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There have been some recent posts on your site about mental health, including yesterday’s Quote of the Day (Certain Kinds of People Edition) that finally inspired me to write to you and tell you my story. There has to be some attention brought to this subject. It seems that many “pro gunners” are willing to compromise our 2nd amendment rights away in regard to mental health laws. Its an attitude of we’ll let you do this if only you don’t pass more gun laws. I’m extremely disappointed that even the NRA are among those pursuing this . . .

I live in Pennsylvania and 12 years ago my 2nd amendment rights were stripped from me. I was going through a break up with a woman I’d been seeing for about 2 years. To get the last shot on her way out, my ex called the cops and falsely claimed that I threatened to kill her and myself. I was taken to the hospital and did a 72 hour observation and was released without incident.

But under PA’s section 302 I was stripped of my 2nd amendment rights without due process and all it took was a doctor’s signature. I was afforded no recourse. My civil rights were just gone. I was given no access to an attorney and I was never brought before a judge.

Now I have this stigma attached to me that I’m some dangerous mentally ill person who can’t be trusted with a gun. I have never been in a physical altercation in my entire life. I’ve never laid my hands on anyone in anger nor threatened anyone. I have no history of mental issues and no criminal record. The state in all its mercy provides a vehicle to get my rights back. You have to petition the court.

I have a petition before the court now and my hearing is in early December. Even though there is no evidence to deny me my rights, I’m scared shitless of losing. You know that once the gov’t takes something from you, it is very hard to get it back. I really can’t afford a lawyer, but I knew I had to try it now before some new law was passed that would make it impossible to ever get my rights restored.

I’m a disabled veteran and have a severe physical handicap. There are so many random acts of violence today and they can happen anywhere not just big cities. If I were to be attacked, I stand a very good chance of being completely crippled or even paralyzed and I am being denied the right to protect myself.

I recently read that close to 500,000 people in this state have had their 2nd amendment rights taken away in this manner. Then to make matters even worse, the state police sent my private medical records to the FBI. Attention must be brought to these unconstitutional laws like PA’s section 302 that are being massively abused by doctors and stripping decent, otherwise law abiding people of their 2nd amendment rights.

All these people pushing for more mental health laws better be careful what they wish for. It could end up being them losing their 2nd amendment rights next. It can happen to anyone. It doesn’t take any evidence, only the accusation. If you would like to use my story, you can but please just keep my name private.

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  1. As much as I empathize with this reader, I’m torn on this issue. I think the ongoing Zimmerman saga illustrates that we gun owners are subject to much greater, unfair and much unwarranted scrutiny.
    At the same time, It’s hard to answer the question of who will be the sacrificial lambs of “unregulated” gun rights. In a marketplace of ideas where moral superiority is a major selling point, how do you sell the absolutist point of view?

      • As much as I want to agree, the fact is that no right is 100% absolute. The limitations of those rights are built on the negative consequences the exercise of those rights have on others.

        • NO. Either a right applies to every adult citizen, or there are no true rights, but a sham instead.

        • Then get used to the idea that you have no rights. Nothing is absolute in the compromise of a society.

        • The limitation lies precisely in the fact that the right is 100% absolute, and it is 100% absolute for 100% of everyone. There is no right to infringe upon another person’s rights. Therein lies the only necessary boundary.

      • If gun rights were absolute, prisoners in any Supermax could have Glocks.

        I don’t think so. I don’t think that you think so either.

        • I don’t have any such right. We were discussing RIGHTS, and here you come, pretending we were talking about something utterly different. That’s employing a false argument.

        • The right to OWN doesn’t imply an unfettered right to USE. You presumably have a right to own a car (that’s one of the ones that doesn’t need to be secured), but you DON’T have a “right” to plow into a crowd of pedestrians.

          And yes, William, I’m afraid you’re wrong. You most certainly do have a right to swing your arms around to your heart’s content, but that right simply doesn’t include permission to impact another. It’s another example of an “alienable” right that doesn’t need to be secured.

        • And yet it would be ludicrous to suggest that his right to keep and bear hands should be infringed based upon what he or others might or might not do!

    • IMO, the reason so many new gun laws have succeeded in my lifetime is that we are afraid to be absolutionists. I am an absolutionist and I don’t try to sell it to anyone. We don’t live in the world of Minority Report, no one should be refused a right because of the chance that they might commit a crime. The ONLY time a right should be revoked is AFTER committing a crime. Sentences for crimes need to reflect the idea that once you are released, your rights are restored. If you’re not safe to own a firearm or vote, then you are not safe to be on the street at all.

      • “Absolutionist” is not a word, as it can’t be found in a dictionary. It the word existed, it would deal with ABSOLUTION, which is the forgiving of sins, Padre. 😉

        I think the word you wanted is ABSOLUTIST.

        • To ease the sting, Hobbez, remember what Mark Twain said about the right word… The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. And Mr. Burke often has exactly the right word.

        • Hobbez says:
          “My apologies, I foget that opinions have no validity on the internet unless you have perfect spelling and grammer.”


          And even you have to admit, being too lazy to look up words that you’re not sure of, and presenting yourself as an ignoramus (and a snooty one at that), don’t go a long way toward bolstering your credibility. Or did you simply forget your /sarc tag?

          BTW, just FYI: If you hadn’t been so snarky, I’d have been fine with your apology and wouldn’t have snarked back.

        • So I’m the only person who found it funny that he was ranting about being an absolutist, but wanted us to overlook his fast-and-loose, not-absolute version of the language?

        • Okay, you can get up from the dogpile now. People don’t have perfect spelling and grammar on the internet or anywhere else.

          Internet dickhead technique #4: when you want to feel superior, pick on someone else’s grammar. It’s safe because no one really understands grammar (except you, of course).

        • Grammar had nothing to do with it. IT WAS THE WRONG WORD. If it made you sore, PUT SOME VASELINE ON IT.

        • Grammar…spelling…vocabulary… Doesn’t matter which one you’re harping on. If you’re doing it to a fellow reader, especially one WHO IS ACTUALLY ON YOUR SIDE, you’re being a dickhead.

        • That one was none of the above. It was a non-word. If you’re gonna just make words up, you SHOULD get called on it. If you can’t take the heat, get the hell out of the kitchen, boy.

        • Actually, it’s the ones who get all huffy about having their negligent spelling and grammar blunders corrected who give us a bad name; it makes you (and us by association) appear an incorrigible ignoramus.

        • Not to mention that I took some pains to not be hurtful about it. Not that that makes any difference.

        • I just realized I’ve been uncharistically bitchy and snarky and snappy this morning; I haven’t had any alcohol in over a year, I think I’ve had my first drydrunk!

        • If you had merely misspelt absolutist, probably no one would care. But what you did was to correctly spell a word root (absolution) that completely changed/obfuscated your point. You should be grateful for the correction and clarification offered.

          It is perfectly valid to make up new words to fill a gap in the expression of concepts – authors do it all the time. But, substituting the wrong word, spelled correctly, and then getting defensive about it is a sheety 😉 way to go about participating in public discourse.

      • The only time a right should be revoked is never. Even if you’re a violent felon or a blathering lunatic, you still have the right to keep and bear (carry) arms.

        But nobody has ever had a “right” to use their Constitutionally-protected gun to do any harm. If a convicted felon uses his gun in the commission of a crime, the would-be victims have a right to blow his worthless ass to Kingdom Come.

        • Even if you’re a violent felon or a blathering lunatic, you still have the right to keep and bear (carry) arms.

          Glocks for lifers while in prison — a novel and completely insane idea.

        • Ralph, it’s well-established as fact that people surrender their RKBA when entering prison or jail; the actual argument is whether they regain their right when released. Unless you meant to be cute, in which case, I have to admit: you’re as cute a a little button, you are!

        • Well, if prisoners retain their rights to Glocks while in prison, then they also retain their (unenumerated) right to travel, so we can just get rid of prisons. Or there is something some people are missing here. They are convicts, and have forfeited their rights by the act of committing the crime (which hopefully is a crime that involved violating someone else’s rights but of course with all the bogus laws on the books, is actually *unlikely* to be the case).

        • What you say does not follow at all; do try and keep up with the grownups.

          And just to show how wrong-headed your post actually is, convicts DO commit crimes while in prison. Your post is like a pair of Pampers.

        • There is no such thing as an “enumerated right.” The government was delegated certain enumerated powers, some say as many as 30 of them. People have certain unalienable rights with which they were endowed by their Creator. Ten categories of these unalienable rights were deemed by our Founding Fathers to be worthy of explicit protection from infringement.

          Hope This Helps!

        • I agree, Rich, though I wouldn’t enumerate them at 30, or any number, except to recognize that a few do exist. Otherwise, right on the money.

        • Ralph says:
          “Even if you’re a violent felon or a blathering lunatic, you still have the right to keep and bear (carry) arms.
          Glocks for lifers while in prison — a novel and completely insane idea.”

          What inmate is going to start any trouble when everybody in the place has a Glock, and they know it? Would you pick a fight with someone who’s open-carrying a Glock?

        • To my way of thinking, Rich, this is the TTAG Question of the Week. I trust you will have one next week, as well.. or at least one that’s in the running.

    • Think of all the sacrificial lambs of “common sense” regulation though. It’s not an issue of safety vs freedom. It’s an issue of tyranny vs freedom.

        • My point is that a tyranny aka limiting the rights of the individual is NOT safer. There is no positive attribute. More innocent people died in the 20th century because of lack of rights than because of the presense of rights. It may not be the PC thing to say, but any society that thinks that a lack of rights is morally superior is just plain wrong.

    • What are you, the High Muckety-muck of the Department of Pre-crime?

      What part of “shall not be infringed” do you not understand?”

  2. Wow, I never really gave this issue a thought. But damn, it’s scary as hell, I’m terribly sorry your currently in such a position. I can see how easily this could be used against others. When I was in nursing school my classmates and I used to joke about how easy it was to meet requirements for any number of mental disorders using the DSM-IV guidelines, shoot we all could have been institutionalized on any given day according to it. Scary, very scary. However, I also think that any rationally thinking judge or jury would have no problem understanding how crazy a pissed off woman can be. So fight it. I doubt they will be able to find any solid reason to hold this on you if you do.

      • It is. For years, I’ve been trying to spread the word about the various editions of the DSM and how its content is generated. I’ve shown gun owners examples from various editions pulled from my personal library. If your gun rights are going to be infringed under the guise of mental health concerns, it will be exclusively through criterion outlined in the current DSM edition of the time.

        I’m not here to bash the NRA or any other organization that even remotely works in positive directions for the RKBA. However, I often cringe when I read or hear of the NRA calling for better prosecution of current gun laws and closer examination of individual gun rights under the microscope of “mental health.” I posted on forums about my concerns with thirteen sentences in the statement put out by the NRA after Sandy Hook. Even though well meaning, they were shooting the RKBA, and rights in general, in the foot. They even prepared a task force headed up by a former DHS undersecretary. He insisted on complete say and they stated that he would have it. Foolishness abounds when it comes to compromises that these organizations are willing to make on ‘our’ behalf.

        • I could not possibly agree with you more. If the anti-gunners were to invent their own “pro-gun” organization, it could not possibly look more like one than the NRA.

  3. I’ll have to look at previous ttag blog posts, but haven’t writers here suggested that some people be subjected to mental health “evaluations” before being allowed to carry a firearm?

  4. I’m saddened and ashamed you had to go through this, deeply saddened. AND ANGRY. But not angry enough to be disarmed! 😉

    TTAG’ers need to confront this issue. Which side are you on? To me, it comes down to Liberty, capital, and oppression. I stand with this veteran all the way. His rights must be restored, or none of ours are secure.

    They’re not secure anyway.

  5. That sounds pretty bad. There is in WA another step, where the patient is evaluated by a ‘mental health professional,’ and only rarely are they actually committed to an institution for treatment.

    Patients can also challenge the doctor’s decision if they are committed, and have the right to a court hearing.

    • The PA statute (cited in a post below) offers many levels of appeal. It is important that a person calmly object to the commitment. Once discharged, they should immediately file an appeal with the relevant Orphan’s Division, Court of Common Pleas, challenging the petitioners/LEO’s grounds for requesting the 302 order. If the appeal is filed in a timely manner (immediately) and is successful, PA will not file a record of the IC with the feds.

  6. It’s like 1984, if you do not support the party or big brother you’re obviously mentally ill and in need of “treatment”.

    Or like the Salem Witch Trials, she’s a witch kill her, they’re all witches, kill them, so is she, kill her too.

    • Accused witches were tossed into a pond or lake. If they swam to safety, they were a witch; if they sank, they were innocent, but dead!

      Only witches, therefore, could swim. NOT a good design for survival of the fittest! 😉

      • Have you ever even met a real witch? Have you studied Wicca at all? Personally, I think Wicca is eminently harmonious not only with survival of the fittest, but with protection of the weak! I guess it depends on your definition of “fit.” I think it’s more like survival of the most loving. Of course the apostles of the God of Power hate the embodiments of the Divine Will.

        Since you ask, I’m a Neodruid,

        • I don’t know at all what a “real witch” might be, so I’ll leave that one alone. I know the concept is prone to being twisted, and I’ve met some self-proclaimed “witches” of either sex, and they didn’t seem so “balanced” to me.

          So, no. I have not. They may exist. They may even probably exist, but the entire thing seems suspect to me. I could be wrong. But I believe the concept attracts the wrong sort of people, who are seeking powers beyond their ken.

        • OK, fair enough. At least you’re not advocating burning people at the stake in the name of saving their soul.

        • Peoples’ souls, to me, are entirely their own business, Rich. I have a hard enough time with my own.

        • Once, when I was broke and living in my car, I tried to sell my soul to Satan for a thousand bucks. He turned me down.

        • Well, Rich, I think I’ve learned Ole Scratch does have his standards. He has a ton of experience. Did you try it at the Crossroads? I hear he might do better deals there…

        • Every, and I mean EVERY, woman I’ve ever met who claimed to be a Wiccan was a dancer in a strip club.

        • Yeah, so? Everybody’s got to make a buck somehow. If I could get paid to gyrate and look pretty, wouldn’t I be a fool to pass up the chance? Are you sure you’re not just jealous ’cause you can’t? 😉

      • I once had a girl friend who claimed she had been a witch in a past life, and she said she could remember having been put in a cage and thrown in the water and drowning.

        But what horn dog is going to turn down some good nookie just because a gal who’s otherwise harmless (and as horny as me) is a little bit loony?

        • Anything you can tolerate, you should be able to enjoy. On a similar note, I feel as if I were hanged in a previous life; I can’t tolerate anything around my throat. Neckties positively give me the horrors; I cannot abide one for even a minute. If I have to wear one, I have to unbutton the top button and loosen the tie.
          It’s a good thing turtlenecks are stupid; I’d never be able to wear one under any circumstances.

        • @William Burke: It’s a good thing turtlenecks are stupid

          Hey now! :p

          Seriously though, you might favor the OCD spectrum based upon this revelation and other hints in your writings.

        • Nah. I’ve checked, and that’s the only indicator. I think I really may have been a hanged man in a previous life. One friend even did a Photoshop job, putting my head on the body of a guy in the Old West about to be hanged. And I never discussed my theory with him!

    • The Soviets used mental health as a reason to imprison some political dissidents. There’s a good book by the brother of one such victim of tyranny but I can’t recall the title right now. There’s nothing new under the Sun. We will see it happen here if we aren’t ever vigilant in defense of individual rights.

        • Not speaking for John, but I believe that may have been the reference. I don’t know, Solzhenitsyn, to me, always seemed like a closet monarchist. I could be wrong about him, but he seemed so to me; but what he wrote was powerful, so not to take that away from him.

  7. Dear DrVino and Mr. Duran.

    Your comments and ambivalence make me shudder. What in heaven’s name suggests that government should be able to abrogate your rights with no due process? And how in heaven’s name do you think Mr. Duran, that “it will be resolved on a national basis, in a couple of years” . . .

    Sheesh. Don’t you people get it? Every day there are police officers who will ruin your life, take your property, affect your future all on the specious evidence of “something has to be done”. The Department of Homeland Security’s “If you see something, say something” is a perfect example. If you see something, how do you know what it may lead to? Police routinely overreach and that overreaction can have devastating consequences.

    I hope that the OP prevails in court, but won’t be holding my breath, that is for sure.

    Stand our ground, stand our ground, stand our ground!!!

    • You know, Shannon Watts could be reported to DHS for any number of bogus “threats”. But, to quote Richard Milhous Nixon, “…it would be wrong.” 😉

      • The Pennsylvania statute provides for an examination of the basis for the commitment before the 302 order is approved. While this is not full due-process, an appeal of-right is provided for immediately upon release. If commitment is extended under a 303, 304b, or 305 order request, the person for whom extended commitment is requested is entitled to a hearing, and counsel, before the extension is approved.

        What is rightfully decried is the failure in practice to demand that the petitioner (think of this as the accusing spouse or girlfriend) attend the review of the 302 order prior to commitment. Instead it is often the hearsay statements of LEOs that are the sole basis of the initial 72 hour commitment. In other words, the process is made much too easy and perjury-risk-free for the complaining spouse or girlfriend. The statute was not intended to function in this manner.

        The question, the problem facing society and its households, is not an easy one.

        I can give some advice for gun-owners: Never ever use statements of suicidal feeling as a means to emotionally coerce a partner. Indeed, abandon any sloppy self-indulgent thoughts of suicide, and instead face the problems that get you down. Yes, a non-gun person can “play with suicide” to garner sympathy or attention. You do not have that option. Get over it.

    • This is the leverage point – “…with no due process?”

      The administrative procedure that acts on an uncontested claim by a party with an interest is not due process. Because the 2A identifies an enumerated right, it’s a civil rights issue. (And in conversation should always, always, always be framed as such: “Taking away from people without access to the political process their inherent right defend themselves from violence, just as was done by forbidding blacks – then called “negroes” – access to firearms in the South, post the civil war.” and “And it is an invitation to selective enforcement.” It’s also an equal protection issue, or at least a claim could be made.)

      The US Federal Dept of Justice has repeatedly taken the position that policies statistically demonstrated to disproportionately impact a given race or other protected class are by that evidence demonstrated to be discriminatory. Hey, if restrictions on gun ownership disproportionately impact OFWGs, that’s cause for a civil rights lawsuit under that standard. There’s a similar argument to be made from “equal protection” every time a domestic violence or similar statute gives different weight to charges and claims based on gender.

      I do believe that in general the pro-gun folks should sometimes channel the yippies, and gleefully conduct their actions as political theater. Y’all (OK, me too.) are way too serious all the time. Make the equal protection claim & show up in Stone & Parker-style(*) drag.

      (Matt Stone & Trey Parker, creators and producers of South Park who, among their many infamies, showed up to one of the televised awards shows in drag. One of them wore the infamous J-Lo dress, plunging down to *there*.)

      You’re *also* playing to the audience. So doing this you can only hope you get thrown in jail for contempt. Imagine the interview. “Oh my, yes, reporter-person I’m surprised. I dressed up like a woman because they seem *more* appreciated. Just look at the law. I can only hope to be treated so well, but meanwhile, I wanted to respect the judge by dressing like what he seems to value, I mean more than a man, which I am.”

  8. Nearby we have an FFL, ex military armorer, who can’t get his pistol permit because of a PTSD diagnosis. Surrounded by guns but no pistol for you!!!

  9. The soviets used psychiatric treatment to control the population. Obamacare and HIPPA gives the government access to more and more health records. Privacy is dead.

      • WB, that’s a tough grammatical call. The Soviets were technically government legislative bodies. Mere soviets may refer to people who followed the party line of the Soviets and Politburo. Fun.

        • Okay, I cave. Generally, the Politburo and the government was the “Soviet Union”, while most ordinary subjects, er, people, thought of themselves as “Russians”. I LIKE Russians; the same is not true for the Soviets.

  10. This is only one aspect as to why I oppose and any and all mental health checks for exercising a right.

    Here, and in many other cases, we have a person who has had rights taken away because of pure vindictiveness, but even people with actual mental health issues should not be denied their rights.

    If mental health treatment is tied to rights, then people who need help will not seek mental health help, thus increasing the danger to society.

    The vast majority of even serious mentally ill people don’t pose a danger to others. We sometimes think they do because we only see those who commit a crime, not the millions of others who are as peaceful and law abiding as any person with a physical disorder.

    To those who fully believe in rights, they cannot be sold away for some fake perceived safety.

  11. So why is it not as simple as citing the 5th Amendment:

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    “nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” that means to me, that you get a jury of your peers to determine your guilt…if you have been charged with no crime…then they can’t take your property(guns) or your rights.

    The 2nd amendment doesn’t afford exceptions. “Shall not be infringed” seems clear… It doesn’t say “unless you’re mentally ill”….

    A felon that is still a danger to people shouldn’t be let out of jail.

    A mentally ill person that is a danger to people should be in an asylum.

    If they are not a danger to people, let them have what they want…

    I hope you are successful in securing your GOD GIVEN RIGHTS.

  12. This is one of many reasons so many of my friends pretended to be just fine when they got out. Good men and women don’t want to be stigmatised, and preemptive enforcement is horses**t. We are all messed up in one way or another. I appreciate the desire and need to prevent the various terrible incidents that have occurred, but current methods encourage the broken to keep quiet. Until mental health becomes a far more exact science, denying people of their rights based upon supposition is wrong. Anyway, as someone who regularly works with legitimately insane people – the distinction is obvious to anyone who isn’t an idiot. If someone is trying to bite people’s faces off, that’s one thing. Anything else is much more difficult to figure out.

  13. Perhaps I have no respect for the law, but if the law arbitrarily decided that I was unfit to own the means of self defense, they would have to find the undocumented means of self defense that I had hidden. Just speaking for myself, of course.

  14. I am so sorry to hear of your predicament. I share a somewhat similar set of circumstances. I’ve been disarmed for almost 6 years. I’ve tried to patiently work within the system to regain my rights just like you are. I’m hopeful that your petition is granted. Thank you for bringing your situation to our attention. Knowing that you’re fighting hard makes it easier for me to keep doing the same.

    • Unfortunately, outside of a class action lawsuit, no one is going to able to stop a city from acting in violation of their own laws. Color of Law rules the present reality.

  15. Laws must be passed to punish people who make these false allegations like his ex girlfriend did. She should spend serious jail time for this. I get so tired of hearing things like “why would a woman lie about such things and women are emotional”. Women have to be held accountable for everything they do and say just as a man would be.

    • In fact, I am AMAZED that there is no penalty for making false accusations. Remember Tawanna Brawley, who scratched a swastika on her forehead, and proclaimed it was done by “neo-nazis” – to the absolute delight of Fat Al Sharpton and Jesse “The Lie” Jackson?

      Just this past week, the woman who made the false rape accusations against the Duke lacrosse team was convicted of Second Degree Murder (stabbing) or her boyfriend…

    • It is a crime in PA to provide false information, whether to an LEO or to the Office of Behavioral Health hearing officer that issues the 302 commitment order. Additionally, civil remedies are are available.

  16. Don’t forget Clinton ordered the VA to release all of its files on vets that had seen a psychiatrist. Liberal interpretation of the laws could mean even a psyc eval for a security clearance could mean a suspension of your rights.

  17. For those of you saying, “hey, NO rights are absolute!” I just want to point out a fact.

    The First Amendment guarantees “Freedom of the Press” to the point that EVERYTHING printed or in video form is legal in this country, up to and including virtual kiddie porn. There was a Supreme Court case in which virtual kiddie porn was declared protected speech.

    I am NOT interested in kiddie porn, just to be clear.

    The reason real kiddie porn is not protected is because of the horrific damage real kiddie porn does to real children.

    You can make a movie about assassinating a real president and it will be legal in this country. Anyone recall this bit of leftist agitprop?

    If you look at the far, wide-ranging latitude that all the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment enjoy, and then look at the restrictions, limitations and regulations heaped upon the Second Amendment, you’ll see there is a whole lot of disparity.

    The Second Amendment is one of the most abridged, restricted, limited, regulated and infringed right out there.

    For example, you do NOT have to submit to an FBI background check to start a church, buy a book, write a book or make a film, gather in public or petition the government.

    My point is, be very, very careful when you throw around the statement, “No Right is Absolute.”

    Technically, correct. But the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment are damn near absolute when even virtual kiddie porn is “protected speech.” The canard of “no right is absolute” is generally double-speak used by anti-gunners to restrict our rights ever more tightly.

  18. Pennsylvania Act 77 (Mental Health Procedures Act-Omnibus Amendments Act of Jul. 2, 1996, P.L. 481) is indeed onerous. If you are taken involuntarily for a 302 (involuntary short-term 72 hour commitment) the person subjected to that 302 order should calmly express the untruthfulness of the petitioner’s testimony. If committed notwithstanding their objection, they should immediately upon discharge file an appeal in their local Orphan’s Division, Court of Common Pleas. If successful in this appeal, their gun rights are not withdrawn. False testimony by the petitioner who sought commitment (whether direct or through a responding LEO) is both a crime and subject to recovery of damages via a civil suit. Under no circumstances should a 302 (or 303, 304b, 305) involuntary commitment be taken lightly. Appeals should be calmly requested at every stage, and an appeal should be filed upon discharge, if the commitment was unjustified or malicious.

    I wish you well in your Petition for Restoration of Gun Rights.

  19. This may affect some people’s decision on what to support. The APA (American Psychological Association) estimates that 46% of Americans will suffer from a DSM-V diagnosable mental illness at some point in their lives. The “mental health” dodge is a dangerous one, my friends, think long and hard before you try to shift the responsibility that way. Or at video games, or anything else. Fight the good fight, we are winning already.

    • DAMN that dodge; no one will ever convince me that “mental illness” could ever be a real thing.

      [EXPLANATION]: A “disease” is something that negatively affects the function of a physical organ or body part. The brain is an organ; the mind is not. The mind is not a physical body, since it cannot be said to physically exist. No physical existence, no illness. We need a different word, because this one is, at best, a terrible metaphor. At worst, it’s an awful lie.

      By the way, there are also a number of psychiatrists that feel exactly this way. We need a different term. Like, I don’t know; “crazy” makes far more sense than “mentally ill”. “Mind” may in fact exist everywhere in the Cosmos.

    • The criteria for a PA 302 commitment is not “mental illness” alone, but rather dangerousness to self or others. DSM IV/V does not in any way settle the issue. There must be credible witness to indicia of dangerousness.

      • The OP stated that he was released with a clean bill of health. That, in and of itself, should make for a formidable defense.

  20. The law is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Are there crap laws on the books like the one the OP states, yes, and gun rights groups should fight those laws to have them changed, not abolished.

    Even in the shit hole of the state of CT, those rights cannot be taken away without due process. You can be forcibly committed for up to 15 days depending on the doctor. After that, you get a lawyer and you get a date in front of a judge. Nothing can be done unless you have that hearing. They system is often abused by vindictive GF, wives, neighbors, co-workers and family members. Even the lawyers in the probate are no saints and I have plenty of examples of them too.

    What the OP is talking about is an unfair law. That law needs to be changed and gun owners and other should fight for fairness. As someone points out above in the comments, why is this law not challenged?

    The fact is, many people are falsely accused. The courts favor women in just about all states and just about all manners of the law. Girl friends and ex-wives can simple go BS in the court systems and there is little that you can say. Friends, neighbors or whomever can falsely say you pointed a gun at them, and your guns are gone often without evidence but just on the word of someone else. These are the things that need to be changed. Far too many people want to be equal except when it pertains to them.

    As far as mental health is concerned, the mentally ill are more abused by the system than anyone else because they are a niche group who has no voice and few advocates. I will even go so far as to say that the ACLU is no friend of the mentally ill and hurt more than help and they have a big voice. The website talks about the abuses and dumb laws in every state including the ACLU making it worse in many cases.

    Regarding gun rights and the mentally ill, most mentally ill do not commit any crimes but many crimes are committed on them. If a person is found to have a violent past or is known to abuse drugs or alcohol, then yes I am for their 2nd amendment rights being curtailed. However, this does not preclude first and foremost having better mental health programs in every state allowing people to have access to the mental health programs and in many cases drugs that they need. The system was abused many times over in the past, what is needed is a better mental health system that does not have the abuses of the past. Mental health cannot have a stigma that it now has. There are many with drug and alcohol problems that are allowed to work. The mentally ill need the same support so that they stay on their meds. Oh, BTW, Obamacare does not fix mental health issues, it just forces insurance companies to pay into a broken system.

    Yes, the 2nd amendment is an absolute right, but there is no way someone who is constantly off their meds and tells you they see people who are not there, are violent towards themselves or others and also in combination are long time abusers of drugs and alcohol should be allowed to carry a firearm.

    Finally, if you are of the belief that you should completely aware of yourself and your situation at all times when you are carrying, then why do you believe someone who is not aware of themselves and can see people who are not there should be allowed to carry.

    • I’d like to see you clearly define “abuse of drugs or alcohol.” Is a whiskey or two in the evening an abuse? Is a dubie on Friday night ‘abuse.’ Does evidence that a client smoked a dubie within the last month (a ‘metabolic product’ finding) indicate dangerousness? Does a dubie and a whiskey ten years ago (for example in a .08 DUI) constitute dangerousness?

      Certainly any statute that curtails gun rights due to substance-abuse finding should have a brief term of years attached to it. Many states to impose such a time limited denial.

    • Sometimes the ‘meds’ create more problems than they allegedly fix. 😉

      Have an incompetent physician improperly dope someone up with Serequel or Paxil and you’ll really see a patient go off the rails who wouldn’t otherwise have done so. Please be careful with that whole ‘stay on their meds’ requirement for the exercise of a right. You’re making an assumption that the Dx , Tx, and Rx were correct in the first place.

      • This happened with my daughter, simply when she went to a doctor for HEADACHES, for cryin’ out loud! He prescribed SSRIs, FOR HEADACHES. I think “doctors” like this would have been STRUNG UP in prior centuries, as WITCH DOCTORS.

        She crawled out a window, and wandered around town, unaware of where she was; she was FIFTEEN. She stopped taking them right away. Or almost right away; she first caught a ride from Virginia to Florida; neither parent knew where she was for almost a week! Most stressful time of my entire life!

  21. Anti-gun liberals don’t want to live in a society where other individuals are armed except agents of government and their own security guards. Fudds don’t want to live in a society where people they deem unworthy are armed with equipment that they deem unnecessary for hunting. Foolish but well meaning RKBA supporters believe that certain people shouldn’t be allowed their rights and that certain rights are only appropriately exercised when and how they deem it so. Fools! All of these groups are fools. These are merely shades of the same damned argument and they refuse to recognize their own myopia and hypocrisy.

    Re-framing the gun control argument by using crime statistics and arguing for individual safety is all well and good when those doing the re-framing, deep down, know that they are doing so to preserve the exercise of a fundamental right. But it doesn’t stop there… they drink their own Kool Aide. Masses of gun owners come to believe that it’s all about prevention of crime and bristle at the thought of individuals exercising their RKBA in ways that are true to the 2A. Although there exists a natural right to defend oneself, the Second Amendment is about defense against tyranny and occupation. When we sharpen the argument to a fine point of crime prevention to the exclusion of the real intent of the 2A then we blur the meaning of shall not be infringed and why it was so important in the first place!

    For those who really understand individual rights and the necessity of accepting that others ALSO posses the same rights; if you claim your own individual freedom then learn to accept the risks! There will be people who are mentally unstable using a firearm at some point or another. There will be people falsely yelling ‘fire!’ in a crowded theater and causing a panic.There will be law abiding gun owners who one day, for whatever reason, commit a crime. When an individual commits a crime, then society ought to punish them… not before, not because they might. For all of those who say ‘I believe in rights but let’s be reasonable that such and such shouldn’t…‘; understand that YOU are making the same argument as the antis. The parties only differ by degree!

    I don’t prefer that a mentally deranged individual be armed but I have to accept the risk that someone, somewhere WILL, at some time be mentally unbalanced and armed. I can’t stop that without drastic infringement upon the individual right to keep and bear arms for many people besides that one individual. It’s collateral damage if I want to mitigate that risk. I wish to be free so I accept that risk and forego such misguided attempts at risk management. I may be the poor SOB who ends up the object of that mentally unstable person’s attention one day. Then again, I might not. Either way, it is my sincere intention to be armed at all times and wish that my brothers and sisters across these United States can likewise exercise their natural and constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. I accept the risks and invite all freedom loving Americans to do the same.

  22. How long until HHS declares the mere act of wanting to own a gun is a sign of mental illness so those people are banned from owning guns? This is where that slope leads.

  23. Lenin used to say that the capitalists would sell the communists the rope to hang them with. I get the feeling that giving in on mental health legislation will be handing our enemies the rope to hang our rights with. If the other side was populated with rational people it would make a lot of sense, but the other side is populated with people chomping at the bit to strip all of us of our rights. Devil’s bargain IMO.

    • Giving in on mental health legislation limiting gun rights? It exists in every state. The question, really, is how are the restrictions to be enforced? The current state of the law is a mess. In Texas, for example, having ever been prescribed an anti-depressant will disqualify you from a carry license. Yet, if you come home and drink away your blues ever evening, there is no consequence.

      I have no qualm with restrictions placed on those with a serious present or recent illness. I find it absurd that the restrictions have no time limit and/or no effective means of removing the impediment. The class-based bias is remarkable, as well. I am certain that if a person has sufficient funds or status, they can either prevent the loss of rights or recover their rights. For a person with no savings/wealth, the process is impracticable. The gun rights issue often reminds me of the medieval “outlawry” portrayed so graphically in the Robin Hood legend.

      • Can you cite that? They told me that wasn’t hte case when I applied, and I’ve got several friends that had Rxs during their childhood that have CHLs.

        FWIW, once we found out what my physical health issues were and treated them I no longer needed antidepressants. It’s almost like waking up every morning and puking your guts out makes you feel sad and shitty and like life might not be good.

      • Due process would be a start. There’s no consequence to the state if they choose to strip an individual of his rights. Having to provide a court appointed attorney and commit a significant amount of the court’s time would weed out some of the most egregious abuses at least.

  24. PA Veteran,

    My sincerest thanks for your service, and sacrifice. My advice is get a lawyer, and if you can’t afford one, borrow from family or friends, and petition NRA, SAF, GOA, or your local and state gun rights orgs for help. Calguns has a referral program, for example, and you might find someone willing to take your case for free (pro bono).

    As ropingdown said, theres a process, and its very important to handle it calmly and professionally- hence the lawyer, as I would be as outraged as you were. Don’t take this personally either- there are thousands of men who have been falsely accused in divorce court by those seeking to damage them by false claims.

    You will win out- it just will take time to do it properly, and as much as it sucks, if you think of it as a duty of honor, and service to what is right- then you have already got a record of that.

    Hang in there and keep your chin up!

  25. The problem is compounded when commitment hearings are made confidential. Judges can do anything they want at these commitment heArings which are for intents and purposes “secret.”
    People committed are not provided proper time to speak with their state appointed attorney. I had one lawyer brag to me that he had never lost a case in 7 years representing the state against “crazy” people.
    As a registered nurse I have seen person after person commited with incompetent representation. People who absolutely were not “crazy.” That is the system and nothing will ever be done to change it.

  26. There are travesties of justice all around; but in my experience, there’s far more often than not more to the story than one side’s account would have us believe. I don’t know the facts of your case, so I can’t assert anything definitive here; but neither can I line up in support on your side based just on what I’ve read here. If anything, there’s a snideness to the tone that I, and very likely the authorities involved in the case, picked up on and found off putting.

    Nevertheless, it is true that due process itself is always under attack and must forever be defended against unscrupulous anti-Constitutionalists. That fact alone should counsel caution against our eagerly subjecting ourselves to ever more government intrusions and restrictions so long as “due process”, that thinning and wavering bulwark, is observed.

    • I didn’t catch any sort of snide tone (unless it was in reference to the ex-girlfriend, where resentment would be normal and probably inevitable). Nonetheless, your perceptions are likely as valid as mine.

      Burke, ambivalence about one man’s telling of a personal story is not a threat to the bulwark of law.

  27. “nor shall any person . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

    When the government takes away anyone’s guns without due process of law, it violates the Fifth Amendment as well as the Second.

  28. If you are accused and arrested and put before some doctor, does your right to remain silent apply? How does that work? I’d be afraid to talk before having access to a lawyer.

    • Silence will be interpreted as “Intransigence Disorder”, or outright proof of insanity. When you are in a mental hospital, ANY behavior is subject to interpretation as “mental disorder”. Ever see ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST? Ken Kesey was committed, once. This is based upon his observations.

  29. George Carlin:
    “Rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away. They’re privileges. That’s all we’ve ever had in this country, is a bill of temporary privileges. And if you read the news even badly, you know that every year the list gets shorter and shorter. You see all, sooner or later. Sooner or later, the people in this country are gonna realize the government does not give a fuck about them! The government doesn’t care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or your safety. It simply does not give a fuck about you! It’s interested in its own power. That’s the only thing. Keeping it and expanding it wherever possible.”

    • So EXPLAIN to me WHY this “genius” attacked the NRA so viciously, time and time again? You CAN’T just sweep this shit under the rug!

      • Yeah, I thought he was pretty much spot-on when he was doing a pro-choice tirade until he got to the “after they’re born, however…” part when he launched into a total socialistic screed.

  30. At the very least, to strip someone of their rights without due process of law is entirely wrong.

    And on the mental health issue, a rather small number of people who suffer from mental health issues are ever violent. And if you attach the possibility of losing your rights for seeking help for a legitimate medical condition like mental health, then you’ll push people who need help away from seeking it.

    I’m also very leery of trying to throw “mental health” under the bus in an attempt to save our own skins. It won’t work in the long run. All it will do is make things worse.

    • I am ENTIRELY willing to throw the “mental health” issue under the bus; it is an instrument of repression, and it WILL be use against us, one way or another. Armed citizens can decide their own fate. Politicians negotiate our fates away. I am happy to take the risk of being attacked by a “crazy”; it’s the price of a free, and ARMED, society.

      The SECOND they get us “compromising”, they win. We have compromised way too much.

      Sorry, my friend, but you come from a position of compromise and defeat. We make ALL the compromises, while they get to name the game.

      FUCK that shit.

      • +1

        I am happy to take the risk of being attacked by a “crazy” it’s the price of a free, and ARMED, society.

        You get it. You really do. Many don’t seem to and I’m often at a loss as to how to get the point across to them.

        • One of my favorite lines from reading the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series (That’s Game of Thrones, to the noobs):

          “And when I’m free,” he said slowly, “will I be free to go?”
          “Sure you will. And we’ll be free to kill you. It’s dangerous being free, but most come to like the taste o’ it.”

          The first time I read that line, I literally stopped in my tracks and thought, “Whoa.”

        • There may actually be no way, John. Some people will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid the obvious.

  31. If all rights can be restricted then have Piers Morgan undergo a background check, and pre-approve all his public statements.
    Returning vets are being stripped of their 2nd Amendment righs by the 10’s of thousands. Watch the NRA they wil negotiate our rights away.

  32. I cannot f*cking believe what I’m reading from a few here. To even entertain the thought of this being acceptable is placing yourself in the same f*cking category of “mentally unfit” of certain rights. OMFG.

    • A resentful woman will do everything she can do hurt the object of her resentment after a certain point.

      Be careful who you shack up with gentlemen. Shit, be careful who you even go on a date with.

      All your partner has to do is make something up that is remotely believable and you are screwed, potentially for life.

      • There’s a line in an old blues song:

        When a man gets the blues, he sure will run around.
        But when a woman gets the blues, she tries to tear her sweetie down.

        The title of the song is “I ain’t gonna’ marry”

        • …1. Misogynist! 😀

          Actually, I agree with you, Fug, and believe that to be sound advice. I’ll go call myself a misogynist in the mirror now… But at least I’m not in prison (yet) and still retain the ability to exercise my RKBA under current law (so far)! I’d rather be called an armed misogynist than be a delusional, disarmed mangina.

  33. Welcome to the system. It is arbitary and will fuck you because after a certain point it destroys you because it cannot be allowed to be proved wrong.

    Women who get left or leave leave shot in their wake. Lie cheat and cause trpuble because thwy need your attwntion

    As for the language thing. Speaking as someone with an English Language and linguistics B.A (hons) and an English M.A, I would like to point out that the language is descriptive not perscriptive. Ergo a spelling or grammar ‘error’ is merely non stamdard engliah rather than incorrect. Also a word not being a word in a commonly recognised doctionary doesn’t mean it to be incorrect, thwninly criteria for a word to be valid is that the meaning can be said to be understandable in contect.

  34. Yeah yhat does suck I’m in the same boat my problem come from an therapistthat lie about what I sead and because I own an gun I’m an damger to my self and other the system is mess up

    • Thankfully, I was very thorough when selecting my therapist. The importance of my God, my guns, and my children were stressed to potential therapists beforehand. Fortunately, I ended up with one that understood and promised to veer me away from any situation that might potentially have jeopardized two of those three most important things to me. The therapist never required me to be disarmed for any sessions and sometimes sought my opinion about firearms and staying on the legal side of state self-defense. Years after the therapist retired, we remained good friends. When writing the last book, my former therapist elicited my assistance. I even helped his family move out of state a few years ago.

      I was lucky but certainly recognize that my outcome is not typical. IMHO, a good indicator of a therapist’s seriousness about protecting your liberty while treating you is if that therapist allows you to be armed during sessions. 😉

      • You are VERY lucky indeed. I found myself in a situation, about 20 years ago, that was an accusation of “domestic violence” that I had to use all my wits to extricate myself from. It was extremely difficult and genuinely depressing, but, eventually, a lucky happenstance or two found their way to me.

        The worst are not shrinks, by far; it’s social workers and counselors. The farkers just wait to sink their talons in you, and they do NOT like to let go. Really distressing people, they are. Petty control freaks – the very worst kind.

        I hinted at this before. Because the DV imbroglio involved alleged alcohol abuse, I found myself the only drinker in a group consisting of about 20 crackheads, and myself. I was assigned to go, but because I didn’t feel safe with those people, or the area in which the “classes” were located, I quit going.

        And I got away with it. It still amazes me there were no repercussions.

    • I think the rule here is, “please limit your posts here to when you’re sober or half-drunk. If you can post semi-coherently when in a full drunk, more power to you.”

      Like many here, I speak from experience. Not criticizing you, but it’s hard to put your best foot forward when you can’t put one front in foot of the ot…..zzzzzzzzz.

    • One of the things I forgot to mention was that, having been on both the patient and healthcare provider sides of the interaction, mistakes are often made in charting and in case files. What’s written in the chart or case file is considered by many to be gospel. That’s unfortunate and can lead to problems like you’ve experienced.

      • I’ll testify that! Read my post above. You ain’t SEEN trouble until a Social Worker sinks his or her fangs into you. Blood-sucking PARASITES.

  35. Mental health is the manner in which the truly delusional (socialists) find a way to strongarm you into a position of vulnerability. It says a lot about society when a liar can make a false, or specious claim against someone and it doesn’t require a court of law to remove the rights of the person such claims were levied against, but *no one* says anything about the mental status or health of the LIAR who clearly and maliciously intends to destroy someone’s life. People who lie, non-stop, without hesitation, just because they can get away with it are the mental cases, the dangerous, insidious, dishonest, and destructive people in society and it’s really absurd they seem to have the upperhand.

    • Criminal psychopaths have a way of rising towards the top echelons of society. This is because they know that most people don’t want to make that sort of evaluation of them. Some just plain can’t recognize one when they see one.

      The criminal psychopath knows this all too well; he knows he can “fly under the radar”, because most people’s radar is badly calibrated.

      Criminal psychopaths have risen about the crowd all throughout human history, yet amazingly, we’re still eager to be fooled. Again and again and again.

  36. Would enjoy knowing if this man was able to get his rights reinstated. It really is bad that someone can accuse you of something and the cops just take you away. It seems the old adage innocent until proven guilty only goes for the rich and famous. . . I bet Lindsey Lohan could walk into a store today and purchase a firearm without a batted eye by the ATF, FBI or any of the other members of the alphabet soup.


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