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“I think we should be open to a debate and a discussion over limiting guns to mentally ill. …But I gotta tell you that I haven’t seen it. I haven’t seen any argument that at some point isn’t gonna prevent me from getting that gun because I’m going to fail some sort of litmus test to have to do that.” – Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson [at 14:55]


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  1. “Limiting guns to mentally I’ll….”
    Does that mean that, since I’m not mentally ill, I can’t have a gun?

    • No, you want guns and therefore you are by definition mentally ill and can’t have them. I hope that clears things up! 🙂

      • Anybody who wants a gun is obviously a raging psychopath and should obviously be sent to a camp where they can concentrate on integrating into society. People like this need to learn to concentrate in a camp. Yes! Send them to a concentration camp!

    • Why? Because he is willing to debate the issue? I don’t see anything saying that he agrees with it, or not, simply that he is willing to engage in discussion.

      Further, his only issue with potential debate is definition of terms. And he raises a very Liberterian point – who decides if you are mentally ill? What is the government’s litmus test? A debate revolving around ill, meaning mentally incapable of participating in society with inducing harm on yourself or others, is vastly different from ill, meaning you have to eat the green M&Ms last.

      • Sounds to me like he trusts the government to define the litmus test in a way that wouldn’t effect his right to own a gun. But the government would love to use that test to deny as many people as possible the right to keep and bear arms. And they’re certainly not going to be open and honest about it. His trust in government is misplaced. Not exactly libertarian orthadoxy IMHO.

        • And thus the importance of defining terms. I read the same thing as you and interpreted it differently – that he didn’t trust the government to define the litmus after a debate and that is essential to have before starting the debate.

          As interpreted by you, I’d agree that he had abandoned a core Libertarian principle.

        • Perhaps I misinterpreted what he meant, but if he doesn’t trust the government to define the litmus test what is there to debate about? He should know you can’t trust the other side. It’s like debating the virtues of Christianity with ISIS. They’re just going to cut your head off.

        • You engage in the debate not for yourself, but to educate others. He may not trust the government, but what about fence sitters?

          Once the terms are defined, you have a stationary target. Your opponent may defend it better than you can attack, but you’re still more likely to score some hits than if you had gone in and it was moving.

    • So you’re not able to read the full quote? He said that he’s open to TALKING about it, but that he’s never seen any proposal that wouldn’t prevent non-dangerous people from owning guns and thus he does not support it.

      • It deems you are responding to people that are not serious or at least thoughtful in their responses.
        Mental deficiency needs to be on a one on one ( individual ) basis between a patient and his/her appropriately licensed doctor(s). Not mandatory testing but ONLY IF ONE HAS HAD PREVIOUSLY DIAGNOSED MENTAL ISSUES OF A NATURE THAT COULD CONSISTANTLY IMPARE ONES ABILITY TO MAKE REASONABLE AND SOUND JUDGEMENTS. The fact that this would be time consuming and expensive is why anti gun activists want a one size fits all which never works in anything no matter how much they try to or successfully convince themselves it does.
        On another note here…. lest someone should even think it…I am not a “troll”. With my occupation I get enough time to respond to topics that are interesting to me.

  2. Well, the state administers it, of course. Can’t leave citizens or private industries to their own machinations. Hey, this could be such a great thing though, couldn’t it? If we administer a test to determine you’re mentally ill then the state can also provide the psychiatric care, drugs, therapy, room & board for you as well to make you into a citizen that’s worthy of society. I mean, if they aren’t well enough to own guns, like a normal, functioning human being, then why are they trusted among us at all? Makes sense to me. In fact, let’s just go ahead and have the state institute this for everybody so we can start with a nice, level playing field. We’ll weed out all the mentally ill in this nation, get them help, and meanwhile suspend all their rights: right to bear arms, right to vote, right to free speech, right to religion, etc. That way they can’t adversely affect society in the meantime.

    I think this is a great idea, from the Libertarian party, of all places, no less.

    • “the state can also provide the psychiatric care, drugs, therapy, room & board for you as well to make you into a citizen that’s worthy of society.”

      This has only one end-game. Cue images of The Matrix.

      “Worthy of society” translates to “conformist slave.”

      • Wasn’t there a regime in the 1930s that determined the institutionalized were a burden society couldn’t afford anymore?

  3. “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.” Rocket Science.

    • Yes. What we’re apparently seeing here is Johnson starting to recite a pro-gun control soundbite he’d rehearsed for CNN and MSNBC—looking out at the blank (or angry) expressions from the libertarian audience, and dissolving into a wishy-washy crawfishing routine to save himself.

      If he embraces gun control again, his campaign for President is over, regardless of who wins the party nomination in Orlando.

  4. Has anybody recently done any study on the prevalence of ‘gun violence’ committed by the ‘mentally ill’, as opposed to the general population?

    Is the general population still far more violent than the mentally ill?

    If so, why do people want to take guns away from the mentally ill, other than they make convenient scapegoats, or stepping stones towards revoking the rights of other groups?

    • “Has anybody recently done any study on the prevalence of ‘gun violence’ committed by the ‘mentally ill’, as opposed to the general population?”
      Simple answer is yes. The results are clear, the mentally ill are not more violent than the healthy population. It turns out that, shockingly enough, some mentally ill people are violent. Turns out some healthy people are too.

    • That answer hinges on how you define “mentally ill.” Must one be on some serious psychotropic cocktail or have undergone a lobotomy (do they even still do that?) to qualify, or will one quick call to the company’s EAP line because the annoying guy in the next cubicle is driving you crazy suffice?

      Expect everyone’s answer to this question to be as subjective and/or backed by pseudoscience studies as any antigunner’s “proof” that guns are evil.

      What we do know and most can reasonably agree on, is that of the high profile spree shootings of the last decade, most of those guys were basically street rat crazy and everyone around them knew it aforehand. That’s so in Virginia Tech, the Giffords shooter, the Batman shooter, the NY firemen murderer, Sandy Hook, the Amy Schumer movie shooter, and others.

      These worst of the worst are the crazies whose exploits have an outsized impact on the rest of us because their crimes garner so much publicity and prompt so much government activity. Just barring them from legally purchasing guns does nothing. Even with a mental record in NICS, that only covers FFL sales, and there are infinite other means of murder available, anyway.

      The obvious crazies need to be confined. Problem is, the antis are guaranteed to abuse that authority (they already have) as an end run around the 2A. Meanwhile, the pro-2A crowd will resist any movement against the crazies for fear of the slippery slope. So the spree shooting carnage continues and we forever fight over our rights after each bloody attack.

      • Well stated, Jonathan.

        The problem is a lot more complex than just “crazy people shouldn’t have guns”.

        • Thanks. I did want to add that “street rat crazy” is not a recognized clinical diagnosis. I just picked it up from a Taco Bell commercial about ten years ago.

        • It may not be a recognized clinical diagnosis, but most of us can recognize “street rat crazy” when we see it…

  5. Two thoughts on this one. First, we all would most likely agree that those people who commit mass murder are probably not of their right mind. Yet, how many of them are found legally insane during trial? Very few if not any. So that sure seems a conundrum. Second, since many of these people are young and seem to have a history of psychological issues, I wonder how many of them have been prescribed psychoactive drugs like SSRIs. Even a cursory search into the effect of these drugs on adolescent minds is very disturbing.

    Meta analyses of short duration randomized clinical trials have found that SSRI use is related to a higher risk of suicidal behavior in children and adolescents.[65][66][67] For instance, a 2004 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) analysis of clinical trials on children with major depressive disorder found statistically significant increases of the risks of “possible suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior” by about 80%, and of agitation and hostility by about 130%;[68] According to the FDA, the heightened risk of suicidality is within the first one to two months of treatment.[69][70][71] The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) places the excess risk in the “early stages of treatment”.[72] The European Psychiatric Association places the excess risk in the first two weeks of treatment and, based on a combination of epidemiological, prospective cohort, medical claims, and randomized clinical trial data, concludes that a protective effect dominates after this early period. A 2012 Cochrane review found that at six to nine months, suicidal ideation remained higher in children treated with antidepressants compared to those treated with psychological therapy.[73]

    • Want to make a liberal’s head explode today? Introduce them to the concept of “gender dysphoria,” and how it is proven that certain medications (including not surprisingly anabolic steroids) can suppress it. Then insist that any proposal that mandates psyc eval for purchase of a gun include specific language that names GD as a disqualifying precondition. You can thank me for all the fun you have insisting on government mandated testosterone replacement therapy for drag queens later.

      • One of my best friends in the world is a lesbian and was on medication for bipolar disorder since she was 16 until the age of 30. She decided she wanted off them and worked with her doctor to do so. About 5 months into being off them, she called me, very confused. She now liked boys. This was a significant problem, as she was married to a woman, to whom now she had zero sexual desire. To save her marriage, she got back on the drugs. Months later, she likes girls again. She’s never told her wife.

        • You both just blew my mind.

          Although, it raises some very serious questions. People “born that way”, as they claim, might be right, but that may be less relevant and destiny-defining than previously thought. Genetics may outright control sexuality, or it may only establish a certain propensity, which can be influenced or possibly reversed with the right application of medication.

          I don’t know how altering chemistry could overcome a lifetime of experience and identity, though. Libido can wax and wane, I understand, but a sudden volte-face in sexual orientation?

        • “I don’t know how altering chemistry could overcome a lifetime of experience and identity, though.”

          Changes in brain chemistry and morphology cause radical changes in personality and behavior all the time. It doesn’t surprise me that there’s a combination of chemical changes that could drastically alter sexual preference or other things that are considered to be central to a person’s identity.

  6. We already have this in the form of justifying need. The overlords then pass judgment on you and your situation with no accountability. If you are hurt or killed it’s not their fault you were unarmed.
    Everybody calls it a shame and moves on.

  7. There are some here who feel that a convicted felon should have his gun rights restored after they get out of prison.

    With that same thought process, it would seem logical that mental health patients should not lose their gun rights unless they are confined to a mental hospital, and have their full rights restored when they are released from said hospital.

    If they’re healthy enough to live among us, they’re healthy enough to defend themselves.

    • They should not have their right restored fully until they have completed their parole. If the “State” thinks they are too dangerous to have a gun, they need to be under state supervision. The period and level of that supervision in terms of monitoring can be debated. But they should be restored afterwords with ANY action on the part of the released individual.
      Same thing for people with mental issues. As long as they are under supervision, they may have their rights restricted. There needs to be some middle ground between incarceration and fully restored second amendment rights

    • Whatever MUCH more important that they be released from jail/prison before Nov 1 and CRITICAL that voting rights be restored. 90% of felons prefer demtard candidates.

      It’s a perfect Clinton demtard demographic. Orange is the new Hillary

    • I don’t think non violent offenders should lose RKBA in the first place. The restrictions are a new rule that originally was limited but expanded t ok anything over a year in jail.
      There should be a path to take to have rights restored but as usual no.

    • “If they’re healthy enough to live among us, they’re healthy enough to defend themselves.”


      And if they’re not healthy enough to live amongst us, they die.

      Simple and time honored. No need for gratuitous complication.

  8. Real simple, If you are under court supervention (bail, mentally adjudicated, parole), your second amendment rights can be restricted. If not, not so much.

    • Show me where in the constitution it says ANYTHING about limiting firearms to any American citizen?

      • This comes up time and time again on this site. It’s still in the fifth amendment. “No person shall. . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Government can take away your rights, so long as it does so through due process.

        • the problem here is that once the law is corrupted, so is due process. Not to mention due process is regularly ignored by local, state, and federal government agencies.

        • “Due process” is what a judge, magistrate, Justice of the Peace who draws a government pay cheque says it is.

          You might convince another judge, magistrate, Justice of the Peace who draws a government pay cheque somewhere down the line that you weren’t afforded due process, but you’ll still go to jail, be required to make bond to get out, hire a lawyer, have an arrest record, and probably never have your property returned.

    • If you’re out on bail, you haven’t been convicted of a crime yet. Why wound you strip someone’s rights if they haven’t been convicted of a crime?

      • The same way you ‘strip them of their rights’ by arresting them, the ultimate exercise of authority by the state (short of execution). It is still due process, and a judge could vacate the criminal case if no probable cause were found.

  9. To some people in the government (and outside of it) we are mentaly ill for just wanting a firearm.

    • Exactly. I guess we should be happy to have a Bill of Rights and not a Bill of Wants & Needs If Approved By Your Betters….

  10. I can’t get around the fact he said “limit guns TO the mentally ill.” I mean, right on man, I guess if you want a real party…

  11. Heres what I think, the govs going to get access to medical records, the doc prescribed zanx, or zoloft, or somthing , the govs going to say your mentally unstable and no more guns. Gun grabs just like that Latunburg act.Litmus test, uh, what defines mental illness? Im going to be straight up with you all. My wife died, I had a nervous brakedown, went goofy one night at a bar trying to drink her away. Cops where called, fought cops, said stupid shit n wound up in an institution. Let me tell you, if “they” want you nuts you cant pass a litmus test. For starters, I spent three days n solitarie confinement in jail before talking to the phsyc they brought in, how calm and not upset did they expect me to be? Probably shouldnt have told this story, but what the hell.Im just saying, the gov pulls this off its going to be a real gungrabber

    • If “they want you nuts, you cant pass the test.” Picking at. your finger nails while being questioned and nervous draws blood, thats self injurous behavior, bingo. I have worked in the medical feild taking care of. the devolpematally dissabled and insaine for 12 years.(,Im a farm and ranch hand now)If I want you nuts I can find it.

      • Absolutely. Using the completely subjective, 100% opinion based diagnose of “mental illness” was a common tactic used in the Soviet Union to punish dissenters, we are seeing the beginnings of that here.

  12. We have stated on this forum dozens of times: if someone is so dangerous that we cannot trust them to be free on the streets with a firearm, then we cannot trust them to be free on the streets with automobiles, matches and gasoline, knives, clubs, rocks, and pretty much everything else that is available to anyone.

    So, if such a person has already harmed someone, they should go to prison. If such a person is mentally ill, various impartial entities support that finding, and a court declares them mentally ill, then they should go to a mental hospital.

    Otherwise, if someone is roaming the streets, they should NOT have to pass any background checks and they SHOULD be able to keep and bear arms. To say that government should define and administer “tests” for firearm ownership is putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

    • “Various impartial entities?” Not a compelling case for using subjective criteria to strip someone of their rights.

      • I was thinking of impartial entities who use objective criteria.

        The really hard part is determining who is an impartial entity. Who determines who is impartial in any particular case? What is the criteria for determining who is impartial?

        Before anyone should be involuntarily committed to a mental hospital, I think it should be blatantly obvious to basically everyone … their family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, community, law enforcement, and mental health professionals. From a legal perspective, perhaps it would require sworn affidavits from at least two people in all of those groups. If you can get two family members, two neighbors, two friends, two co-workers, two community members, two law enforcement officers, and two mental health professionals to all submit sworn affidavits stating that a person is dangerously mentally ill, they probably are. (Incidentally that would require 14 sworn affidavits … strikingly analogous to a jury of 12 of your peers.)

        That is the safest possible standard that I can imagine. It seems like it would be exceedingly difficult to abuse and it keeps government totally out of the process with the exception of requiring sworn affidavits from two law enforcement officers. All of the other affidavits would come from non-government individuals.

        • A quick observation…who would supply affidavits for homeless people, or people with no known families, neighbors, or residences? Also, not sure what objective data you’re referring to?

        • pg2,

          The procedure that I outlined would certainly be much more difficult to apply/adapt for isolated people with no known family, friends, etc.

          As for objective criteria (not “data”), I was referring to criteria to determine if someone is dangerously mentally ill. One obvious criteria would be that the person says he/she is going to attack people … or actually has attacked people. Another criteria might be when a person claims to hear voices driving him/her to do things that he/she does not want to do. Another criteria might be extreme paranoia — such as paranoid schizophrenics who think that “they” poisoned the municipal water supply in order to kill everyone (or some such non-sense).

          Whatever the actual criteria, the end result is that it would have to be obvious to most people that a person under consideration was dangerously mentally ill.

        • While what people say is objective in that they said it, any interpretation of that is subjective. Removing rights really needs to require something truly objective, and not subject to opinions. To date we have none of that in the field of psychiatry.

        • pg2,

          At some point everything comes down to human opinion/judgement. I would be comfortable with a process whereby it normally takes sworn affidavits from 14 independent people — 12 of which are not government agents — in order to involuntarily commit someone to a mental hospital for being dangerously mentally ill.

          The beauty of that process is that someone would have to be really dangerous in order for all those people to come forth and say that. And let’s be honest: you don’t have to be a psychologist or psychiatrist to recognize a person who is dangerously mentally ill. People know it when they see it.

          For what it is worth, I am in total agreement that psychologists and psychiatrists can be WAY off the mark sometimes … even bordering on mentally ill themselves. And that is why the process that I outlined required sworn statements from 12 additional people who are NOT part of the mental healthcare field.

  13. “Reasonableness” is always determined by government. Bear in mind however that no government in the history of mankind has ever established any statute that the government considered “unreasonable”.

  14. I’m sure the government would love to create a concensus driven agency to determine if crazy or not crazy. That way people will be compelled through peer pressure and wanting to be part of the group, to find as many people as possible as crazy. Rather than a group that can looks at fact, evidence, and reason to draw conclusions. Even then, a group like the latter would weild too much power over the people.

    • Sixpack 70,

      See my standard/process that I outlined above. I wrote it on the fly. The more I think about it, the more rock-solid I think it is.

  15. As someone who has worked in a nut-house(many years ago) I don’t want crazy folks having guns. But I also don’t know how to define their “craziness”…BTW jwtaylor your post is hilarious. Medication to stay a lesbian-priceless. And I know of a certain heavily muscled/drugged world record holding guy powerlifter who is now a heavily muscled “chick” powergal. More startling than Bruce Jenner…

    • As someone who has worked in a nut-house(many years ago) I don’t want crazy folks having guns.
      Sooo…you worked on Capitol Hill?

      • Funny but Shapiro Developmental Center in Kankakee,IL was the most political BS job I ever had. Officially for the developmentally disabled but almost all the residents for drugged to the max. Worse than any gubmint job lol…

  16. Interesting. For fifty years the left wing claimed that mentally ill people should not be institutionalized because they are not dangerous and they have Constitutional rights.

    Now, the same left wing claims that mentally ill people are dangerous and don’t have Constitutional rights.

    I wish I was a leftist. It must be liberating to have such a malleable moral center.

  17. Interesting thoughts on this matter but they all seem to revolve around two constants; we think people who are crazy can or should be confined by some arbitrary power (however fair it strives to be) and that they should in turn lose their right to bear arms, even if just temporarily.
    I would like to see a world where there is no standard of crazy or standard of who should or should not bear arms, especially a government standard. Rather lets leave this infinitely complex issue up to family members, localized communities, and other such free market solutions, like voluntary courts. The market after all provides the best individualized solution for everything.
    In short, anarchy. Not as scary a solution as you might expect.

  18. There is a medical review, extensive study, easy enough to find online that shows that people with mental health issues are no more likely to commit violent acts than the general population. It also says that if you exclude the small minority of that group with dangerous mental health issues, the rest of the mental health issue population is less likely than the general population to commit violent acts. Finally, it shows that people with mental health issues are more likely to be victims of violence than the general population.

    Also, the Libertarian Party has shown once again this election that while they have the platform that most Americans would agree with, they are the most spectacularly inept political party of all time. They’ve run candidates in all the presidential elections since 1972 and most Americans cannot name a single one. If they can’t run a party, how could they run the country? As William F. Buckley Jr. said when he was asked why he was not a Libertarian, “The only vote that makes sense for a thinking conservative is for the most conservative candidate who has a chance of winning.”

    • To me it has more to do with how much sway the Democrat and Republican parties hold sway over our society convincing us that only they can win elections. That and the fact people in general really don’t understand what liberty is including on this website. Liberty is tolerating what you don’t agree with. A lot of people have a problem with that concept thinking it only applies to their worldview but are more than willing to throw others under the bus in an authoritarian manner if it contradicts their preferred viewpoint.

      That is why liberty-loving people will always be a minority because most people want to control the lives of others in one form or another. Republican, Democrat, both sides of the same coin.

  19. JohnF
    Libertarians don’t want to run the country, they want individuals to run their own lives. That’s the libertarian principal. They fail as a party because they don’t desperate want to control everything like the Republicrats.

  20. If someone is hearing voices, does that make them insane or does it mean they have an L.R.A.D. pointed at their ear?

    • I hear the supernatural voices every time my dogs bark.
      I have deep and meaningful conversations with my kitchen appliances.

  21. Hows this for a litmus test: If someone is too unstable to own a firearm then they should be institutionalized as they are a danger to society (contrary to the gun control nuts views, there are many ways to kill people besides guns).

    • Like pointing a Long Range Acoustical Device at their skull and driving them crazy with M.K. Ultra type shit until the target becomes so insane they inevitably do something to get themselves killed.

  22. The mentally ill were set free 50 years ago. It was not governor Reagan. It was libertarians and liberals who said the government should not force a person to take medical care they did not want to. You got your utopia.
    Now many dangerous people are running free.
    The mother of Adam Lanza was desperate for help for her son. He killed her and murdered a school.
    The mental health system was broken on purpose. Our country now lives with that action.

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