The gun bill looks to be moving forward, as the filibuster attempted today failed. This is despite the fact that there is no text available for the bill yet. How can a bill move forward without actual text? Without anyone reading it? That’s our wonderful government for you! It’s a farce.
There are stories a-plenty that you can read on your own, so I’ll just concentrate on the issue in this bill that I find to be the most troubling: the medical information shared through background checks.
The current bill, titled the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, follows the same path as New York’s (the least free state in the country!) “NY Safe Act of 2013″, which includes provisions for mental health professionals and MDs to report or flag patients that they deem to be unstable. This has already led to NY State police suspending the gun permits for citizens who are on anxiety medications. The most recent stats I can find (which are from 2011) peg 1 in 5 Americans as currently taking some sort of drug for mental health. So with the passage of this bill, the government can now tell 1/5th of our population (or more, most likely, as those numbers have only gone up) that they are ineligible for gun ownership. Or at least they can if it’s reported by a health practitioner who feels that its their duty to report any mentally irregular patients, if that’s indeed what the provision will be. That’s how NY’s bill is worded, but without any text available for the new bill, who knows what medical information is reported? It may be the entire history and simply having a prescription for a generic antidepressant or anti-anxiety med will flag you as mentally unstable and a “danger to yourself or others.”
Erik Erickson of Red State (which I don’t usually partake of, due to their “GOP establishment” POV) makes an excellent point as well on this – that people who actually need the help won’t get it because they are afraid of their doctor adding them to the mentally unstable registry.
The proposal will allow a doctor to add a patient to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) without ever telling the patient he or she has been added.
There would be no due process requirement. Not all doctors will be able to do it with the same ease, but many will. Knowing a doctor could add him to a federal database as mentally ill without his knowledge could potentially dissuade a patient from going to the doctor in the first place to get help.
Worse, if the doctor does so and makes a mistake, the patient would have to actively work through the system to get himself removed — guilty before being proven innocent. In some states, should a doctor flag you as having mental illness without your knowledge, you may very well see the state come collect your previously purchased guns.
As I wrote earlier regarding Obama’s Executive Power abuse regarding gun control and defining mental health, there is no good that can come of government getting inside your head.