What To Do If A Gun-Friend is Showing Signs of Mental Deterioaration?

What To Do If A Gun-Friend is Showing Signs of Mental Deterioaration?

This is a discussion on What To Do If A Gun-Friend is Showing Signs of Mental Deterioaration? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; The question I'm asking I want to make clear is pretty theoretical, but a real situation I do have is a paler version of it. ...

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Thread: What To Do If A Gun-Friend is Showing Signs of Mental Deterioaration?

  1. #1
    Ex Member Array walleye's Avatar
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    What To Do If A Gun-Friend is Showing Signs of Mental Deterioaration?

    The question I'm asking I want to make clear is pretty theoretical, but a real situation I do have is a paler version of it. And it brought to mind the whole subject:

    I have a lifelong and very close friend who is approaching 80. He is a veteran and was in Korea right after the war so was familiar with weapons. Now his mental powers are fading, he's very forgetful, almost disoriented at times, has explosions of anger when he never did in the past - all this more so since his wife of 30 years died a few months ago. I fear for his future. He has heard me talk about my guns and suddenly wants to go the range with me. I frankly do not believe he could be a safe-shooter anymore. I am handling this situation pretty well on my own - being noncommittal when he brings this up, offering other things to do instead etc. I think I've got it in hand.

    BUT: say he, or someone else you were friends with, was ALREADY a shooter, and aging mentally, maybe showing signs of Alzheimer, or other such senility. Or, a situation where someone close, having sustained a great personal tragedy, is "acting oddly", say very aggressive out of nowhere, mentioning "getting back" at people and referring to guns to do it when he is at the range. Or acting paranoid, believing people were out to kill him.

    I would be loathe to go to the authorities with such news - especially in the case of a real close friend - but yet, if you think there's a growing danger from someone's mental state and you're not a therapist, what do you do? (I think even a therapist actually has to report threats and signs of danger to the community come to think of it).

    I'm 64 now - some day I may be the one who's losing their mental stability - I would hate to be a danger and hope someone close to me would stop my use of guns. But if the shoe is on the other foot what would you do?


    Any ideas?

    Thanks


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array SFury's Avatar
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    It's a complex question to a complex situation.

    There may come a point where you have to disarm your friend. For the safety of those around him.

    When someone begins down the road to forgetfullness for whatever reason we have to help them, help themselves. Whatever that means. For my family, it meant taking away the ability to drive for my Grandfather, and disabling his guns. We did not remove the firearms, we just made it so they would never fire. Once he passed on, the guns were distributed and put back in working order. There are many ways to disable a gun should you choose to go that route.

    I hope you never get to the point where you have to intervene. It's incredibly hard to perform task for such a necessary thing.
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    VIP Member Array Yoda's Avatar
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    The question of losing mental faculties and a gun owner is a good one and I dont know if it has been asked and answered before.

    My mother in law has terrible memory now but her normal everyday actions are fine and if you talked to her you would think nothing amiss until she asks the same question you answered 10 minutes ago. We took away her driving privileges and placed her in an apartment for retired people (just short of assisted care). She also would get angry at the strangest things but would only act out towards close loved ones.

    I think you should take him to the range but be extra vigilant to make sure he follows the range rules and act as his personal range officer... if he doesnt act right that will be the last time and you should maybe have a frank discussion with his closest family members. I bet you will find that his "memory" on how to handle a gun is not deficient.
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  4. #4
    New Member Array BLDR7's Avatar
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    I had a friend of a friend who went through the same as you. The old man's family had the firing pins removed from all of his weapons. The pins were put in a safe deposit box until his death.

  5. #5
    Ex Member Array barstoolguru's Avatar
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    take the guns away from him and give them to a family member

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array Inspector71's Avatar
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    Since he was only a friend, and not immediate family, I would tend to my own business. Your assumptions of the situation could be entirely wrong and you could create more problems than you ever imagined. If a friend were to start meddling with my right to bear arms, or any of my personal affairs, I wouldn't take it lightly. However, that is just my opinion.
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  7. #7
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    That's a tough one, Walleye.

    Although I am a big believer of friends and family taking care of friends and family. When or if you decide to intervene should be your call, not some government agency's.
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  8. #8
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    You have to be VERY careful in these kinds of situations because many states have laws that protect the elderly from this exact kind of thing.

    For instance, my great uncle was starting to get forgetful and blacking out while driving. My other uncle who was taking care of him took his keys away from him. My great uncle called the police. My uncle was told he had to give them back or be arrested for theft, domestic abuse or even wrongful imprisonment because he was taking away my uncle's freedom. Until a DOCTOR made the call that my great uncle could no longer safely drive there was nothing my uncle could do.

    So, they had to return his keys and within a few short days he ended up in a car accident. He was okay but it was so hard on my uncle because he knew there was nothing he could do about it.. legally... without getting in huge trouble.

    For guns it's the same thing. You can't take someone's property or deprive them of their rights just because YOU think they are unstable. Even if you KNOW they are unstable, they are protected against unlawful actions just like the young are.

    I, however, would be pretty okay with disabling a firearm or perhaps removing all ammunition from the house/location. You got to be a little creative in these situations.

    My family is going through this right now with my grandfather. He wants a permit to carry in the worst kind of way. He is 88. He's forgetful, VERY unsafe with firearms, shaky, everything else. He wants me just to write him a certificate saying he's taken safety training so he can get his permit. I keep telling him I can't do that and he gets pretty upset about that. There is SLIM to NONE chance he would pass a basic pistol class. He's way too unsafe, doesn't listen because "He's been shooting for 70 years and knows more than anyone about guns" and having seen him shoot he's one of the worst shots in the world. So, as long as he doesn't get someone to just write him a certificate we don't have to worry about him getting a permit. But, it's his right to get one if does get that certificate of training.

    Right now all of his guns are kept in the basement and according to some, there has been a systematic process of removing all ammo from the premises because he's starting to take them out and roam the house with them for no reason and even point them at family members. Imagine what he'd do if he got a permit to carry?

    I do hope that my family would/will step in on my behalf if I started exhibiting behavior that was unstable and my husband has promised that he would. But, unfortunately/fortunately these people are protected by law and you need to be EXCEPTIONALLY careful how you approach them else you end up slapped with a charge that takes your rights away.

  9. #9
    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    read the book " The 36 Hour Day"

    the flip-floping of personality, inability to do tasks one always use to do, living with a 5 minute memory.
    it was mentioned as 10 minutes but im thinking that was a guess. if you leave the room for 5 minutes and return, they
    continue the conversation---leave the room for 10 minutes and they great you as if you just arrived.

    read the book and know the condition
    how you chose to deal with it will now be based on some understanding of what 'it' is.

    as for guns....suggest remove live ammo, perhaps even substitute a partial box of 'duds'.
    also disable the guns and slowly remove them. the individual may not notice.

    good luck, been there and it ain't a nice place

    make sure someone responsible has power of attourney and medical.
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  10. #10
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    It would appear that your friend's mental state has been altered, probably by the death of his wife. Dementia requires a trained person to pin point exactly. IMO, discuss the situation with his/her family. I'd suggest SFury's comment to them on disabling any guns he has access to. In both cases you are not directly responsible for the person but feel an obligation to do something, and so would I. To me that something" is to make sure the family is aware of the situation. I would not let either person have a weapon nor take to the range as suicide might be their true goal.
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  11. #11
    Ex Member Array bullshark's Avatar
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    De-Friend him and never visit his facebook page again.

    People have been getting old with guns for centuries. Leave 'em alone.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Array Inspector71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by limatunes View Post
    You have to be VERY careful in these kinds of situations because many states have laws that protect the elderly from this exact kind of thing.

    For instance, my great uncle was starting to get forgetful and blacking out while driving. My other uncle who was taking care of him took his keys away from him. My great uncle called the police. My uncle was told he had to give them back or be arrested for theft, domestic abuse or even wrongful imprisonment because he was taking away my uncle's freedom. Until a DOCTOR made the call that my great uncle could no longer safely drive there was nothing my uncle could do.

    So, they had to return his keys and within a few short days he ended up in a car accident. He was okay but it was so hard on my uncle because he knew there was nothing he could do about it.. legally... without getting in huge trouble.

    For guns it's the same thing. You can't take someone's property or deprive them of their rights just because YOU think they are unstable. Even if you KNOW they are unstable, they are protected against unlawful actions just like the young are.

    I, however, would be pretty okay with disabling a firearm or perhaps removing all ammunition from the house/location. You got to be a little creative in these situations.

    My family is going through this right now with my grandfather. He wants a permit to carry in the worst kind of way. He is 88. He's forgetful, VERY unsafe with firearms, shaky, everything else. He wants me just to write him a certificate saying he's taken safety training so he can get his permit. I keep telling him I can't do that and he gets pretty upset about that. There is SLIM to NONE chance he would pass a basic pistol class. He's way too unsafe, doesn't listen because "He's been shooting for 70 years and knows more than anyone about guns" and having seen him shoot he's one of the worst shots in the world. So, as long as he doesn't get someone to just write him a certificate we don't have to worry about him getting a permit. But, it's his right to get one if does get that certificate of training.

    Right now all of his guns are kept in the basement and according to some, there has been a systematic process of removing all ammo from the premises because he's starting to take them out and roam the house with them for no reason and even point them at family members. Imagine what he'd do if he got a permit to carry?

    I do hope that my family would/will step in on my behalf if I started exhibiting behavior that was unstable and my husband has promised that he would. But, unfortunately/fortunately these people are protected by law and you need to be EXCEPTIONALLY careful how you approach them else you end up slapped with a charge that takes your rights away.
    Great post with keyword being "family" not friend.
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  13. #13
    Ex Member Array MadMac's Avatar
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    This is a family issue, not a friend issue. If you feel you must do something, share your concerns with his closest relative(s).

    You don't have to "defriend" him, but I would certainly not be doing ANYTHING with him where he would be in possession of a firearm.

    Of course, I am also one of those guys who refuses to ride/boat/fly with people whose skills and/or judgment I find suspect in these activities.
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  14. #14
    Ex Member Array walleye's Avatar
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    From op:

    I think I let a misconception open the door in my original post. My elderly friend has no guns - except his issue Colt 1911 Army gun from the early 50s - which he doesn't use and he's never been shooter since his service days. So, that is a situation much easier than were he an active participant in shooting: I merely have to dissuade him from suddenly wanting to go the range with me.

    My point in bringing this up was more and IF situation, IF he was presently a shooter - and generally led to my thoughts about the whole issue of person close to you disintegrating mentally in a way that expresses danger to others from his guns.

    The posts so far have addressed themselves to that - and I see it is a common and wrenching situation, so the answers to my question were not off. I just wanted to make clear my situation was a springboard for questions about the general problem - (more close to home as I age and friends and friends and family do also).

    Thanks

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    VIP Member Array paaiyan's Avatar
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    Had a great-great-aunt who went blind and deaf. It was a slow process, but she needed her license taken away a lot earlier than it got taken. It finally got taken when when was found driving about 5MPH down a busy 4-lane street straddling the double yellows. It'd be a tough situation to be in, but start preparing now.
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