Question of the Day: Should People on Anti-Depressants Lose Their Gun Rights?

I spoke with Top Shot contestant Paul Marinaccio this morning. The NJ Detective was adamant that training and screening should be a precondition for concealed carry. When I pointed out that the Second Amendment doesn’t say anything about training or any other qualifications (including a criminal record), Marinaccio countered by saying “You don’t want mentally ill people carrying guns do you?” According to usatoday.com, back in 2005 some 10 percent of Americans (27 million people) were taking antidepressants. If you adopted a no-carry for anti-d’s stance, hundreds of thousands of Americans might not seek psychiatric help. On the other hand, click here for stories of good drug addicts gone bad—with a gun. Although the post-Loughner spree killing clamor for a crackdown on mentally ill gun buyers/owners has simmered down, what’s your take? Should members of Prozac nation lose their gun rights?

comments

  1. avatar JOE MATAFOME says:

    NO!!!! Do you really want to make them more depressed than they already are?

  2. avatar Van says:

    Comparing Loughner to those suffering from treatable depression is comparing apples to oranges. Schizophrenia is a different animal than depression.

    To your question, those on anti-depressants should not lose their ability to own or carry a firearm. I would need to see hard statistical evidence that those who take anti-depressants commit acts of homicide or suicide in significant numbers as to warrant their exclusion to firearms.

  3. avatar Todd S says:

    Why don’t we screen for obesity and alcohol use, too? How’s about lice? Dental health? Eczema? Oh yeah, those aren’t in the 2nd amendment, either.

    1. avatar Nemesis says:

      Some anti depressants are also used to treat other ills, like Social Anxiety or OCD, even female related, physical symptoms, that are non-pysch related.

      1. avatar William says:

        +1 on that

        I have an autoimmune disease that has a symptom treated with SSRI type antidepressants. The chronic pain can be managed with these as they act like pain relievers without being one. I cannot take aspirin, acetaminophen, or NSAIDS like Ibuprofen. The only options are narcotic painkillers that are dangerous to my kidneys and have many negative effects. Daily use of generic Prozac keeps the pain minimal without major side effects.

        1. avatar Robert Farago says:

          Holy mackerel! Text amended to include the link.

        2. avatar David says:

          I have irritable bowel syndrome, a disorder of the gastrointestinal system, that is significantly alleviated by taking a tricyclic antidepressant. The drug doesn’t affect my mood, personality or decision making, and I’m no less capable of safely owning and legally using firearms because I take it. So, you can’t assume someone is mentally impaired just being on an anti-depressants, because not everyone on them is taking them for their mental health.

  4. avatar Stephen says:

    Buying a New Gun is the best anti-depressant there is! :-p

    1. avatar sdog says:

      +1

      Schizophrenia and depression are so far apart, how about engaging a little and scientific understanding Marinaccio?

  5. avatar Jahfakin says:

    Yes. I’m a Probation/parole officer and work in a mental health unit. Some of my offenders who are clinically depressed have the potential to be homicidal/suicidal if they are off their meds or stop going to treatment. Even with treatment some can be a threat to themselves and others.

    1. avatar Van says:

      Wouldn’t most of your clientele, by the laws on the books, already be prohibited from owning a firearm?

      1. avatar jahfakin says:

        I prefer not to refer to offenders as “clients” or “clientele”, but you are correct, probationers/parolees are forbidden from owning or possessing a firearm. my point was that I work with the mentally ill everyday, from the mildly depressed to the criminally insane that are committed to a Psychiatric hospital. My opinion is that once a person needs meds to stabilize or normalize them it’s too risky to trust them with a firearm. Because once they are off their meds, their behavior could become unpredictable.

        1. avatar JOE MATAFOME says:

          Your so called “clients” are criminals so they can’t own guns, but someone who isn’t a criminal and takes meds shouldn’t be treated like a criminal.

        2. avatar Jason says:

          Plus, your sample of humanity is biased — you only see criminals, not everyday people on
          anti-depressants.

        3. avatar jahfakin says:

          if someone is diagnosed with Clinical Depression and have to be on mood altering substance (psychotropic ), then I feel they shouldn’t be able to own or possess a firearm. that’s just my opinion. I don’t see denying someone the right to own/possess a firearm the same as treating them like a criminal. And yes, I also deal with regular people on anti-depressants. Like most people in this world, I have colleagues, friends and family that are depressed and some take meds for it. But they are mildly depressed or just sad and able to function w/o issues. Those I don’t mind owning firearms. But again, if someone is diagnosed with Major depressive disorder (clinical depression), that’s another story, you could be dealing with unpredictable behavior.

        4. avatar cmd says:

          Psychotropics are used to treat ADD/ADHD, mild depression and to help quit smoking to name a few other reasons. If a person has not been adjudicated as mentally deficient or committed to an institution, they should not loose their rights. A person should sit down with the doctor and discuss the potential hazards and have family and friends watch for warning signs while adjusting to the medication.

        5. avatar jbyrne27 says:

          We used to sterilize women for being “feeble-minded”.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buck_v._Bell

          It’s a slippery slope.

    2. avatar matt says:

      Everyone has the potential to be homicidal. Who hasnt wished death upon another at some point in their lives?

  6. avatar Spawnofbill says:

    NO. Just because you are depressed does not mean you are a danger to yourself or anyone else. Can untreated extreme depression lead to that? Yes, but that distinction should be decided SOLEY by mental health professionals, not the government.

    Everyone’s depression is different, and it’s up to mental health professionals to make sure those with violent tendencies are so documented. When the system works those people normally can’t get weapons or CCW depending on the state.

    1. avatar matt says:

      Mental health professionals shouldnt be trusted either. As a child I was on probation, I had a court ordered psych eval after the Columbine incident. It that said I was an imminent threat to my self and the community. This was followed by a ASA telling a judge they had over 30 witnesses to me making various threats in school. My attorney replied that they had me taken out of school for a week immediately after Columbine and that it was impossible for me to make those threats. The judge read the eval, and said he expected as much and denied the ASA’s request to have me jailed indefinitely. Mental health professionals can be as biased as anyone in government.

  7. avatar cmd says:

    Some people, especially those in their early 20’s and teens, have negative reactions to anti-depressants. They become more depressed. The U.S. Navy will suspend weapons qualifications for those who start the medications until a doctor evaluates and clears them. That was S.O.P. at the commands I was stationed.

    I was prescribed Wellbutrin for a while. I was very aware of the potential problems but never had an issue. I would hope anyone taking the medication would take great care. Ask friends and family for help if needed.

    They State should not take away their rights based on medication alone. A diagnosis of an illness linked with violence sure. There needs to be a mechanism or process in place for rights restoral once healthy.

  8. avatar Tom says:

    We don’t want dangerously mentally ill people doing a lot of things — driving buses, teaching kindergarten, working on nuclear subs… I think the key to keep guns out of the hands of people with truly dangerous mental illness is more a question of how we identify and treat them. No sane person suddenly “snaps” when he holds a gun. I’m guessing that the majority of dangerously ill people exhibited signs as teens, before the age most of them could buy a gun. If we can get them help, and yes, put them on a list prohibiting them from buying a gun until they can prove to a doctor and/or judge that they’re now sane, we’d reduce the chances of them committing violent crimes — with or without a gun.

  9. avatar waif says:

    I bet instituting a requirement to strip people on antidepressants of their gun rights would discourage a lot of people who could benefit from antidepressants or therapy from seeking medical attention, to their own and to their loved ones’ detriment.

    1. avatar ScottA says:

      +1

      I would never go to a doctor if I was depressed if it took away my 2nd amendment rights.

      1. avatar BLAMMO says:

        If you have a pistol license or you ever intend to get one, don’t ever seek or accept treatment for a psychiatric disorder. I mean, you’d have to be crazy, right?

  10. avatar JTB says:

    I took an anti-depressant because one of its side effects was to stop teeth grinding before I had double jaw surgery. Clearly things should not be as black and white as: On anti-depressants = no gun rights. The lose of any right should only happen in a court anyway.

  11. avatar Paleololly says:

    Hell no! I’ve been on anti-depressants forever, and me and my guns get along just fine.

  12. avatar MikeSilver says:

    As Waif pointed out, punishing people for seeking medical treatment means less people get medical treatment and that is bad for society as a whole.

    Blanket prohibitions are offensive to the Constitution and America. Everyone is innocent till proven guilty and everyone is guaranteed due process. If someone is a violent threat, go to a judge and get a court order.

  13. avatar Adam Z says:

    No, usage of antidepressants should NOT disqualify the law abiding citizen from owning or carrying firearms. I was on antidepressants for about a year, and it was during that time that I applied for & received my CHP. I was going through a stressful period – life changes (becoming a new parent), job stress, etc. & had a lot of anxiety & tension issues. That being said, at no time did I feel homicidal or suicidal. There is a misconception in the general public that if someone is on antidepressants then they are at risk for being homicidal or suicidal, and let me tell you – there are a lot of people on antidepressants who are neither. I love life, I love my wife & little girl, & I like my co-workers (well, most of them… but I have no desire to harm even the few I dislike).

  14. avatar Silver says:

    I was seeing a therapist and trying anti-depressants for five years or so due to extreme social anxiety and mild OCD. Nothing worked.

    When I moved to PA (from NJ) I bought my first gun, followed by plenty more. I got into shooting, got to know people at a club I joined, tried out some IDPA, and just took to the culture of it. I’m not on anti-depressants anymore and I only see a therapist on a “need to see” basis.

    Take from that what you will.

  15. avatar ian says:

    No, do you want unmedicated depressed people armed? That would be the result.

  16. avatar Wes S. says:

    Not only no, but HELL NO.

    Practically every quirk of human nature or behavior these days is supposedly evidence of some sort of psychological syndrome or disorder…and wouldn’t you know, there’s a pill for that! Your QOTD is so easily subject to abuse – and it would so very quickly and widely be abused, along with many members of the public – that it would qualify as a Sarah Brady erotic fantasy.

    Imagine, for example, JTB back up the thread who was prescribed antidepressants to deal with a teeth-grinding problem while waiting for surgery. Now imagine a SWAT team showing up at his house to collect his guns because his name was kicked out of a database somewhere as a potential threat…and odds are it would be a middle-of-the-night, no-knock raid because gosh, if he’s on an antidepressant he must be unstable and we gotta be concerned about our officers’ safety, don’t we?

    Now imagine that sort of thing happening all over the country.

  17. avatar Tim McNabb says:

    I think this is a solution looking for a problem. A determined, anti-social mentally unstable person will not be deterred from getting a gun any more than any other determined person.

    It may be wise to advise a friend who is clinically depressed to surrender their firearms for safekeeping, but advising a person to do something is not the same as the state depriving an articulated right.

  18. avatar 277Volt says:

    I think the current system is entirely adequate. Anyone adjudicated as incompetent or involuntarily committed to a mental institution will be denied. Those are guys that refuse treatment and/or have committed a crime while ill and are the ones I’d worry about. According to the FBI’s website, over the last decade approximately 700,000 gun purchases have been denied and I can’t help but wonder how many of those denials are the result of a guy lying on the form about an adjudication or committal.

    My problem is these laws and changes are being proposed by folks who see mental illness as mysterious or spooky, they know nothing about it. These are the same types that passed the patriot act without even bothering to read it. Take the most common mental illness around (depression) for instance. Its merely a deficiency of one, two or all three of the neurotransmitters we need to enjoy life and function to our fullest. The deficiency can be a natural lack of production (clinical depression) or it can be brought on by prolonged periods of stress or chronic pain. Prolonged periods of stress you say? Look at the number of our beloved troops that need help for depression when they come back to the States.

    A shithead malcontent hellbent on killing people will always find a way. If he can’t get a gun he’ll just use a bomb and the IRA has more than proved that method. Good luck trying to legislate away all the components possible for a bomb. A lone good guy can (and has) taken out a shooter but here in the States cars and backpacks never get a second look…

  19. avatar Jamie in ND says:

    No.

  20. avatar Some Sock Puppet says:

    No.

    Medications are provided too often, with too little study, in too much quantity, for all the wrong reasons, and I say with some authority, improperly during the guessing game that is modern psych.

    Didn’t Stalin do something like this?

    I don’t trust any government that doesn’t want me armed.

  21. avatar John says:

    If our government decided to take away people’s 2nd Amendment rights due to any form of mental disorder ranging from minor to severe, then 57.7 million Americans’ gun rights would be taken. Many people take anti-depressants for depression and also other disorders such as anxiety, OCD, panic attacks ect. as well. Millions of Americans would be discourage to seek help due to the consequences of their freedom and rights being taken away. The government has cut fundings to mental healthcare as well, but the goberment and other activists want to have stricter gun control for people with minor disorders would be a recipe for disaster. On the other hand, I don’t see anything wrong with taking weapons away from mentally ill people who has stood in front of a court room and was committed judicially. Also, comparing people with treatable depression symptoms to people with schizophrenia, severe bi-polar disorders, and anger issues are two different categories. It’s like comparing a house cat to a mountain lion. My mom had surgery, and they prescribe her anti-depressants for a short period and also anxiety medication. Why should she have to lose her freedom and rights because her surgery was meant to improve her health that the doctor recommended her to have. I can’t believe there are idiots out there that want to violate people’s rights because people choose to seek help to improve health. Why do liberals want to violate our rights anyways? They complain about gun violence and mass shootings behaving like they care about lives, but at the same time they murder millions of babies each year through abortion. Full of hypocrisy is all I see

  22. avatar none says:

    IMO, this is a matter of due process, which should require judicial review. It is no small matter to take away someones rights. Shall disabled individuals be denied free speech, or be compelled to self incriminate too? Why stop at the second amendment? How about equal protection or freedom of religion? Can you see the slippery legal slope this creates? It is likely many people would receive a DSM-V diagnosis today. I could probably easly drive most you crazy within a few hours. The question is are you mentally competent? How can a person be competent to stand trial on the one hand yet be too incompetent to have their full rights on the other?

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