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“Who in the world would have ever thought that the Legislature would intend to allow handguns to be carried in a psychiatric hospital? Anybody who thinks we should have guns there deserves to be in the institution.” – Former State Rep. Steve Wolens in Misfire: How confusion, legal tweaks led Texas to allow guns in state mental hospitals [at]


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  1. Yeah, that “perfect storm” has led to sooooooo many problems in the last 20 years that this has been the law.

  2. Pretty broad spectrum of realizations with this:

    1) with some they seem to forget that getting an LTC mean you are getting your background evaluated and you can expect people not to carry, but

    2) if the end goal is constitutional carry, that screening goes out the window

    3) this is what happens when you start at a mental position of “no guns” and decide where to allow them instead of “guns” and create specific restrictions

    4) I understand that any GFZ is a potential target, but I’m kind of ok with not allowing guns inside a mental hospital. I’d prefer they have free safes available for storage, although it does mean more unholstering. This is a specifically population that has been deemed a threat to themselves or others, and introducing firearms seems….awkward.

    5) if they would loosen restrictions elsewhere, I don’t think people would have a problem with tightening things here. I was working on a flood cleanup in Eastern TX and had to evaluate how close the holes were to schools to avoid the 1000′ zone, including the staging area, which was a school on a Saturday – meaning there were no students, but I could have still been arrested if the gun hadn’t stayed in the car.

    • If you have a concealed handgun permit you’re exempt from the federal gun free zone law.

      I have no problem with requiring people to store their firearms before entering the secured part of the hospital. Secured = armed security, metal detector, and other basic security.

      • California’s legislature is moving now to rescind licensed carriers’ exemption to the gun free school zone infringement.

      • Bunny, I am fine with *any* GFZ which provides armed security and metal detectors, along with free and secure storage. Nobody is going to just throw that around, though, because it is a whole LOT more expensive than a peel-and-stick sign in the window. So, it would only appear when there was actually a reason. Like, inside a fireworks plant, some areas of a refinery, and such. What we have now is a system where people opposed to carry of any kind have affected the lawmaking process to make carry as difficult as they possibly can, for no reason, and without any expense.

        • This is the only logical application of GFZ’s. Thank you for saying this. Everything else is just security theater that only serves to disarm (and not protect) law-abiding citizens.

  3. Meh, not particularly concerned about the safety of defectives. If I have to go into a building full of crazy people, you bet your ass I’m not trusting their keepers to protect me.

    • Depending on the company you keep on a daily basis (family can be problematical), each of us enters a zone full of potentially crazy/insane people as soon as we exit our own front doors. I hardly see the point of lessening our situational awareness, or personal security requirements, just because some government officials have seen fit to condense the problem at certain locations where we may have occasion or requirement to visit.

      Not all mentally ill people are dangerous, but they are all mentally ill, which means they do not react to stimuli the way non-compromised brains generally do. So long as the supposed mental health professionals have not discovered any means whatsoever of “curing” mental illness short of psychotropic drugs reliably administered, don’t ever drop your guard.

      By the way – just read or watch the news every day, especially that from the anti-2A media. You will soon see that every day people that were presumed sane snapped and decided that violence was the solution to whatever problem(s) they have been unable to resolve in their lives. The death or injury of yourself, your family, or other innocents is NOT the solution to their problems.

  4. Katy, Katy… it is the gun owner/carrier who has full responsibility for retention. In any situation.

    And no, most people who are confined to psychiatric hospitals are truly no danger to anyone. And the very few who are should be kept in specific lockdown wards, with appropriate caretakers.

    I suspect that anyone contemplating entering such a facility would have every reason to secure their weapon first, one way or another. A “law” does nothing to deal with the reality of all this, since absent a strip search there is no way to prevent someone from bringing a weapon of some sort in with them. Guns are not the only weapon that should be considered, obviously.

    Quick question: How many incidences can you find documented where someone carried a weapon into such an institution… and how many resulted in injury or death? It is probably impossible to correlate that with the “laws” in any case, but those would be a big indicator of how irrelevant a law against guns really is in such a situation, just as for the post office, the GFZ shopping centers, schools and everywhere else. Guns are the best defensive weapon, most of the time, but the possibility for offensive weapons is almost unlimited – including bare hands.

    • I know of an incident at the Detroit VA where a patient came into the office after a stay in the ward and shot themselves in the head in front of the psychiatrist. But you make a very good point. I encounter knives almost on a daily basis, and last year a crisis center in Pontiac had a staff member stabbed. People that are mentally ill that seek treatment are rarely the ones to commit violence, but some people don’t seek treatment voluntarily. Working for cmh in a clinic in an area that borders a bad neighborhood I hate not carrying, but if I worked in a hospital still I wouldn’t think to carry onto the unit. If I worked in hospital I would prefer to have the option of locking my firearm up in my locker at work, but my state has laws against carrying in hospitals. Oh and most psychiatric hospitals have a gun safe for police to lock guns up prior to coming into patient areas too.

      • Bad stuff can happen anywhere, no matter what… which is pretty much the whole reason to carry all the time, everywhere. There is no way to predict such things.

        The point is that a few anecdotes – either way – cannot demonstrate any need for “laws” or gun free zones. Each person who carries is responsible for that weapon, whatever it is. Rational people will take precautions, such as the lockers or locking their weapon in a car, etc. But they will then have to rely on other people to protect them if that “bad” incident goes down. If that’s good for you, no problem.

        I spent some serious time as a mental health professional during a 30 year career as an APRN. In that time I had to deal with a good number of patients – both voluntary and involuntary – who got out of control. Those of us who were responsible for them had plenty of tools and strategies to deal with it. I didn’t carry then, and didn’t know anyone in the facility who did, and luckily never wished I had a gun. But there are no guarantees, of course. I’m just glad to be out of it all now.

        No guarantees… law or no law. And merely being “mentally ill” does not make a person any more or less a potential bad guy than anything else. But it makes a handy excuse, since anyone can be called “mentally ill” with a preferred criteria. Sort of like the Soviets did…

  5. I worked in a prison. And I now transport people from various institutions. Guns inside any of these places is not a good idea.

    In Utah when they built the venues for the olympic games they installed lockers at the entrances for personal weapons. Seems like a sensible way to handle the potential problems.

    These places usually have metal detectors and other security at the entrance. So I leave my kershaw in the vehicle when I go in.

  6. Utah allows guns in mental hospitals.
    Either the MSM has totally missed the rivers of blood in the wards there, or it’s a non-issue.

    If it’s a non-issue, why is the MSM in Texas devoting so much space to sensationalizing a whole bunch of nothing?

    • TX is the same, the law has not been changed in 20-odd years, there have been no problems, the story should have died a’borning.

  7. Fifty years ago, the treatment for many violent psychotics was a lobotomy. The patients were still delusional afterwards, but meek as a lamb and harmless and most could be sent home. Liberal-Progressives declared that treatment to be inhumane so the treatment of choice became medications. The problem with meds is that the coconuts take their medications, temporarily return to sanity, decide they don’t need the meds anymore & cease taking them and end up creating inhumane mayhem of various sorts.

    Progress isn’t always successful.

    • You’re forgetting the interim between lobotomy and current, forced hospitalization, which went on for several decades or longer, ending in the early ’70s, I think, when the SCOTUS ruled it punishment (as opposed to medical care), which was unconstitutional for people who had not even been accused of a crime, and that closed the institutions and turned the nuts loose on the street, unless family stepped up to care for them.

  8. Long ago I had a part time job as a security guard at a major medical center with a locked mental ward. Only the fully licensed (as LEO) campus police were allowed in. They had to leave their guns, ties, and gun belts with the heavy flashlights and walkie talkies in a locker outside. This was so that if they had to assist in a takedown, another crazy could not grab a weapon in the midst of the fray. It was the same rule in the ER except we security guards could participate. Crazy is crazy. It took five of us plus the doctor to subdue one little crazy lady so that they could get the tranquillizer into her. Admittedly a taser or tranq dart gun would have been a lot more humane but thats too logical for political correctness.

  9. Key word being former.
    Former Rep. Steve Wolens, a Dallas Democrat who opposed concealed carry on principle.

    Now a lawyer. Steve is a partner at the Baron & Budd law firm in Dallas and is married to former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller.

    They reside in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas, where Steve is a member of the Oak Cliff Lions Club and the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce.

    • Ban the liberals from the one place they actually belong, in mental institutions? I can’t get behind that.

  10. I’m cool with folks carrying guns. Concealed anyway. And I worked around crazies many years ago. Fun times when they had “drug holidays”. The bottom line with ME is you should have a choice.

  11. He obviously didn’t hear about Dr Lee Silverman, who stopped a mental hospital shooting with his Seecamp LWS32 that he had carried in defiance of the policy.

    The police officer said that if it weren’t for Dr Silverman, the shooter could have gone down the hallways until he ran out ot ammunition.

    • Notably, Dr.Silverman also kept his job after the shooting.

      That hospital just set precedence for the next employee who is found armed (and not dangerous)…

    • I bet the good doctor wished like hell he had been carrying a bigger gun. And you should include in the story that the patient sitting beside the Doc was shot dead by the bad guy, which was what moved him to act.

  12. So… mental patients aren’t dangerous? Then why does it matter?

    Oh, they ARE dangerous! So… why wouldn’t I want a gun?

    Oh, they’re ONLY dangerous with a gun? Bullshit.

    • I’ve seen a 93 y/o woman beat several nurses, myself included with a bed sheet knotted up with a shoe inside. It didn’t kill anyone, but she wanted to.

  13. I got news for this guy, large parts of the USA are “open air mental wards” based on what i see.

    My best advice is “one guy with a gun can control 100 without.” Words to live by.

  14. This is one of the rarest form of places i can accept an open carry ban but conclead only must be avaibled for any visitor and employer.

  15. Prisons and mental hospitals that have lockdown facilities should have their own security, surveilance and riot dispersal procedures run by experianced guards. A person from outside should be required to surrender firearms and other countraband.
    These inmates have nothing but time on thier hands and observe everything. They know the drill better thah the supervisors. They will exploit anything they can.

    An ex felon that worked out of my old union hiring hall told us about a prison in Ca that got a new hardass female warden. She was tough and the inmates hated her.

    There was a manufactured incident that she and a bunch of guards went to see the result. In a moment of distraction, she was grabbed into a cell(that had been rigged to lock and jam) and raped in front of all the guards, just to show them who really runs the prison. She was transferred out and sent to another prison, where she was a bit milder.

    The point here is they can do anything and will. The gangs have control over their members actions. Getting a weapon away from a visitor would be very easy to do if it allowed outsiders to carry.


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