FBI Adds Thousands to Gun-Sale Ban List "Mental Defective File"
This is a discussion on FBI Adds Thousands to Gun-Sale Ban List "Mental Defective File" within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; FBI Adds Thousands to Gun-Sale Ban List "Mental Defective File" Grows From 175,000 to 400,000 names across U.S.
By Dan Eggen
the washington post
December 9th, 2007 10:26 AM
FBI Adds Thousands to Gun-Sale Ban List "Mental Defective File"
FBI Adds Thousands to Gun-Sale Ban List "Mental Defective File" Grows From 175,000 to 400,000 names across U.S.
By Dan Eggen
the washington post
Since the Virginia Tech shootings last spring, the FBI has more than doubled the number of people nationwide who are prohibited from buying guns because of mental health problems, the Justice Department said Friday.
Justice officials said the FBI's "Mental Defective File" has ballooned from 175,000 names in June to nearly 400,000, primarily because of additions from California. The names are listed in a subset of a database that gun dealers are supposed to check before completing sales.
The surge in names underscores the size of the gap in FBI records that allowed Seung Hui Cho to purchase the handguns he used in April to kill 32 people and himself at the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg.
A Virginia state court found Cho to be dangerously mentally ill in 2005 and ordered him to receive outpatient treatment. But because Cho was not ordered into hospital treatment, the court's order was never provided to the FBI and incorporated in its database. Two gun dealers checked the list before selling Cho the 9mm Glock 19 and the Walther .22-caliber pistol he used in the shootings.
For nearly four decades, federal law has prohibited gun sales to people judged to be "mentally defective," but enforcement has been haphazard. A 1995 Supreme Court ruling barred the federal government from forcing states to provide the data, and 18 states - including Delaware and West Virginia - provide no mental health-related information to the FBI at all. Both Virginia and Maryland do provide the data.
Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a group favoring tighter firearms controls, said the most optimistic estimates suggest that even the FBI's expanded list is missing four of five Americans who have been ruled mentally dangerous to themselves or others.
"If people realized how weak our system is in terms of background checks for people who are dangerously mentally ill, they would be shocked," Helmke said. "It's clear that there could be another Virginia Tech killer buying a gun today, and there's nothing that can be done about it."
The vast majority of the individuals who were added to the FBI's list were identified by California, which provided more than 200,000 names in October, the Justice Department said. Ohio provided more than 7,000 new names, and the number of states reporting mental health data to the FBI this year grew from 23 to 32, officials said.
"Instant background checks are essential to keeping guns out of the wrong hands, while still protecting the privacy of our citizens," Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said in a speech announcing the numbers in Park City, Utah. "But as we learned in the tragedy at Virginia Tech, the checks must be accurate and complete to be effective. We're making progress, and I hope that even more states will submit this information."
The Virginia Tech deaths, which resulted from the deadliest college campus shooting incident in U.S. history, have prompted a push by federal and state lawmakers to improve voluntary reporting by the states of those covered by the ban.
House Democrats reached an agreement earlier this year with the National Rifle Association on legislation meant to encourage states to submit timely background-check data to the FBI, by offering monetary awards and threatening penalties.
"Our position has always been that those who have been adjudicated as mentally defective or a danger to themselves or to others or suicidal should not have access to firearms" and should be added to the FBI's list, NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said.
The measure passed easily in the House, but it has stalled in the Senate because of a hold by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. He has said he opposes the legislation because he thinks its implementation would cost too much and because it lacks a mechanism to challenge inclusion on the list. He was joined by some veterans' groups, which argued that former soldiers might be denied gun-owning rights without due process.
In Virginia, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine tightened state rules in May by ordering agencies to block gun sales to those involuntarily committed for inpatient or outpatient mental health treatment. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley also issued a new gun-purchase regulation, which requires buyers to sign a waiver that releases mental health records to state police.
Mukasey highlighted the expanded FBI list during his first public speech after being narrowly confirmed by the Senate three weeks ago. He also told the National Association of Attorneys General that Washington will continue federal assistance for communities struggling against rising rates of violent crime.
Great, now your doctor can effectivly take your guns. What say you?
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier
and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the
service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the
love and thanks of man and woman."
-- Thomas Paine (The American Crisis, No. 1, 19 December 1776)
December 9th, 2007 10:38 AM
there has to be a system of checks and balances in case of a wrong diagnosis but generally when someone is mentally not fit to own up to the responsibilities of gun ownership then too bad!
I am sworn to protect the Constitution of the U.S.A. from all threats both foreign and domestic.
December 9th, 2007 01:00 PM
I moderate another bulletin board which sometimes brings posts from people who are seeing psychologists and psychiatrists for one issue or another. Almost always, but certainly not all the time, the poster has a minor benign issue.
The sad thing, the quality of mental health care seems to generally stink. It has been determined that for general medical conditions, people receive the correct diagnosis and standard of care perhaps 50% of the time. I'd think from what I have seen, this number is somewhat lower in the mental health field.
We have heard from folks who were involuntarily held on the most absurd and flimsy evidence, and nothing more than an off hand remark that they wish it would all end. One man with no history of violence was dragged from his house and taken for 3 days confinement, on the word of a shrink who probably needed one herself.
We sometimes hear from rather seriously disturbed people, yet they are no danger to others, and probably not to themselves if given a little friendly verbal ncouragement.
And we hear from folks who have been plea bargained into jail, though a small fine and some supervision would have been adequate.
This business of blocking the "mentally ill" from obtaining handguns is not by itself wrong. I agree with the notion. But I do have serious reservations about how this gets done in a just manner. In some states, there is excessive trust in the judgment of mental health practioners, and too little in the way of adversary process before the fact.
This morning I heard from a man who is convinced his shrink does not want to provide proper treatment so that the state will save Medicaid money. I don't want someone like that with CCW, but he is not verbalizing threats to anyone.
People are like straws in a box. All are bent. Some are broken.
December 9th, 2007 04:10 PM
OK, that explains a lot
Justice officials said the FBI's "Mental Defective File" has ballooned from 175,000 names in June to nearly 400,000, primarily because of additions from California.
You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
Ego will kill you. Leave it at home.
December 9th, 2007 08:00 PM
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." -Thomas Jefferson
"Liberalism is a Mental Disorder." -Michael Savage
GOOD Gun Control is being able to hit your target! -Myself
December 9th, 2007 08:06 PM
To me the 800 lb gorilla that no one wants to notice is that now a large segement of our population ( gunowners and prospective gunowners ) will not seek treatment for even minor complaints that could be considered to affect mental state . I dont just mean mental problems but such common things as diabities where blood sugar can affect mental process ect..
Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .
Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.
December 9th, 2007 08:12 PM
Originally Posted by flagflyfish
A bunch of mental defectives in Kalifornia, does that surprise anyone? The problem is most are their elected representives
December 9th, 2007 08:45 PM
Along the lines of Redneck Repairs...
Something more to consider....
...Becoming classified as "mentally defective" requires that a person has to be in the medical system. He or she has to be someone who has seen a doctor of medicine, and more specifically, a doctor of mental health, and have a health record in which there would be documentation in support of the claimed defect. From there it would have to be released into the criminal justice system.
[Okay, I am guessing here. What I have written so far is presumption on my part. Experts in the forum can bring out the mechanism, but that's not my point.]
What is the point is that not everyone is in the medical system. There are those who don't go to any doctor, and others who only go to alternative medicine practitioners. These would be excluded from the pool of labeled mental defectives. These could be mentally unstable and still get their hands on a gun legally because they would be flying under the radar of the background checks
I would be interested in knowing if there will be some database to track the next mass killer's mental history and see whether or not he or she was inside or outside the medical system. It may prove that more mentally compromised individuals are less likely to seek treatment than is presently presumed.
...Just some more thought for cerebral consumption.
Last edited by xercise2nd; December 9th, 2007 at 08:48 PM.
Reason: Realized my thoughts were mirroring RR's
"Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." --- John Adams
(1735-1826) Founding Father, 2nd US President
Source: Oct. 11, 1798; Address to the military
December 9th, 2007 09:32 PM
Flaws in the system
Originally Posted by xercise2nd
In the example I posted above in this thread, a CA man visited a shrink about an annoying but harmless problem. He thought things had gone well, was allowed to leave the office, and the "doc" voiced no concern that he should be hospitalized involuntarily or otherwise.
However, after he left the office, she called the cops who picked him up at his home and involuntarily held him at a mental health facility for 3 days. He came to the board I moderate seeking help and redress for what had been done to him.
These things happen, more than we would like to believe, and they leave the "patient" with an indelible record of having been involuntarily confined.
I fully agree that plenty of people should not be getting CCW licenses or be permited to purchase any kind of weapon due to mental health issues, but I also think there is no way to have a fair system without straight forward inexpensive appeal rights.
Elsewhere on this board there is a thread about some new law to bar former military people who have been judged to suffer from PTSD from buying guns. The law seems well intended, but is obviously silly.
I don't know a good way to handle this--especially since some of the worst psychopaths do indeed fly under the radar until they harm someone. Folks who are really sick don't voluntarily seek treatment, while folks who seek treatment are often not particularly ill. It is quite a dilemma.
And as has just been pointed out, some seek help through various forms of alternative medicine and slide right under the radar.
December 9th, 2007 10:37 PM
Actually, the language used is something like "adjudicated mentally defective by a court of law."
Originally Posted by xercise2nd
What that means is that it cannot be merely the opinion of a G.P., psychiatrist, social worker, psychotherapist, etc. It must be adjudicated in court that this person is dangerous to themselves or others.
That would help to make sure that someone is not summarily determined to be incapable of gun ownership.
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliott
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
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