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Texas Sen. John Cornyn’s Mental Health and Safe Communities Act of 2015 is, he says, intended to incentivize more states to report mental health-related information to the FBI’s NICS system. Something that many – even on the pro-gun side – seem to favor. But Cornyn’s bill seems to have the NRA’s blessing. And that’s pretty much all the deep thinkers at the CSGV need to know (see their statement of opposition after the jump). If it’s true that you shall know them by their enemies, is this good enough for you? . . .

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) opposes S. 2002, the “Mental Health and Safe Communities Act of 2015,” in its current form and urges Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), the sponsor of the legislation, to reconsider some of its key provisions. Senator Cornyn has championed his legislation as an attempt to “fix the existing background check system [for gun buyers],” but in many ways S. 2002, if enacted, would do exactly the opposite.

On the positive side, S. 2002 provides financial incentives to states to report disqualifying criminal and mental health records to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It also redefines and replaces offensive, outdated terms in federal law like “mental defective” from the 1968 Gun Control Act.

Unfortunately, S. 2002 would also significantly weaken NICS by allowing individuals at a heightened risk of dangerous behavior to purchase and possess firearms. The bill has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association.

Under federal law, an individual is prohibited from buying or possessing firearms for life (barring future restoration by a state court) if he/she has been involuntarily committed to a mental institution or adjudicated by a court or other legal authority for reasons of mental illness as someone who:  1) Is a danger to himself or to others; 2) Lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs, or; 3) Is found insane by a court in a criminal case, or incompetent to stand trial. This standard expressly excludes voluntary commitments.

Under S. 2002, those who have been ordered to mental health treatment against their will would be able to legally own and purchase firearms again as soon as they are released from a treatment facility, a critical time in their recovery.

While in a facility, individuals receive treatment for their mental illness and maintain regular schedules (including for medication) in a supervised setting. Once released, they again assume full responsibility for their health and well-being while simultaneously readjusting to society.  This can be incredibly stressful and difficult. Research shows that individuals with mental illness experience higher rates of violent behavior (on average) than the general population during this period. Automatically restoring firearms rights in these circumstances could put such individuals (and those around them) at substantial risk.

“S. 2002 would not have prevented mass shooters like Dylann Roof, Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez and John Russell Houser from walking into a gun store, passing a background check, and obtaining a firearm,” said Ladd Everitt, Director of Communications for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “And these are individuals who were exhibiting multiple red flags concerning violent behavior that were clear for all to see.”

“Most Americans dealing with mental health issues will never be violent toward others,” said Josh Horwitz, CSGV Executive Director. “But for that subset in crisis, it’s important to have sound policy to alleviate the risk of gun-related violence. S. 2002 takes some positive steps forward as we debate the subject of guns and mental health, but it would allow too many at-risk individuals to have immediate access to firearms, and that is unacceptable.”

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  1. Well if it is pushed by the NRA it MUST be bad…their goal is complete disarmament-so even this is “BAD” if the NRA is attached to it…

  2. Looks like the pro-2A people can f with the anti’s just like they do with us. Keep it up! Waste as much of their time and money as is possible, this is a proven good strategy. Introduce more bills soon!

  3. The controlled opposition will always pretend to oppose that which it wants. It always makes the lemmings on the right jump right on board with fastening the next link in the chain of servitude.
    Cornyn is a snake in the chicken coop. He’s doing the work of the antis and the right will lick it up.

  4. “intended to invent more states to report mental health-related information”

    Did you mean “incent?”
    Wait, that’s not a word.
    How about “incentivize?”

  5. If a law in any way makes people fear getting health care of any type because a health care worker may breach confidentiality to report them, people will avoid health care workers. Can’t make it any simpler.

    • Aye. Those even moderately concerned about their freedoms are already somewhat cautious about seeking any medical treatment.. This will only make that situation worse for more people.

      I also disagree with mandatory reporting for gunshot wounds (which has been stretched to even primer pops on only primed brass – saw this personally), knife wounds, and serious burns.

    • The best way to avoid sickness or death is to avoid health care workers. Death caused by medical errors has a much higher (~16 times higher) incidence than death by firearms in all forms (homicides suicides, and accidents).

      An old doctor told me many years ago to avoid the health care system and never undergo any surgery unless it is absolutely necessary because the cure is usually worse than the problem (due to the risk of infection and lack of efficacy of many medical procedures).

      • Thanks for both replies. In the hospital they make a big stink about washing hands, appropriate enough. But how often does your doctor was his tie?
        All healthcare facilities lose part of their Medicare payments if they don’t dump written medical records in favor of Electronic Medical Records (EMR). Only a matter of time before there’s a mandatory firearms question there. Fortunately most docs I know shoot at the same range I do.
        Have to agree with wisdom in both of your replies (I’m a career RN). But biggest danger to your health is a profit oriented healthcare system. Money is more important than you.

        • IMHO, much of the ball is dropped in formal training. I’ve tutored a current nurse practitioner student (foreigner) since she was in late elementary school. I have continued to work with her academically in her nursing programs. Throughout her RN training and much moreso in her NP training, they are focusing on using the right buzz terms and being politically oriented to effect change (for lack of a better way to put it). The nuts and bolts of real, honest to goodness healthcare is taking a backseat to agendas and appearances. Interestingly, I experienced much less of that in medical school but that was quite a few years ago. Still, I felt the training was truly inadequate and that they weren’t putting the finishing touches on medical scientists but rather creating a large number of passable imitators. A buddy of mine and and I were schooling the PhD candidates on microanatomy on a regular basis. It got so bad that our professor announced to the class that if there was a disparity of opinion between us and the candidates, my buddy and I were to be who the students should listen to. Again, IMHO, the state of medical education today is scandalous and reckless.

  6. Honestly, I never thought I’d say it, but woot for CSGV.

    The man who is wrong still retains some respect for truth, if only by accepting the responsibility of choice. But the man in the middle is the knave who blanks out the truth…
    -Ayn Rand

    • Ok, don’t do that. First, Ayn Rand was (if you’ll forgive the use of a layman’s term) a wack-job. Like Nietzsche, one of her heroes, she had serious psychological issues and is close to the most ironic person to be quoting on a topic like this. And second, that that quote itself actually makes zero sense. It sounds somewhat impressive, but is pseudo intellectual word salad. Like most of what she said.

      If you’re going to quote a fiction author or follow one’s philosophy of life, you might as well be throwing L.Ron Hubbard out there. Please appreciate the sarcasm.

    • CSGV is actually saying that this doesn’t go far enough. It is cleverly stated in the last sentence. S. 2002 takes some positive steps forward as we debate the subject of guns and mental health, but it would allow too many at-risk individuals to have immediate access to firearms, and that is unacceptable.

  7. I’d like to eliminate NICS and the ATF. I’d call it the F the NICS / F the ATF Child Safety and Happy Puppies and Baby Harp Seal Safety Act. In it’s place I’d have bill that reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Let me be clear: if you like your gun control you can keep your gun control.*

    The only way guns would be denied by government is in jail, prison or as a defendant in a criminal proceeding. After due process.

    *Gun control mean hitting your target.

  8. So the CSGV is against a new gun law that won’t prevent criminals from breaking the law? um….. Welcome to the club(?), I guess?

    • So much for “if it only saves one life, then it is worth it”. They didn’t introduce it, they didn’t get everything they want, they won’t get credit, and it will stall all other gun laws till long after the next election cycle because Americans are very gun happy at this time. I am not saying I like the bill. I just think it is funny to see them whine and cry and it makes them look petty by offering what they wanted.

  9. A baby harp seal walks into a bar. The bartender asks him “What will you have?” The seal says “Anything but a Canadian Club.”

  10. So everyone who is involuntarily committed is a crazy person and crazy people shouldn’t own guns.

    I think liberty is actually scary to these people. They literally can’t handle other people being able to choose for themselves.

  11. “It also redefines and replaces offensive, outdated terms in federal law like “mental defective” from the 1968 Gun Control Act.”

    It’s perfectly acceptable to strip someone of their civil rights, but heaven forbid we offend them with words!

  12. Unfortunaty the field of psychiatry is 100% opinion. None of the disorders of illnesses that psychiatrists diagnose can be confirmed by lab test or any other objective measure. So realize when you speak on this subject ou are dealing with 100% subjective opinion of people who the government qualifies as experts, despite zero hard evidence to back up anything they diagnose or prescribe or recommend.

  13. It’s a bit off topic, but I wonder if CSGV has a published position about harsh punishment for violent criminals. (I couldn’t find anything on their web site.) It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that, if they have addressed the subject at all, they advocate coddling the criminals at the expense of their victims.

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