Marion Hammer (courtesy ammoland.com)

Marion Hammer’s been lobbying on behalf of the National Rifle Association for donkey’s years. The last time we heard from the former NRA Prez was April 2011. The cat fancier was explaining why it was OK for the Gunshine State to ban doctors from asking their patients about their firearms. TTAG thought that was a really dumb and insidious idea; the government has no business interfering with doctor – patient communications. Marion & Co. eventually lost that one in the courts. And now she’s back, backing another Big Brother-boosting bill: HB1355Protection of Vulnerable Persons  . . .

The premise of the bill is relatively simple. It would extend a ban on purchasing firearms to people who voluntarily seek mental health treatment after being examined under Florida’s Baker Act statutes. The Baker Act applies to people deemed a danger to themselves or others.

Under current law, people involuntarily committed to treatment are prohibited from purchasing a firearm, but those who volunteer are not.

Volunteering for treatment is more common. Miami-Dade County Court Judge Steve Leifman told the Herald/Times that only 1 percent of the 115,000 people processed under the Baker Act last year were involuntarily committed.

The other 99 percent voluntarily submitted to treatment, which means they could purchase guns upon their release.

Marion Hammer’s all for Florida Governor Rick Scott to sign HB1355 into law. No surprise there. The NRA helped craft the legislation. Here’s their case for passage:

Currently, people being held in a mental health facility under a Baker Act Commitment and who are subsequently determined to be a danger to themselves or others, may voluntarily agree to be committed for treatment to avoid going to court.

If they don’t voluntarily agree to treatment, a petition is then filed for a court hearing for involuntary commitment. When a court orders a commitment, the person’s name is entered into the National Instant Check System (NICS) database of people who are prohibited from purchasing firearms. If they voluntarily agree to commitment their names are NOT entered in to the database.

Fair enough, right? Other than a vague whiff of coercion. Anyway, here’s the tricky bit:

Under HB-1355, people in this category may still agree to voluntary commitment for treatment, but they would be informed (and must sign a statement acknowledging that they have been informed) that because they are deemed to be dangerous, their names will be entered into the NICS database until they have had treatment and are no longer considered a danger to themselves or others and may apply to have their names removed from the database. The process for removing a name from the database is exactly the same as already prescribed in law for those who have been involuntarily committed for treatment.

If the person disagrees or feels strongly about not giving up his gun rights, the person can refuse voluntary commitment and a petition for involuntary commitment would move ahead through the full court process, in which the person has the opportunity to fight it in court.

So, under the new bill, if you agree to treatment/continued commitment you agree to give up your gun rights. If you don’t they take you to court and . . . take away your gun rights.

And then, later, you can have your natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms restored. By the State and then the FBI. In theory. In practice, highly doubtful.

The National Association of Gun Rights and the Gun Owners of America aren’t happy about HB1355. They’ve sent email blasts urging The People of the Gun to express their desire for a veto. Marion’s fighting back, tooth and nail. She reckons . . .

Gun owners are being deceived by reckless people who are sending out email blasts attacking the bill as being anti-Second Amendment . . .

“These are not organizations that are here on the ground, working the issue,” said Hammer, who worked with the bill’s sponsors during the legislative session. “They are full of disinformation designed to inflame and upset people and help them raise money.” . . .

“All it does is stop people who are a danger to themselves or others from being able to buy a gun,” she said.

‘Cause the NRA would never inflame people to raise money. That aside, what could possibly go wrong? The history of the Soviet Union is our guide.

The basic problem here is not the bill’s language. It’s Marion and the NRA’s assumption that the State-fed, federally-administered NICS is an effective system for stopping mentally deranged people from gaining access to firearms and committing heinous crimes with same.

It isn’t. The sooner Marion’s mob accepts that fact, the safer we’ll all be. Really.

36 Responses to NRA Lobbyist on the Wrong Side of a Gun Issue. Again.

  1. Physician, heal thyself. Keep your guns a secret, since it is the new Communism, now that Communism has swept DC.

  2. That picture sums up everything that’s wrong with the NRA. A 70s something woman with a bowl cut and ridiculous blouse.

      • And these two comments represent what is wrong with the comments section of this site. You guys don’t even read the blog before hitting your keyboards.

        The fact is that Ms Hammer was on the right side of the medical “ban” despite Roberts claim (I still don’t understand your position here Robert as you appear to suggest the she was against the ban on medical conversations when in fact she wasn’t).

        Another note, you can be as snarky as you want but Hammer has done more for gun rights than all of you guys put together so you may want to show a little respect.

  3. The NRA like the SAF needs to stick to litigation and lobbying. Crafting legislation isn’t in their skillset.

    • And you sir have no idea what you are talking about. Crafting legislation is indeed their strong suit as is litigation and lobbying.

  4. As always, the tricky part of the guns and mental health issue is not identifying those demonstrably deranged and dangerous, but separating those potentially dangerous from the rest and preventing the Governments from using that “Twilight Zone” to selectively abuse the rest. It may be an intractable problem. Any suggestions on how to resolve it fairly and securely?

    The “solution” discussed above depends far too much on Government People to be fair or secure to the larger population IMHO….

    • “potentially dangerous” describes every human being on this planet, even those not born yet.

      You shouldn’t be trying to prohibit people(aka everyone) from having firearms because they’re “potentially dangerous” since EVERYONE is potentially dangerous.

      The only thing this will do is prevent people from ever getting help, because as you’re perfectly aware of, getting OFF the prohibited persons list does. Not. Ever. Happen.

      • Well, all you say is what makes this so intractable. My question about there being any “fair” and “secure” resolutions will bring you to a pretty resounding “No!” after careful thought. However, the Politicians and a large number of The People persist in believing there is such an answer, or that the answer is to disarm everyone. Sooner or later they will enact some unworkable “resolution” or effectively disarm us, but the Politicians will not do the sensible thing and allow ordinary Citizens to carry for their own protection and the protection of others. against the crazies that keep screwing all of us when their danger “potential” goes to active.

  5. I must be missing something. You start out slamming Ms. Hammer for being on the correct side of the issue??!! Unless I misread her statement, she was AGAINST doctors asking about gun ownership; what’s wrong with that?

    What am I missing?

    • This regards a separate issue; the question of whether people who submit themselves voluntarily to continued treatment after they’ve been committed and determined to be a danger will be submitted as ineligible to NICS.

      Currently, only those who refuse treatment are submitted.

    • It is not any business of the government to dictate what me and my doctor discuss.

      If I don’t like what my doctor says, I can walk out and go see another doctor. I’m not a child that needs to be ‘protected’ by some Bloomberg-esque nanny state law.

  6. I’m a Benefactor NRA member and I just got a bill from them for my Golden Eagle membership which is $200/year. I withheld that payment over this issue.

    Where in the words “shall not be infringed” does the NRA find an exception for mental health? Or for background checks? “Shall not be infringed” means no compromise. None. Ever. You will not find the word “reasonable” in the Second Amendment, either. When you compromise your rights, you lose them, especially with this recent band of executive-branch thugs. The NRA has fallen into the same trap as the GOP, they want everyone the like them and so they pander and in doing so they fail in their primary purpose – to protect our Second Amendment rights.

    • Whoa there deadeye, where did the NRA say that expanding “backgound checks” is ok?

      Not to play devils advocate, but at what point do you guys believe that it is ok to support keeping guns away from mentally deranged people?

      • There is a statement I have read many times here and on other sites. If they cannot be trusted with a firearm, they cannot be trusted anywhere without a custodian. Felons, mentally ill, children, politicians, etc.

      • Well Paul to play devils advocate to your statement who gets to decide you are “mentally deranged”? And what are the criteria for labeling you as such? Have you ever flipped someone the one finger salute? Uh oh you must have anger management issues = mentally deranged. Ever had a fight with your wife/girlfriend = again anger management issues. Ever had a close friend or family member die and it made you sad? = depression, suicidal tendancies.

        What you fail to understand Paul is its we don’t have a problem with keeping guns away from the truly mentally deranged i.e. someone with a violent history. The problem we have is who gets the power to put these labels on people. How do I know that the marriage counselor that I see to try and make my marriage stronger isn’t some left wing gun grabber who decides to put in her file that because every now and again the wife and I raise our voices to discuss something I’m a danger to others?

        And like everyone has already stated once you are on the list your on it. And if you truly believe that its so easy to get off the list I would suggest you try a little experiment. Have your doc or local sheriff have your name added to the NICS then go through the process getting it removed from that list. If it’s as simple as you seem to think it is you should have no problem right? Try it out and let us know the results. Then in six months or so after you think you’ve gotten your name off the list go to the nearest gun store and do a background check to purchase a gun. I’d be willing to bet that you get a visit from some nice badge wearing people eager to discuss with you why you are trying to purchase a gun.

        The problem we have in this country is lack of follow-through. We slap criminals on the hand and say to them “NO!, BAD!, DON’T DO IT AGAIN!” but then we release them back into the general population after a short all expense paid trip to the local exercise house where they get free health care, free education, TV, internet, food, etc. And why do we do this? Because criminals are people too they can’t have their rights infringed, that would be just WRONG! When did we stop punishing people, oh that’s right we don’t spank our kids anymore because that might scar them for life, not to mention put us in the NICS for domestic abuse….. We as a country need to grow up and quit being the pussies that the rest of the world has already decided we are.

        Ok Paul the soapbox is yours again I’ve said my piece and didn’t even have to pay some therapist $40 an hour to listen and best of all I’ve gotten to keep my name off the NICS.

  7. You have 50 states, with hundreds of different individual laws, rules, procedures and special interests. NICS will never work because the database will never be up to date, or clean or accurate.

    • It works well because their stated reasons are virtually the opposite of their real reasons. NCIS works in the exact way they want it to work: to gradually program society out of notions of Truth, Justice and the American Way.

  8. The NRA is out in left field again with out a clue, that’s a bad law , it will do just what no one wants, it will keep people from getting medical help and do NOTHING to stop crime.

  9. Since I’ve moved to Florida, I can’t say I’ve been a fan of hers. Especially after the open carry debacle that occurred 2 years ago. The Legislature took up a bill that would allow open carry. Then some yahoo amended it to just a bill that would lessen the brandishing language for brief/inadvertent exposure (and basically leave it to an officer’s discretion what was a “breif” or “inadvertent” exposure of a gun) and Marion Hammer said it wasn’t about open carry and only whackjobs wanted to carry in the open.

    Personally, it pushed me off from joining the NRA and I ended up waiting until the last minute to join when I had to for a range membership.

    http://www.ammoland.com/2011/05/response-to-rude-open-carry-blogger/
    http://www.floridashootersnetwork.com/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=88456

    • +1

      NRA will never ever and I mean ever get another dime from me.

      Plenty of other groups out there that do a lot better job of speaking for gun people.

      You can sum up the NRA :
      They endorsed McCain, Romney, Reid, and countless others, and never endorsed Ron Paul who openly stated all gun laws violated 2A.

  10. Farago, you’re getting very close to arguing that mentally ill people should be allowed access to firearms. I’m as pro-gun as the next guy but the NRA is completely right here. Plus this diffuses the media’s claim that the NRA just wants more and more guns on the street regardless of who gets hurt.

  11. Here’s the thing. Drunks are sometimes Baker Acted as well as people who are dazed / confused for some reason.

    The hospital I work at uses it as a “Hey, we’re kinda concerned about you so we’re going to hold you for a bit and make sure you’re all right.”

    • Woman: “You’re DRUNK!”

      W.C. Fields: “And you’re CRAZY; tomorrow I’ll be sober. You’ll be crazy for the rest of your life!”

      • Not everyone that is Bakered should go on a “No Firearms” list. The system is a safety net to try and catch those with real problems, not a guy or girl that was Baker acted after a stupid fight with the their significant other for a baseless threat of self harm. I’ve seen it happen before.

  12. “The cat fancier was explaining why it was OK for the Gunshine State to ban doctors from asking their patients about their firearms. TTAG thought that was a really dumb and insidious idea; the government has no business interfering with doctor – patient communications.”

    Will someone explain to me WHY banning doctors from interrogating their patients about their guns is a bad idea? How that is supportive of freedom and the Second Amendment, and so forth?

    NO ONE can “ban” you telling your doctor about your guns. Never have been able to. Doctor-patient confidentiality is a guaranteed right. Even if that were turned on its head, it’s still a right, as long as we fight it.

    So since when is it fine to support a law that negates a patient’s rights to privacy.

    And DON’T pretend your position is a “blow for liberty. It’s not.

  13. Maybe they was right in blocking/banning a requirement/mandate for your doc to ask about your weapons.

    She is wrong on this one because Those who voluntarily check-in are usually the ones who want the help. Those voluntarily seeking it know they have problems that need fixed. Those that don’t, but need it, are the real dangers. Also it places the list of treatments on a hit-list for expansion to deprive rights.

    NRA members should show a vote of no-confidence in her and elect someone more up-to-speed and less willing to give up rights to attempt to protect others. (Those rights will still be targeted AFTER.)

  14. first off the Government started the rift in Dr/patient relationships by requiring them to ask about firearms in the home, that is none of any Doctors business pro or con, its a way to help identify who has and who has not. the first Doctor that asks me will get told to mind his own F’ing business and worry about why I’m here NOT what I have at home, and it should be illegal to pry into anyone’s personal business where it does not have anything to do with the medical issue. I can Tell the so called “expert on issues” Robert is just another follower with his head up Pelosi’s skirt.

  15. This is a reply to Paul back on June 24th.
    Paul to play devils advocate to your statement who gets to decide you are “mentally deranged”? And what are the criteria for labeling you as such? Have you ever flipped someone the one finger salute? Uh oh you must have anger management issues = mentally deranged. Ever had a fight with your wife/girlfriend = again anger management issues. Ever had a close friend or family member die and it made you sad? = depression, suicidal tendencies.

    What you fail to understand Paul is its we don’t have a problem with keeping guns away from the truly mentally deranged i.e. someone with a violent history. The problem we have is who gets the power to put these labels on people. How do I know that the marriage counselor that I see to try and make my marriage stronger isn’t some left wing gun grabber who decides to put in her file that because every now and again the wife and I raise our voices to discuss something I’m a danger to others?

    And like everyone has already stated once you are on the list your on it. And if you truly believe that its so easy to get off the list I would suggest you try a little experiment. Have your doc or local sheriff have your name added to the NICS then go through the process getting it removed from that list. If it’s as simple as you seem to think it is you should have no problem right? Try it out and let us know the results. Then in six months or so after you think you’ve gotten your name off the list go to the nearest gun store and do a background check to purchase a gun. I’d be willing to bet that you get a visit from some nice badge wearing people eager to discuss with you why you are trying to purchase a gun.

    The problem we have in this country is lack of follow-through. We slap criminals on the hand and say to them “NO!, BAD!, DON’T DO IT AGAIN!” but then we release them back into the general population after a short all expense paid trip to the local exercise house where they get free health care, free education, TV, internet, food, etc. And why do we do this? Because criminals are people too they can’t have their rights infringed, that would be just WRONG! When did we stop punishing people, oh that’s right we don’t spank our kids anymore because that might scar them for life, not to mention put us in the NICS for domestic abuse….. We as a country need to grow up and quit being the pussies that the rest of the world has already decided we are.

    Ok Paul the soapbox is yours again I’ve said my piece and didn’t even have to pay some therapist $40 an hour to listen and best of all I’ve gotten to keep my name off the NICS.

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