Question of the Day: Should A Request to Have Mental Health Records Expunged Be Reported to the Police?

Graystone Park Psychiatric Hopspital (courtesy

New Jersey’s  sn’t happy that Garden State Governor and presidential hopeful Chris Christie vetoed a gun control bill that “would require that law enforcement be notified when someone seeking a gun permit wants certain mental illness records expunged. It’s a modest gun-control measure with obvious value, something to which only the most fanatical of gun-rights activists — and those wanting to please them — could object.” Is that you? Are you opposed to cops knowing that a citizen asked a court to declare them mentally fit and therefore OK to keep and bear arms –  notification before the court even makes a determination? If so, why? It’s not like they’re automatically banned, is it?


  1. avatar CRF says:

    The mentally impaired don’t have the same rights as you do, duh. But we’re liberals, so everything we finis in the name of tolerance (but only tolerance of views that we deem fit to be tolerated)

  2. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    In the USSR the government routinely declared people to be mentally ill and confined them to an asylum for nothing more than being opposed the the great and wonderful state. You can count on the gun banners taking that approach just like they always go to the totalitarian play book for every tired old idea they ever had. They adopted Hitler’s gun control act almost word for word as the pattern for the Gun Control Act of 1968, so it is no surprise they would look to Stalin for inspiration!

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      If you agree to allow the government to create, maintain and enforce and unconstitutional list of persons the government decides shall not be allowed to exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, how will you keep YOUR name off that list?

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      I worked in Silly Valley with a Russian ex-pat who told me of being involuntarily committed and “forced” to take medication to dumb him down. He’d cheek the pills and sell them inside the facility, “Was no big deal” as he described it. He also smoked me at speed chess. Smoked me.

      Then again, the Russians found ways to deal with being rationed toilet paper that required they never use more than one square per, uh, visit to the restroom and most of us would find highly offensive.

      Still, where are people loose in the population who should be locked up for being a danger to themselves and to others. Some of them are “mental health professionals,” too.

  3. avatar Kirk says:

    I just don’t understand what good this proposal does. Why do the cops need to know? What would they do when so notified? It’s not a crime to request records to be expunged. AFAIK, it’s fairly common. I guess I’m just one of those “fanatical gun nuts” because I fail to see the “obvious value.”

  4. avatar Bill Kohnke says:

    And if the court failed to notify the police, would the judge go to jail? This could have been interesting.

  5. The police are no better at mental health than the mental health folks are at policing.

  6. avatar Paul53 says:

    Shades of Big Brother! But exactly how much do LEO understand of any kind of health care records to begin with?

  7. avatar Nate says:

    Mental illness is going to be the new prohibiting factor for gun purchases. And the determination won’t be by your doctor, it will be made by a single person from the Government without due process…just look at the NY SAFE Act we have going on here in NY State….The word around here is never even say you are sad to a psychiatrist or you risk your rights, they’ve already thrown two cops in the crazy ward over mistakes because some overworked county hospital reported anyone with ANY psychiatric symptoms (including insomnia, mild anxiety related to situation, etc.) to the state as “serious”.

  8. avatar jandrews says:

    The gun control and the mental health camps both get it wrong when it comes to violent crime.

    Mass homicidal assholes are broken people, this is true, but you don’t drop the hammer on all people with mental health challenges for the actions of this tiny minority for the same reason you don’t punish all firearms owners for the actions of a tiny minority.

    No law restricting firearms ownership is going to stop committed maniacs, and linking gun rights to mental health records will just discourage people who are no threat to anyone and genuinely need help from getting it. Lefties need to stop blaming the guns, both sides need to stop blaming the crazy, and what needs to happen is this: a discussion of acceptance. Adults *accept* that bad things sometimes happen undeservedly. Some of these bad things will be murders. With guns. Adults also *accept* that you do not punish people undeservedly, which means laying off mentally ill people and gun owners who *haven’t harmed anyone in any way*, which is the vast majority of both categories.

    In short: Some growing up needs to happen, and acceptance of imperfection is an unavoidable part of that process.

  9. avatar Howdy says:

    Because the government is great at record keeping and is superb at correcting mistakes and doing the Constitutional thing and don’t care what you do at home or in your personal life.

  10. avatar James Lee says:

    Last time I checked most mentally ill people don’t go out and stab people or drive onto the pedestrian walk during rush hours. Are their lives somehow cheaper than the mentally sound? They are born with gun rights as well so they should pass that bulls*** NICS. If a person is too dangerous to own a gun, what makes you think he is safe in a home with kitchen knives and car keys? Either lock em up, or leave the man and his guns alone.

  11. avatar Shwiggie says:

    The mentally ill have the natural right to self defense like everybody else. Particularly when “mentally ill” has such a breadth of definitions.

  12. avatar Ralph says:

    People who have no objection to having anything about them reported to the police are obviously insane and need to be confined for their own good.

  13. avatar Anon says:

    Anyone spending any time reading about the mass killers should know that they ALL were receiving a lot of help, and drugs and/or everyone knew they were crazy. . . . .no one took any action.

    Look it up, up to 50,000,000 Americans (plus up to 20,000,000 children) take mind altering drugs on a regular basis. It does not mean they are going to be a mass killer. The adverse effects of these drugs will never be fully documented. . . it’s easy, just follow the money.

    The drug companies and MSM (drugs are advertised all the time-revenue for MSM) really don’t want talk about this. Their income may fall.

    I’m not on drugs, but I do invest in drug companies, who also own both major political parties. . . .just cognizant of the Soma attitude in this country.

  14. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    I think the mental health issue is going to need a LOT of work. And I don’t think it’s going to happen in our lifetimes.
    Try to get two docs to agree on a diagnosis for a mental condition…
    But to let the .gov have a hand in ANY part of it is a lose-lose proposition. They failed at running a cat house in Nevada.

  15. avatar gsnyder says:

    The police have no business playing in the medical realm. The overwhelming majority of persons who are diagnosed with a mental illness are more apt to become a victim. This is another “common sense” seeming approach to keep firearms from the personalities who often appear to be near the cause of currently discussed violence. Never mind the gangs, economic problems, over-crowding, homelessness, hunger, war on drugs, fear campaigns of the progressive left, and the like. Cops are not Dr’s and mental health labels do not equate to instant murderer.

  16. avatar DBM says:

    The entire state of NJ is mentally ill when it comes to guns.

  17. avatar MrB-inTX. says:

    As a retired Licensed Counselor. Mental Health records should remain the same as all medical records.
    Private and confidential. Now – should an individual be reported as to Being a threat to themselves or others. That would – depending upon circumstances – be reported to authorities and a public record would – again generally – be made. Christie was correct. Such a law would be incredibly litigious and cause more problems than would be solved. The responses are good and proposed law smacks of ‘Big Brother’.
    BTW — CCL holder for 6 years.
    Every time some shooting occurs, these knee-jerk creations occur. Usually by some jerk.
    Being in my 8th decade of life, I still wonder how we made it this far! Thank goodness for 2nd Amendment!

    1. avatar js says:

      “private and confidential”, eh? Except to your insurance company, almost certainly your employer (as a “code”– which tells them what was wrong with you, or that your daughter is pregnant or whatever), the government… etc.

      HIPAA ended medical privacy. Which is funny– just like the “Bank Secrecy Act” ended banking secrecy.

  18. avatar Chip in Florida says:

    Why do the police need to know? Do they get to veto the request?

    And how does this fit with the current HIPAA rules?

    1. avatar JohnF says:

      The HIPAA Privacy Rule regulates the use and disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI) held by “covered entities” (generally, health care clearinghouses, employer sponsored health plans, health insurers, and medical service providers that engage in certain transactions. Covered entities may disclose protected health information to law enforcement officials for law enforcement purposes as required by law (including court orders, court-ordered warrants, subpoenas) and administrative requests; or to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person.

  19. avatar PeterK says:

    All I can think of is that scene in The Incredibles:

    “Why do you neeed to know!?”

  20. avatar DetroitMan says:

    Absolutely not. If the court wants to check with the police to see if the petitioner has any outstanding warrants or recent arrests, that is a reasonable measure for doing their job. Requiring the court to notify police is just more statist pants-wetting over guns. It won’t do anything to actually stop a deranged person from getting a gun, but the statist pansies will feel safer because the government passed a new law.

  21. avatar Ian says:

    This is one of the main problems with our mental health system today. Possibly the #1 barrier preventing most people who want help from seeking it. The fear that they will forever be labeled a wacko. If the anti’s are genuine about wanting to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally unstable there needs to be a very clear and legally binding course to clear your name. Overcoming the depression of the death of a parent for instance. Your depression will almost certainly subside. You may have felt better, sooner, and be better off for it if you had sought professional help. But if you do you will forever be marked as having been depressed and potentially suicidal.

    In short, if a doctor clears you your status should be exactly that. Cleared. OK. Congratulations for taking care of yourself and ensuring that you are safe in society, not forever smudged with a brown badge of shame because you asked for help.

  22. avatar Ed Rogers says:

    This is asinine. I don’t normally make critical epithets but they’re knuckleheads. They might as well secede from the Union and proceed with ripping away the rest of their citizen rights…

  23. avatar pres stone says:

    i don’t see how anyone could be against this. it has nothing, really, to do with gun rights. what if they just wanted it expunged period? is that somehow not a big deal since it doesn’t involve guns?

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  25. avatar DaveL says:

    Sounds like a law only a bureaucrat could love. If the person’s record is such that they still shouldn’t own guns, then don’t allow it to be expunged. If the record indicates those problems are now behind them, then expunged should mean expunged, not merely moved to a different file kept by the police.

  26. avatar EJQ says:

    So, why bother to try to have the record expunged if it will be given to the police?

    Plenty of reasons other than buying a gun to have the record expunged, such as a job. Tough enough to buy a gun in New Jersey.

    1. avatar DBM says:

      Back in 2010 NJ had its 5th gun crime committed with a legally own gun since 1960. For any liberals reading this its 5 in 50 YEARS!

      Legislators in NJ were actually screaming that was an unacceptable crime rate with legally owned guns and all private gun ownership must be ended! They conveniently overlook the thousands of crimes committed yearly by illegally purchased and owned fire arms.

  27. avatar Gs650g says:

    In jersey they would take this law and add to it. Like another rule that says they get to send you to shrinks at your expense just to be sure.

  28. avatar foo dog says:

    I’m ok with this, as long as they start off by automatically classifying all elected officials in New Jersey as mentally challenged, de facto, by definition…starting at city council on up, upon passage of the law.

    And since being a politician means they lie when their lips move, then add perjury to their criminal records, when they apply for expungement.

    Problem solved on a bunch of levels.

  29. avatar foo dog says:

    Had a DA tell me one time if they applied the same filters for applications to become Police Officer, or did yearly reviews, that most civilian jobs with any kind of security clearance- ie domestic violence, alcohol, mental health, drug screen, that 2/3s of all LEOs would be out of work in a year.

    So, yeah- great, I dont think we need to give the LEAs any more power than they already abuse now.
    Thank you, New Jersey- tied for dumb $hit politicians than think up, with Kalifornia. Way to go.

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