Underneath our post Gun Hero of the Day: CT Rep. Rob Sampson, commentator John warned that giving the state power to confiscate guns from depressed and/or mentally ill people “is a cure worse than the disease.” Here’s his take:

I believe it was impolitic of you to accuse Derek of proposing that, “…people be allowed to commit suicide…”. I’ll attribute it to the intensity of your feeling. Sadly, the world is not a perfect place. My heart goes out to any families with seriously depressed loved ones. They have my sympathies. That said . . .

giving the state the power, under force of law to deprive persons of their property without due process is a cure worse than the disease. This is true in part because, also sadly, the Government is not perfect either. Time and time again the government has abused power awarded it in a noble purpose . . .

So you would give an imperfect and untrustworthy State the power to inflict unwarranted upheaval in others lives in exchange for… in exchange for what exactly? The mere potential to save someone from themselves? There are cases where parents have asked the police for help with their troubled teens – only to have the police show up and immediately murder their loved one. You want more of this? .

Sadly, sometimes no solution seems ready to hand. We feel powerless. Nearly always, getting the State involved in providing the solution is much worse than doing nothing at all. The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions.

36 Responses to TTAG Commentator: Be Careful What You Wish For

    • Exactly right. I can only add one additional point:

      “…shall not be infringed.” doe not allow for any qualifiers. It is a definitive statement. The moment that you agree that ANY government agency has the authority to decide who may or may not exercise a natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right you have given away that right.

      There is nothing in the Second Amendment giving the government at any level the authority to determine who may exercise their rights.

      Conservatives like to say that Liberalism is a mental disorder. Gun-grabbers think we’re all crazy just because we want our guns. How safe are any of us if we even consider allowing some government entity to decide what “mental illness is and at what point they can begin denying our rights?

  1. Lack of due process is unfortunately not an issue for many people if it doesn’t affect them directly at that moment or it violates rights they do not like.

    • But that’s really the crux of the matter, isn’t it? Restricting gun rights doesn’t impact anti’s so it’s OK…until the gov’t finds something THEY care about to restrict, like free speech. It shouldn’t matter which constitutional freedom is being challenged, all citizens should be outraged.

      • It works both ways. I know many “people of the gun” who will kick and scream and fight anything that tries to further restrict their right to bear arms but then they will turn around and merrily support the state in suppressing others’ rights to whatever it may be.

        We always miss the forest for the trees, sadly.

  2. The anti’s run off a fearful mental image because they don’t understand the “enemy.” They wont listen or learn the truth about the 2A and law abiding citizens. In effect, they torture themselves with their own fantasy.

  3. That’s freedom for you: it isn’t always a very pretty thing. Look at Westboro, or parents that refuse to vaccinate their children because of junk science from 30 years ago. Some issues really aren’t as clear as we want them to be. We like to think that we know the best way forward on controversial issues, but the other side believes the exact same thing. In situations like this, more freedom is better than less freedom, and by that I mean that less government intervention is better than more government intervention.

    • I understand your point, Jake. However, please don’t cast parents who “refuse” to vaccinate their children in the same light in which the anti-2A cast us. Vaccines are a bit like radiation/chemo for cancer patients. All have their “down side,” and for many, it’s not considered a reasonable gamble. I personally know a woman who had a type of uterine cancer (stage 3b, which includes “spreading,” with stage 4 being full blown metastasis, in which the cancer is in the lymph nodes and many of the major organs), at age 26, that is generally only seen in women over age 50. The doctors told her she would die within two years even IF she had chemo and radiation. She sought “alternative” treatment, and is cancer-free only 18 months after her diagnosis.

      I did research in a pharmaceutical company a few years back, and there is good reason to fear using a lot of what they send to market. There is a huge disconnect between the bench scientists who want to “help people,” and the executive decision-makers who have a legal responsibility to increase profitability.

  4. There are studies to show that people suffering with mental illness across the board are either less likely or no more likely to have violent behavior than people not suffering from mental illness. If you take out the mentally ill people with certain kinds of rare, violence-prone mental illnesses, people who are not following their treatment regimen and people who mix mental illness with substance abuse, the remainder, which is the majority, are almost certainly less likely than the general public to act violently. I think anyone who is being deprived of his gun rights for any reason should have his day in court, and should be presumed to be competent to KABA until proven otherwise.

    Also, the whole privacy issue opens up a can of worms. If you go see a clergyman or a lawyer, you can speak freely, because your conversations are protected. If you go see a mental health professional, any lawyer can subpoena your records and in some states, the mental health professional can decide to release them without a court order. In all but a few states, court orders are easy enough to get anyway. Also, if you are put on the stand and asked about it, you have to respond. This discourages people seeking treatment. So do we want to marginalize people with mental health issues or get them effective treatment?

    NIH estimates about 18% of Americans suffer from some form of mental illness at some point in their lives, and each of us probably has a relative, a neighbor or a local anti-gunner who would want to claim we are mentally ill. I don’t think we want an avenue to potentially take away the gun rights of that many people. And you know the SD gun owners will get the most scrutiny. I think back in the day, a lot of people thought the authors of 2A were mentally ill! A lot people still do.

    • ‘If you go see a mental health professional, any lawyer can subpoena your records and in some states, the mental health professional can decide to release them without a court order. . .”

      Or the mental health professional can, quite on their own and using their own discretion, decide that you fall under some intentionally vague state guidelines and simply turn you in. The tragedy of the intrusion of the state into mental health care, is than many people who could be helped are fearful of seeking help.

  5. No matter how many times this state and others prove themselves to be untrustworthy or actual enemies of the people you will never convince liberals of the facts. It’s their religion.

    • yup, whenever you see a liberals declaring libertarians to be bitter clingers, the pot is calling the kettle black.

  6. People should be allowed to commit suicide. Control over how and when we exit this mortal coil is the most basic right we all have.

    If people think gun control is ineffectual, they should never attempt suicide control.

    • In Belgium, the euthanasia and assisted suicides laws have so degraded that those who are in perfect physical health but ‘clinically depressed’ can get approved for a doctor to murder them. The law’s safe guards are ignored on a regular basis such that doctors kill old, disabled and sick patients without the consent of the patient or the family to save the cost of treatment. Denmark has the same problem. Even Canada has medical staff that actively accelerate death in the elderly and disabled.
      And it all started with legalizing assisted suicide.
      I don’t think we want to go down that road here.

      More than a few writers have stated that a person that is so mentally ill that they cannot be trusted with a firearm is a person that should not be out in public but rather locked up for treatment. After all, how many lives have been lost due to the way in which someone chooses to commit suicide?

      • He said nothing about assisted suicide, simply asserted that the government has no right to prevent ones choice of ending their life. To go from that to “look at how assisted suicide has gone wrong!” Is like answering a statement claiming the government shouldn’t deprive people of their right to bear arms with some thing about how bad it would be if the government was actively arming people. Gun rights do not equal government assistance in obtaining guns, a proposed right to end ones life dose not equal government sanctioned and regulated suicide. Are you really so brainwashed at this point that you can’t concieve of simple liberty without a permission slip from the gov?

    • I was thinking a similar thing, as a natural right, the right to die is plausible. Where is this “right” being violated, in Guantanamo. There are people that are there under conditions of indefinite incarceration, that have been “cleared for release” yet have not been released. And have decided to not eat, seemingly with the intention of dying, being forced fed to keep them alive.

      Indefinite detainment without even the option of dying to get out of it. Now that is Orwellian.

  7. “Nearly always, getting the State involved in providing the solution is much worse than doing nothing at all. The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions.”

    Couldn’t agree more, John. The State isn’t truly *invested* in a positive outcome.

  8. What good will it do to take guns away from the mentally ill and suicidal? If such people truly cannot control themselves, they don’t need to have things taken away from them, they need to be removed from society and placed somewhere that they can receive the help/treatment they need, unless/until they are no longer a potential threat to themselves or to society.

    The very threat of denying the exercise of constitutionally protected rights – especially without due process – is only going to make more people (especially military veterans) avoid seeking the help that they need.

  9. Even “Due Process” is terribly flawed.

    Remember the old saying that a good prosecutor could “indict a ham sandwich”? True. The Grand Jury system only hears one side of the case, and is easily manipulated by an unethical prosecutor.

    Government agents (and prosecutors) are known to lie and misrepresent facts and law so judges will issue a search warrant. Rarely are the agents held accountable.

    Agents and prosecutors know which judges will “rubber stamp” their requests for search warrants.

    What can you do about it? Very little – unless you have deep pockets.

    There is little “justice” in the justice system. Ask any lawyer.

  10. Well, at the end of the day, you DO have the right to commit suicide. Regardless of any law of man. I’m not saying that its cool, or people should, but no one, no law, or no force can actually really “stop” someone who truly wants to die. They will find a way. They even manage to do it in the SuperMax, although rarely. The answer to suicide has nothing to do with trying to stop the method in which they are trying to do it. The answer is to try and change their reason why they want to do it.

  11. Another thing to keep in mind is that the CT court system is currently under DOJ investigation for massive and widespread corruption. And that’s not even considering our probate courts, which are nationally recognized as the prime example of how NOT to run a probate system. And that’s not considering that we have a former governor going back to jail again for corruption (you think he’s the only one?). And while we had a long line of Republican governors prior to Malloy, the entire rest of the government (the legislature, all the city governments, all our national representatives) is controlled by Democrats, and it has been this way for a long time. Has there ever been a case of an entrenched party NOT succumbing to corruption? So if you think that the corruption is isolated to a small section of the government considering all of the above, I’ve got a bridge I want to sell you.

  12. What often is lumped together is the “danger to themselves or others”. Herein I have an issue. I don’t believe it is society’s or government’s job to protect us from us. Such as helmet laws or seatbelt laws. I don’t want to debate the pros and cons, but to me it is a very slippery slope for the government to be involved with making decisions for us which affect no one but ourselves. Sure there seems some anecdotal connection between suicidal depression and danger to others, but in my opinion, the time and terms of our own demise should rest solely upon ourselves.

    • I agree with you. However, if we recognize that a local jurisdiction has a vested interest in you, based on their financial interest in your well-being (i.e. the city will pick up the cost of treating you, e.g. in the case of a car accident), then they will naturally begin to dictate what you have to do, in order to lower risk and the costs associated with it.

      Expand this to the state and national levels, and all of a sudden, the federal government is making seat belt laws and speed limit laws.

      Of course, this doesn’t take into account the pandering for votes, political grandstanding, etc.

      • Wait! The government will pick up the tab? Since when?? You do know that when you have a massive heart attack or an accident and get rushed to the hospital in an ambulance they send YOU the bill for that ambulance right? Or perhaps I’m wrong, I should tell my friend who is drownding in a couple hundred thousand worth of debt after his bike accident. If what you said were tuue what do we have insurance for? Or civil suits?

  13. I would like Mark N (the law whiz) to describe in detail the process for the GVRO in regards to limitations for the applicant of the GVRO. Mark advises it passes due process and I think this merits a discussion. Maybe we should look through the pros and cons in detail?

  14. So the original poster specified “without due process”, which nobody would argue against. Then TTAG truncated that to just confiscating guns from the crazies……period, which nobody would argue for?

    Where oh where have I seen that prestidigitation performed before? Who oh who has called others out for that same thing before? Hey, TTAG, Shannon called. She wants to discuss stovetop cookware designations with you.

  15. I know I wouldn’t argue for it!

    I don’t think the government should be in the business of confiscating anything from anybody, crazy or sane, without due process.

    The government will get it wrong too many times. Will there be times when it really is the best course of action to confiscate guns? Probably. Should the Government be trusted to make the decision well and execute the confiscation smoothly and safely. Absolutely not!

    If you trust your government, your trust is often misplaced.

  16. You want the real kicker, they are debating physician assisted suicide laws in the CT legislature right now. So its not ok to kill yourself wiht your gun but in certain circumstances its ok for the state to give permission to a physician to help you kill yourself. Well dont that beat all…

    • In the great state anything will be possible, with the proper permit. They don’t want to stop anything, they just want to be the ones to grant permission.

  17. If someone is a danger to themselves, the answer is a 5150-type civil commitment or close supervision that covers ALL potentially dangerous objects- knives, mirrors, glass of any kind, pills, rope, string, etc.

    Just taking away guns and calling it good is, well, not good enough.

  18. The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions.

    Actually, the road to hell is paved with tax dollars.

  19. Excellent comment! I agree and have written/spoken similar elsewhere. It boggles my mind that this isn’t common sense for most who claim to support individual Liberty.

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