exercise, it's autocratic and contrary to the functioning of a liberal democratic state.

And this isn't my position - this is how our Republic works.


(13,260 posts)
32. I found an article that discusses the HIPAA rule change...
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 04:57 PM
Jan 2016

I found an article that discusses the HIPAA rule change. It includes a bit of the history of reporting and the complexity and reasons for this rule change.


HIPAA rule change part of move to fight gun violence
By Joseph Conn | January 6, 2016

Only a few healthcare organizations report to the federal database that conducts background searches on people who want to buy guns, but those groups will get a little more latitude through a final HHS rule that's part of a White House package announced this week aimed at combating gun violence.

A change to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act clarifies who can share data with the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). HHS says the rule change will facilitate the flow of information from providers to NICS.


Under the old privacy rule, reporting to NICS was not allowed under the HIPAA exemption when law enforcement agencies inquired about a person. Disclosures were also not permitted even if the person posed a serious threat to health or safety, according to HHS.


But even with that workaround, many states, concerned about violating HIPAA law, which carries penalties of up to $50,000 per violation and prison sentences of up to 10 years in cases where the information was used for financial gain, were not reporting to NICS.

<snip to much more at link>

I bolded the part that I think highlights why the rule change was needed.

Oh, and BTW, heya, josh. How the heck ya doing?


(13,260 posts)
37. :) Good to hear, er, read.
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 05:03 PM
Jan 2016

I hope this answers some of the questions I see being asked in this thread.

Response to joshcryer (Original post)


(6,162 posts)
53. I have a weird feeling about this.
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 07:15 PM
Jan 2016

Some people are not going to want to give up the right to own a gun. And I would bet that they would avoid treatment for mental health issues to keep their guns.



(36,063 posts)
56. I have a not so weird feeling about this...
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 08:02 PM
Jan 2016

People with mental disorders, and people close to people with mental disorders will feel even more social prejudice and discrimination waiting to happen if they get a diagnosis.

This stigma will contribute to them not seeking treatment.

My feeling is based on statements from the APA, NAMI and NIH-mental health. Statements that are based on the opinions of experienced mental health professionals

Based on the FBIs effectiveness reports on the National Instant Criminal Background Check database person prohibited from buying guns for reasons of mental health are among the lowest 2 categories CAUGHT trying to by guns they are prohibited from purchasing.

The mentally disordered were mostly a very easy and -politically safe- target to turn into scapegoats.

This executive action promises very little reduction in the risk of more Sandy Hooks.


(53,521 posts)
60. The Mentally Ill have become stigmatized victims of politicians looking for an easy scapegoat.
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 08:55 PM
Jan 2016

I have Asperger's Syndrome and after Sandy Hook there were all sorts of rumors going around that Adam Lanza had Asperger's and I overheard many conversations about the shooting in which people were spouting a lot of terrible, hurtful crap about how supposedly dangerous and unhinged people with Asperger's are.


(53,521 posts)
58. So hunters with depression can have their guns confiscated by authorities now, wonderful!
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 08:49 PM
Jan 2016

Sorry, I am against this cheap political trick based on demonizing the mentally ill as dangerous. This will do nothing but discourage gun owners with mental health problems from getting professional help because they do not want their rights taken away.

The true solution to gun violence is ENDING THE WAR ON DRUGS and ENDING POVERTY, everything else is an excuse.


(16,267 posts)
61. That's not what the executive action did.
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 09:03 PM
Jan 2016

Only the finding by a judge that you are mentally unfit to make your own decisions or are a threat to yourself or others can remove the right to own guns. This often takes the form of involuntary commitment.

A psychiatrist cannot report that a person has depression to remove that right. At best they can notify authorities that a person appears to want to harm themselves/others in which case the police investigate and then go to a judge for a hearing. The judge evaluates the facts and listens to council from both sides (in such cases, the state normally appoints a lawyer to defend the person who may lose the right) and makes a decision. There are legal standards driving such decisions and they are fairly limited in scope.

Seizure of firearms still requires a warrant from a judge as they are personal property.

What the President did was ensure that states do not think They cannot release the court finding of mentally defective/involuntary commitment to NICS due to privacy laws.


(38,575 posts)
64. Desiring a gun is a pretty blatant sign of a dangerous mental illness.
Sat Jan 9, 2016, 11:28 PM
Jan 2016

I give some pass to hunters. Carnivore is part of our human heritage. I've eaten animals I've killed. Then again, so is cannibal. We all have cannibal ancestors

My own off-my-meds mental states are awesome, but they've never involved guns. It's usually things like big wave body surfing naked past midnight, hanging out in labs 24-7 and not eating, other eating disorders, dumpster diving, or driving out to the desert with a lot of water and returning to civilization as dirty hermit skeleton man.

I've also had a few PTSD inducing gun experiences.

Piss on guns and gun culture.

Most people turn into idiots when they have a gun in their hands, and too frequently homicidal or suicidal idiots. Cops and soldiers included.

It's my personal religious belief that there are no "good guys" with guns.
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