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Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:57 AM

I'm bipolar (or possibly PTSD), spent 3 weeks in the psych ward -- can/should I buy a gun?

Well, THIS should be interesting - I ask this question because I am amazed, at times disgusted, even at times heartened, by the attitudes and beliefs I see on DU and a few similar forums I frequent, about people with mental health issues post-Newtown.

I may be giving away the farm, or at least influencing the responses, by making this statement -- I have absolutely no DESIRE to own a gun, never have. If I really wanted to drop a chunk of change, it would be on one of three things, an iPhone 5, a Joseph Abboud suit that really caught my eye last week when I was at Nordstrom, or a Specialized Camber Comp Carbon 29 mountain bike I've been drooling over for 2 months at the local bike shop.

I pose the question, though, because I see a lot of uniformed opinion on DU and elsewhere about the legal rights of those with mental illness, and frankly a lot of completely WRONG information being passed around. I have had many of my own questions, and preconceptions, about mental health issues, some of which have been proven wrong as well.

So, this is my situation -- I was diagnosed in August with Bipolar II syndrome. I was re-diagnosed, tentatively, last week as having PTSD and not having bipolar at all. I spent three weeks in September in a "partial hospital program" aka "day hospital" 9-3 weekdays in group therapy and "psych education" about mental health issues, treatment, etc. I currently take the mood stabilizer lamictal daily, I see a psychiatrist monthly right now, and a therapist weekly.

So, that's all I want to give you right now -- diagnosed, spent time in the psych ward, seeing a doctor and therapist, and taking a mood stabilizer.

Can I buy a gun? Should I buy a gun? What are my rights in this area? What should they be?

93 replies, 4960 views

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Reply I'm bipolar (or possibly PTSD), spent 3 weeks in the psych ward -- can/should I buy a gun? (Original post)
Denninmi Dec 2012 OP
kydo Dec 2012 #1
Denninmi Dec 2012 #3
kydo Dec 2012 #40
slackmaster Dec 2012 #2
Denninmi Dec 2012 #4
slackmaster Dec 2012 #7
Jackpine Radical Dec 2012 #9
NightWatcher Dec 2012 #5
Denninmi Dec 2012 #12
HockeyMom Dec 2012 #19
Schema Thing Dec 2012 #6
NutmegYankee Dec 2012 #8
Jackpine Radical Dec 2012 #10
Denninmi Dec 2012 #18
jmg257 Dec 2012 #11
Denninmi Dec 2012 #14
jody Dec 2012 #57
jmg257 Dec 2012 #78
jody Dec 2012 #79
jmg257 Dec 2012 #80
jody Dec 2012 #87
riqster Dec 2012 #13
Denninmi Dec 2012 #16
mythology Dec 2012 #15
jody Dec 2012 #17
Denninmi Dec 2012 #20
Walk away Dec 2012 #77
nolabear Dec 2012 #21
Denninmi Dec 2012 #23
nolabear Dec 2012 #72
riderinthestorm Dec 2012 #24
Denninmi Dec 2012 #27
riderinthestorm Dec 2012 #33
jody Dec 2012 #28
riderinthestorm Dec 2012 #39
jody Dec 2012 #54
riderinthestorm Dec 2012 #67
jody Dec 2012 #68
jody Dec 2012 #26
Resonance_Chamber Dec 2012 #22
Denninmi Dec 2012 #25
jody Dec 2012 #29
Resonance_Chamber Dec 2012 #44
jody Dec 2012 #55
Resonance_Chamber Dec 2012 #63
jody Dec 2012 #64
cali Dec 2012 #35
riqster Dec 2012 #36
Resonance_Chamber Dec 2012 #46
LP2K12 Dec 2012 #41
Resonance_Chamber Dec 2012 #48
LP2K12 Dec 2012 #49
Resonance_Chamber Dec 2012 #62
LP2K12 Dec 2012 #69
HereSince1628 Dec 2012 #30
rrneck Dec 2012 #31
cali Dec 2012 #32
Marrah_G Dec 2012 #34
cali Dec 2012 #37
backscatter712 Dec 2012 #38
leftyladyfrommo Dec 2012 #42
easttexaslefty Dec 2012 #43
coalition_unwilling Dec 2012 #45
jody Dec 2012 #59
coalition_unwilling Dec 2012 #60
jody Dec 2012 #61
Voice for Peace Dec 2012 #47
Odin2005 Dec 2012 #50
easttexaslefty Dec 2012 #51
TheCowsCameHome Dec 2012 #52
no_hypocrisy Dec 2012 #53
Barack_America Dec 2012 #56
NCTraveler Dec 2012 #58
OneMoreDemocrat Dec 2012 #65
jp76 Dec 2012 #66
Glaug-Eldare Dec 2012 #70
Drew Richards Dec 2012 #71
lumberjack_jeff Dec 2012 #73
Fire Walk With Me Dec 2012 #74
WilmywoodNCparalegal Dec 2012 #75
PoliticAverse Dec 2012 #76
HereSince1628 Dec 2012 #81
HockeyMom Dec 2012 #82
HereSince1628 Dec 2012 #83
HockeyMom Dec 2012 #89
Kalidurga Dec 2012 #84
X_Digger Dec 2012 #85
11 Bravo Dec 2012 #86
madinmaryland Dec 2012 #88
Th1onein Dec 2012 #90
Denninmi Dec 2012 #91
Fire Walk With Me Dec 2012 #92
Denninmi Dec 2012 #93

Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:01 AM

1. yeah and you should buy a bushmaster with a huge clip

NOT! sorry couldn't resist.

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Response to kydo (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:03 AM

3. Well, you know ...

... If I really DID want a weapon, I'm thinking either RPGL or tactical nuclear weapon, because, you know, why buy a Yugo if you can buy a Mercedes?

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Response to Denninmi (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:08 PM

40. thats so true

but I just wanted to be cool and buy what everyone else has

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:01 AM

2. Depends on state law. In California if you were kept in for more than 72 hours, you are ineligible

 

...to buy a gun for five years.

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:04 AM

4. Thanks for participating.

Define "kept"

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Response to Denninmi (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:07 AM

7. Retained in the facility against one's will.

 

IOW you asked to be let out, and they wouldn't release you.

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Response to Denninmi (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:08 AM

9. Involuntarily detained on a mental health hold.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:06 AM

5. Why do you NEED a gun?

In Florida and in Georgia the paperwork asks "have you have been adjudicated as mentally ill" or have you been committed to a mental health facility voluntarily or involuntarily"?

It sounds like you would not be able to apply for a state gun permit, but you might fudge your way through a long gun application at WalMart.

It doesnt sound like you need to have one around if you have depression or bipolar issues.

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Response to NightWatcher (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:20 AM

12. Tacky wall decor?

Another useless piece of crap in my storage closet?

Let it rust so I can scrape that off and use the rust to treat the iron chlorosis problem on my blueberry bushes?

To reiterate, I don't want a gun, and I certainly don't need one, I live in one of the safest communities imaginable.

It's a hypothetical, that's all. Thanks.

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Response to NightWatcher (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:35 AM

19. I thought it is Involuntarily Committed

That would fit into the adjudicated category. A person would not need that to seek their own treatment. I always thought that was the difference in Florida.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:06 AM

6. Probably not. But if...



if you are allowed to buy a gun, you should only have access to a limited, very controlled and inventoried number of bullets, and you should not have access to a magazine that holds over 5 rounds.


Like everyone.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:07 AM

8. Generally, Bipolar doesn't mean you are mentally incompetent.

You still know right from wrong which is why every gun owner with Bipolar (and I know quite a few) are allowed to keep them.

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:10 AM

10. Bipolar I can come with psychotic features.

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:29 AM

18. Thank you for that.

Not an attitude that seems to be too prevalent. A lot of people automatically seem to assume ANY diagnosis of bipolar or similar mental illness means automatic incompetence and a loss of rights.

And yes, I know right from wrong. Perhaps more so than I did prior to this entire fiasco, both personal and national, because it has crystallized my position on certain issues.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:14 AM

11. The way things are now, with the right to arms being considered a constitutionally protected right,

your access to arms should be decided by a jury of professionals in the mental health field.

They should have the insight to determine if you should be considered an increased risk to others.

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Response to jmg257 (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:23 AM

14. There is no mechanism in place for that type of system.

About the only input, I know of, from mental health professionals comes either through the formal probate process of guardianship or involuntary commitment, or in the very rare cases a mental health professional directly reports someone for inclusion on the NICS database, at the risk of getting into trouble for violating HIPPA.

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Response to jmg257 (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:43 PM

57. Not "being considered" SCOTUS acknowledge that all rights pre-exist our Constitution and do not

 

depend upon it.

Suggest you read UNITED STATES v. CRUIKSHANK ET AL. 92 U.S. 542 (1875)

Majority and minority cited that case in DC v Heller (2008)

In Heller both sides cited PA(1776) & VT(1777) constitutions that declared rights are "natural, inherent, inalienable/unalienable" and "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state"

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Response to jody (Reply #57)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:40 PM

78. I'll pass, thanks. I understand the notion of rights secured by the Constitution just fine.

Especially the right to keep and bear arms. But not everyone considers them the same way...acknowledge the SCOTUS sure, but silly to think their opinion as being everyone elses.

Anyway, like most rights secured by the Constitution, it usually takes due process to suspend or restrict them for individuals...suggested a similiar tack be used for mental health issues.

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Response to jmg257 (Reply #78)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:49 PM

79. I'm content with you recognizing what SCOTUS says is the law & you obey it or suffer the punishment.

 

As regards the preexisting individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense, forty-four states have constitutional guarantees on the right to keep and bear arms, and there's a snow-ball's chance in hell those 44 states will ever change their respective constitutions and disavow the federal governments obligation to protect it -- then I'm satisfied.

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Response to jody (Reply #79)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:52 PM

80. Fine, but what does all that have to do with the OP? What should he/she be able to do re: arms? nt

BTW - no matter how strongly worded in various constitutions, the restrictions won't be regarded when in conflict with the decided sense of We the people, or our elected representatives. Just takes enough to believe the same thing.

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Response to jmg257 (Reply #80)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:23 PM

87. Perhaps but CO & Wa nullified federal marijuana law. I begin to understand arguments from both sides

 

regarding "The Seventeenth Amendment (Amendment XVII) to the United States Constitution established direct election of United States Senators by popular vote. The amendment supersedes Article I, § 3, Clauses 1 and 2 of the Constitution, under which senators were elected by state legislatures."

If Senators were still elected by state legislatures, IMO they would be more responsive to the disparate constituencies for such diverse state as CA with 37+ million and WY with 500+ thousand.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:22 AM

13. In Ohio, you could legally do so.

If you are competent and have not committed a proscribed offense, you can own any legal weapon.

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Response to riqster (Reply #13)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:24 AM

16. Same in Michigan, and with the federal instant background check.

As long as someone isn't legally incapacitated or involuntarily committed, they are free to purchase.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:23 AM

15. I think with time it's okay to get a gun under those circumstances

I think there should be a significant period of time after a hospitalization and there should be a psychological review (although this would be a good idea in general).

As for should somebody under similar circumstances get a gun, I think that's probably generally a bad idea. Even if it makes somebody only slightly more likely to kill either others or themselves, that's still something the person has to consider the potential cost of. As somebody who participates in a martial art and who has a bit of a temper (coupled with being bigger and stronger than most people who are in it) I won't spar with people who I actively dislike or if I've had an anger trigger point tripped just because I don't want to risk me even subconsciously not stopping a kick in time. I don't believe I'd injure anybody intentionally, but I think the risk of even just not stopping a kick before it makes contact isn't worth it.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:24 AM

17. Thanks excellent question and

 

"uniformed opinion on DU . . . WRONG information" and ignorant information by Democrats derails debate about gun-control and redefines it as "gun-ban".

Bans of all firearms are not possible and the renewed AWB is nothing more than a feel good proposal.

FBI reports rifles are used in 2.6% of murders, less than "Hands, fists, feet, etc." at 5.7% and "Knives or cutting instruments" at 13.3%.

People who commit mass murder are apparently different than those who commit traditional violent crime.

Although there are statements that mass-murderers have mental-health issues, there does not appear to be a consensus among experts as to what those issues and triggers might be.

See http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022070832

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Response to jody (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:36 AM

20. Well, I don't want to give away the farm, so to speak, but my opinion on gun control is this:

The NRA types view any attempt at gun control as a power grab to do God-knows-what to them -- today, their guns are seized, a week from Tuesday it's off to the UN/FEMA camps with them. That's highly irrational.

Some very staunch gun-control advocates want them all banned. Not going to happen in the real world.

I think the best we can do is to ban the most destructive types, assault weapons, etc., and tightly regulate the remaining ones. I don't see any reason this should threaten anyone's right to hunt, to shoot for recreation, or even for personal protection WHERE appropriate. Although honestly, I think the personal protection thing is highly overrated. I have a big, noisy dog who goes ballistic when he hears a noise outside at night. Works for me, anything beyond that is just unnecessary. And, I love the scenario the far-right puts forth -- gun in home keeps you safe when the bad guys threaten -- fine, except what about that five minute period between the break in and the time you get the gun safe open, retrieve the weapon and the ammo and load it? Because if you're responsible, the weapons are locked away at all times except them shooting, and if you're REALLY responsible, the ammo is locked away separately.

Big noisy dogs work in about 2 seconds.

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Response to Denninmi (Reply #20)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:27 PM

77. I understand that you are currently seeking treatment for the problems you described in the OP but..

you seem to be thoroughly sane, logical and well adjusted. I'd rather have you and your big dog as my neighbor than someone with a house full of guns any day!

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:36 AM

21. I think it would be a good idea to stop starting these threads on DU.

Not because you don't have a right to. Not because there's anything wrong about it or with you for doing it. But this is a place where you (meaning all of us) take random hits from people who are separated from the effects they have on you and imo it's not a good thing to keep experiencing. If you were in a room with people who were invested in having a meaningful and effective dialogue with you it might be healing for you and them, but there is too much scattershot opinion here without a regulator.

PTSD does not need more reinforcement.

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Response to nolabear (Reply #21)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:42 AM

23. Thanks, Nolabear.

I've been milling this question around a while, a discussion thread on another website's political discussion forum prompted me to just get it out of my system. I'm just kind of sick of people assuming or overtly telling me I have restricted or no civil rights in various areas, when that is completely untrue. So, I kinda picked the biggest hornet's nest of all to poke the stick at.

I understand what you are saying, but honestly, I'm tougher than people give me credit for, and the fiasco a week or so ago proved that, even to myself.

Thanks for your concern, I'm really OK. When I've had enough of this thread, I'll either pull the plug on it, or just make my final statement and walk away.

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Response to Denninmi (Reply #23)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 03:29 PM

72. Okay. I respect that.

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Response to nolabear (Reply #21)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:46 AM

24. The ignorance on display in Meta was that it was only one poster who held ignorant views

on the mentally ill.

You could say it over and over and over that there were a SLEW of DUers who were callously cruel in the way they blithely smeared an entire group because of the actions of one Adam Lanza (who we don't even know was mentally ill or even if he was on meds).

But perhaps this thread will make some of those DUers think twice (who posted a bunch of posts that lumped in ALL mentally ill persons with Adam Lanza as being unfit for owning a firearm).

Denninmi is making it personal. I tried to do the same on his behalf in Meta and was disgusted that many (most?) DUers felt the issue was simply one troll (now TSd) and that its now "over". Its not one person. Its a common view here and in real life. And it needs airing. And it needs discussion.

If Denninmi feels strong enough to bring it on. I will stand behind him.





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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #24)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:56 AM

27. Taking it personally? Perish the thought.

Would I do that?

Honestly, I think most members of DU, as well as most people in society in general, are actually pretty open-minded, but need more accurate information about mental health issues.

Yes, I do take it personally, because it does hurt to be told that I am somehow "less than equal". And I have gotten that attitude not only from a few members of the general public, but actually, I got that from a couple of mental health professionals I met during this trip down the rabbit hole. Which I found discouraging, to be treated as if I were stupid or a child incapable of making an informed decision about issues in my own life by people I was essentially paying, either directly or through my insurance premiums, to act as advocates on my behalf.

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Response to Denninmi (Reply #27)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:00 PM

33. Sometimes it only takes one person to start the ball rolling on change....

Stay strong. Be well.




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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #24)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:57 AM

28. riderinthestorm Ignorance is a curable disease, stupidity is a terminal illness. Those who insult and

 

vilify anyone with any mental-health problem are beyond stupid.

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Response to jody (Reply #28)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:08 PM

39. Agreed. I don't think people thought they were insulting. A "national database" of mentally ill

was seriously proposed by more than a few long-time, high-post count DUers - straight from the NRA playbook.

DUers saying the mentally ill "can't be trusted". Or that only the "mentally ill" could be mass shooters. Anyone on meds from SSRIs (or anything else) was unfit to participate in a civil society that included the 2A constitutional right to arms.

I can't tell you how many posts I read - hundreds, thousands maybe - that Adam Lanza "must" be mentally ill, there could be "no other explanation". It was so common and completely disheartening.

The people who insulted and vilified were probably in the single digits - maybe it was even one person (now TSd).

The ignorant majority however were worse, and overwhelming.

I hope Denninmi can help change some folks' minds here. Fingers crossed.

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #39)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:32 PM

54. Not just NRA, Mayor Menino of Boston and Mayor Bloomberg of New York City, cochairmen of Mayors

 

Against Illegal Guns, along with 750 other Mayors want Obama to create a central data base that will include mental-health data on people.

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Response to jody (Reply #54)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 01:21 PM

67. Yes, a continuation of "Adam Lanza MUST have been mentally ill!!!11111" thinking

Its rampant everwhere (and just as ignorant when spouted by mayors as DUers).

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #67)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 01:31 PM

68. Emanuel "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." Repubs lost with Poindexter's IAO and now

 

Dems are going to win.



Corporatists finance both parties and orchestrate bipartisan support for new laws that move us inexorably toward a corporate state.

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Response to nolabear (Reply #21)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:54 AM

26. nolabear good analysis. Laughable that people who call themselves progressive are so intolerant. nt

 

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:37 AM

22. No and No

 

Even being treated the meds will need to be changed or adjusted from time to time and you should be no where near a gun. Same thing if you are suffering from PTSD, keep away from the guns. Had a room mate who has PTSD and certain noise would send him back and thankfully he did not have access to firearms.

You need to keep away from all firearms.

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Response to Resonance_Chamber (Reply #22)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:50 AM

25. Because?

I'm not responsible? I "can't handle it"? I "could snap at any time?"

What about the 1000 other things in the modern American home that can be used as a weapon? Or to harm one's self -- from medications to household cleaners and other chemicals to kitchen knives and pots and pans?

Should I give up my chef's knives and pour the rest of the gallon of Prestone antifreeze in my garage down the drain?

Finally, this, if I'm being treated and still "need to keep away from all firearms" -- what about all of the probably MILLIONS of un-diagnosed people out there who have mental health issues but are around firearms?

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Response to Denninmi (Reply #25)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:58 AM

29. Denninmi see #28. nt

 

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Response to Denninmi (Reply #25)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:13 PM

44. Ok then get a gun, I really don't care

 

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Response to Resonance_Chamber (Reply #44)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:34 PM

55. "I really don't care" Then why are you here? nt

 

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Response to jody (Reply #55)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 01:01 PM

63. Got nothing else better to do right now. Any other questions?

 

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Response to Resonance_Chamber (Reply #63)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 01:06 PM

64. That's all goodbye nt

 

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Response to Resonance_Chamber (Reply #22)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:02 PM

35. Bullshit. You can't possibly make this judgment. You don't have nearly enough info

to do so. I know people on medication with diagnoses of bi-polar who own guns and hunt. It depends on so many factors and you and I are not privy to any of that.

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Response to Resonance_Chamber (Reply #22)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:03 PM

36. What a load of absolutist dung

I have heart disease, am a stroke survivor, and deal with a host of other health issues, and if one wished to apply such "logic" as yours, one could say that my heart could fail at any moment: why then, bar me from owning a gun, because if my heart gave out at the exact moment I was pulling the trigger, the shot could go wild, blahblahblah....

Not all illnesses, even serious ones, are disqualifiers for gun ownership. Leave such things to the professionals.

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Response to riqster (Reply #36)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:15 PM

46. yes you are slinging BS, if you are a commerical pilot on anti-depressents you don't fly air planes

 

but you want to give people access to guns who take anti psychotics.

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Response to Resonance_Chamber (Reply #22)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:09 PM

41. Well...

Even being treated the meds will need to be changed or adjusted from time to time and you should be no where near a gun.


People who are medicated to treat seizures and epilepsy are allowed to drive after being cleared by a health professional. Although these meds have to be adjusted from time to time and usually don't control seizures 100%.

Basically, when I drive I'm a ticking time bomb. Scary to think, but it's true...

Not comparing a car to a firearm. I'm comparing the medical decision based on what COULD happen.

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Response to LP2K12 (Reply #41)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:18 PM

48. The difference is you know you have seizures and take precautions

 

those with PTSD or other mental illness do not or they fall into a place where they lose all sense of reality.

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Response to Resonance_Chamber (Reply #48)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:21 PM

49. No.

As it stands in this thread the OP was the person posing the question and the OP know's about their condition and is taking precautions & seeking treatment.

Ticking time bomb? Yes, just like me.

Should it be treated differently? No.

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Response to LP2K12 (Reply #49)


Response to Resonance_Chamber (Reply #62)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 02:10 PM

69. Again...

I don't suffer from any mental illness. I suffer from seizures. I was making a comparison between the two and being to operate something that could harm oneself and others.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:59 AM

30. It's cheaper to borrow one from a friend or family member

As we borderlines always say

...If you want to go swimming with sharks be sure to cut yourself first...

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:59 AM

31. It doesn't matter what I think.

It matters what the court thinks. As I recall, you have to be adjudicated mentally incompetent to lose your right to own a gun. But that could vary from state to state. In California they could "5150" you.

The concept of mental health is fungible. That makes it difficult to adjudicate. It also creates an opportunity for political oppression.

Psychiatry possesses an inherent capacity for abuse that is greater than in other areas of medicine.:65 The diagnosis of mental disease can give the state license to detain persons against their will and insist upon therapy both in the interest of the detainee and in the broader interests of society.:65 In addition, receiving a psychiatric diagnosis can in itself be regarded as oppressive. In a monolithic state, psychiatry can be used to bypass standard legal procedures for establishing guilt or innocence and allow political incarceration without the ordinary odium attaching to such political trials.


Now, that was the Soviet Union, one of the most repressive dictatorships in one of the most barbaric eras in human history, so the concept of political oppression through psychiatry is absurd, right? Thomas Eagleton ran into some difficulty because of allegations regarding his mental health. Running against a guy named Richard Nixon. Remember Daniel Ellsburg?

In August 1971, Krogh and Young met with G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt in a basement office in the Old Executive Office Building. Hunt and Liddy recommended a "covert operation" to get a "mother lode" of information about Ellsberg's mental state in order to discredit him. Krogh and Young sent a memo to Ehrlichman seeking his approval for a "covert operation be undertaken to examine all of the medical files still held by Ellsberg’s psychiatrist." Ehrlichman approved under the condition that it be "done under your assurance that it is not traceable."


Given the realities of the George W. Bush administration and the even more disquieting reality that the Republican Party ran an outright fascist for president in the last election, the importance of properly adjudicating the rights of people in a court of law that depends on proper representation and the presentation of evidence to a judge should be obvious.

So, to answer your question whether or not you should be able to own a gun I would say I don't have a clue. Nor should I. It's none of my business. I think a court of law should make it my business. If you're having trouble, I would that you had a proper support network including friends, family, a functioning health care system and a culture that values something more than how much money it can make off you.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:00 PM

32. We can't answer that question here and you should know that so

why pose it?

No one here knows you or your history. I know someone who's bipolar and a hunter. I trust him completely with his guns. In the 20+ years that I've known him, he's never acted in a manner that would cause me concern.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:00 PM

34. No, you should not

But I think you probably know you shouldn't own one.

Glad to know you are in treatment, I know it can be a night and day difference with bi-polar. I hope you are doing well

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #34)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:03 PM

37. Marrah, you don't have the information neccessary to make such a judgment

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:07 PM

38. The question is whether mental illness by itself is the criteria to use to make this determination.

And I would argue that the answer is no.

Most mentally ill people are not violent.

A small percentage of them are, but a small percentage of "normal people" commit acts of violence too.

I'd say the only person who could answer that question for you in particular is your doctor or therapist - he or she knows if your illness is under control, or whether you're behaving in a way that could indicate you'd be a risk.

So I'm against the one-size-fits-all "solution" of saying "If you've ever been mentally ill, you should be banned from owning guns forever, and you should be on a sex-offender list!"

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:09 PM

42. Why would you even want to buy a gun?

I don't want a gun in my house. And I would feel a lot better if my neighbors didn't have guns either.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:10 PM

43. In the spirit of full disclosure...

Denninmi. My opinion on this is influenced deeply from my experiences. My son's suicide 5 years ago. My ensuing struggles with depression, anxiety and PTSD. ( I found him). My suicide attempts (3) because of ALL of the above. My involuntary commitment because of the last and most serious attempt.
If I had access to a gun, I would be dead.
All three times, were basically, impulsive. I am always depressed, but at times (more so in the first 3 years after his death) I am in the pit of despair. The first time I had access to my meds, to several handfuls of ambien, Klonapin & anti-depressants. I woke up 24 hours later. Second time, I tried to passively hang myself. It hurt and I was scared, so I chickened out. Again, I was kept my secret. The third time, many many more pills. Every pill I could get my hands on, washed down with A LOT of achoyl. I was found, unconscious 11 or so hours later, transported by ambulance, stomach pumped, charcoal and a nice stay in the state mental health facility (in Texas,oy)
That was 3 & 1/2 years ago.
I will never have access to a gun. I do not "need" a gun. Not because I would ever hurt a soul. Because I could hurt me. Most likely if a could have "easily" put my hands on a gun I would be dead now.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:13 PM

45. Your diagnosis is something of a red herring, I think, insofar as anyone who wants

 

to own a gun should have to pass first a rigorous licensing regimen (perhaps with a mental health component as part), irrespective of their mental health or lack thereof. We expect citizens who want to drive to pass a licensing process and firearms possession should be no different FOR EVERYONE

Should you own a gun right now? Hell no! The actuarial science is absolutely unequivocal that you have 4.5x the likelihood of being injured or killed if you own a firearm, mental health or lack thereof notwithstanding.

Can you own a gun? I'll defer to the policy experts on that, but I'm guessing you currently 'can' own a gun.

On edit: it if doesn't sound too tacky, I hope you 'get well soon' (or whatever the equivalent sentiment is for PTSD\bi-polar). And thanks for this thread - it is a very good question you raise.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #45)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:47 PM

59. Anyone wanting to vote must "pass first a rigorous licensing regimen (perhaps with a mental health

 

component)

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Response to jody (Reply #59)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:50 PM

60. Hmm, after seeing some of the commentary on Yahoo's boards and other

 

Last edited Thu Dec 27, 2012, 04:46 PM - Edit history (1)

general-purpose discussion boards, I'm not totally opposed to that

On a serious note, the amount of sheer ignorance and outright delusional thinking out there is absolutely mind-bending.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #60)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:55 PM

61. Please add "sheer ignorance and outright delusional thinking right here on DU". nt

 

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:17 PM

47. A bigger concern than a diagnosis like yours

is people who may or may not have such challenges
but who also are abusers of alcohol.

I know many high-powered, competent people who
are maintenance alcoholics. They tend to be people
who seem like great folks under the best conditions,
but are prone to intense angry outbursts with very
little warning or provocation. Like a pressure cooker
exploding.

I'm sure they all have severe mental health issues but
don't have the diagnoses or associated stigma. They
tend to have humongous arrogant egos. They are
the most "successful" (financially, socially, professionally)
people I've known.

These are some of the people who shouldn't have a gun
on hand, ever, but what kind of a test can you give? There isn't
one.

I also think anybody can crack at any time. Especially
those who seem to be the most solid. I've seen the best
people crack up. It's unnaturally difficult for people to fake
so-called normalcy, for a long long time, without cracking.

There have been times in my life I was glad I didn't
have a gun. I don't know if I would ever have shot anyone
for real -- but it sure felt at times like it would have been
easy, in the heat and craziness of the moment. I know
that even the best people can have poor judgement
in the heat of a moment.



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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:22 PM

50. People confuse mental illness with psychosis.

Psychotic disorders like Schizophrenia are mental illnesses, but mot mental illnesses are not psychoses.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:23 PM

51. I feel compelled to add this.

I belong to an online support group of parents who have a child to suicide. Suicide by gun is almost always lethal. So many of the babies (8, yes 8 - 55) died by gswh. So so many.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:27 PM

52. Sure. Just don't by any ammo.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:29 PM

53. I have a conflict.

I'd say yes if you were being actively treated and monitored. But I'd say no if you independently refused treatment or went off it against medical advice. Because the law does not allow weapons to be confisgated during temporary or intermittent mental and/or emotional meltdowns, you'd have access to them.

I'm remembering an individual who loved rifles and pistols since he was a child. He was also a Vietnam Vet with PSTD and was a very nasty chronic alcoholic. He once pointed a loaded rifle at his nephew when he was drunk and angry. Legally he was allowed to own guns but he shouldn't have had access to any. We also figured that he'd find a way to get at least one illegal weapon if his were taken away from him.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:36 PM

56. If your psychiatrist says it's okay.

I'd defer to your psychiatrist, who knows how well your symptoms have been controlled.

I'd treat this issue similarly to that of seizures and driving; in most states, having had a grand-mal seizure prevents one from driving for a period of 6-12 months. Doctors are required (in some states) to inform licensing agencies of the seizure, and the patient's license is suspended until such time as a doctor submits paperwork that a patient's seizures have been brought under control and the patient has remained seizure-free for a certain amount of time. I think psychiatrists could act in the same regard when it comes to mental illness and firearms.

Mental illness is a disease as epilepsy is a disease, and should be treated similarly, IMO.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:45 PM

58. I wouldn't if I were you.

That takes care of the "should you". I am not educated enough with these issues to form an opinion on the rest. I am reading things posted to become better informed.


I am very glad you were able to find help and are personally working to understand the problem. Best of luck to you. I have found that many of us who have had certain difficulties in life and have dealt with them head on end up have a greater appreciation and understanding of life. Take care.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 01:08 PM

65. Wow, great post...

 

Thank you for bringing it up for discussion, as I think it's an extremely important issue we should be discussing.

My opinion is just my own opinion and is neither right or wrong and is not meant as a final word, it's just an opinion and open to informed criticism.

I think what should need to happen if you wanted to purchase a firearm would be a review with your doctor(s) and therapist to determine if you would show any tendency toward violence, and to weigh your desire to seek treatment (which obviously you have and are). If you are not deemed a threat to yourself or anyone else, then you should be allowed to buy whatever you want that's legal to own for anyone else. AND, everyone else should also have to take a 'mental health exam' for lack of a better term to obtain a firearm...the only difference in your case is the already existing diagnosis.

If a diagnosis of Schizophrenia is involved, wherein it's difficult for a person to tell the difference between reality and fantasy, I think the standard should be much higher and possibly should disqualify someone from owning a weapon.


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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 01:12 PM

66. Probably should not.

I can't speak to "can", but I think if you're concerned enough to ask the "should" part of the question, the answer is probably no. It's a decision you, and those with similar circumstances, should speak to their doctor and tharapist about. No blanket answer is going to address the individual.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 02:59 PM

70. Every case is different, every patient is an individual.

Last edited Thu Dec 27, 2012, 04:43 PM - Edit history (1)

Whether you want to own a gun is up to you, and whether you should be able to own a gun legally should be up to you and your doctor, or an appointed psychiatric professional.

There's no established procedure to do it today, but what I'd like to see is a way for a psychiatric doctor to request that a judge or panel place a disqualifying order on a patient who is a demonstrable danger to public safety. This could be done by mutual consent in a voluntary treatment program, or at the request of police after the arrest of a person who's suspected of having a dangerous mental illness, or whenever there's reason to believe that a person is unfit for gun ownership by reason of mental illness. There would be an expedited hearing where the patient and psychiatric doctor would have the opportunity to present evidence for or against disqualification, and the court would make their decision on that basis. (The NICS law must be amended to allow such disqualifications to be placed in and removed from the database.) After a year (or whatever period the legislature picks), the patient would have the opportunity to move that the disqualification be removed, and hold a hearing to present evidence in his own favor. Again, the court would judge based on the evidence.

Seems to me that this is a scheme that would guarantee due process, as well as provide for the disqualification of unfit people not currently covered by the NICS prohibitions.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 03:06 PM

71. Actually my dear Denninmi the real question is...


Have you been diagnosed and documented that due to your Bipolar II that you exhibit acute signs of manic depression "resulting" in you being determined by a qualified psychiatrist to be a danger to yourself or to others...

that is the question...

If the answer is no and you were voluntarily commited by yourself.

I see no reason why, if you so desire, that you cannot or should not buy a gun if that is your wish. But I think the Iphone 5 with a full Itunes subscription would serve you better

On the other hand, if you were forcibly commited AND diagnosed with acute Mania with paranoid tendencies resulting in a diagnosis that you are a danger to yourself or to others there may be safe guards in place, depending on the state you live in, that actually denies you the right to purchase a "hand gun" due to the background check...until such time as you are determined to be not a danger to yourself or society again, by a qualified psychiatrist.

Shotguns and rifles on the other hand are still ok if I remember the law correctly...

Go for the iphone and itunes

but i'll take you trap shooting anytime you desire

Love drew

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 04:37 PM

73. If a friend with PTSD or depression were to ask me that question, my suggestion would be "no".

And the reason is because I care about the wellbeing of that friend.

But YMMV.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 04:47 PM

74. The NRA say more guns = good, and we certainly have to keep up with the Jonses

 

so I'd say ten or twelve automatic assault weapons would be about right.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:15 PM

75. I am ADHD

I have way too many guns and can't decide which one to use, but I also forgot where I put them.. .oh, look at the cute kitty! Ok, so we were talking about clouds, weren't we?

Sorry, bad humor.

To the original question, I think what you did was very brave - that is, to see a professional and address your mood disorder by therapy, medication, counseling, etc.

I don't think Bipolar II is the kind of diagnosis that warrants prohibiting you from owning weapons. I do think that someone who has been involuntarily committed, who is a danger to him/herself and/or others, who has a diagnosis but who is not seeking treatment is the kind of person who should be monitored closely - at best - or precluded - at worst - from owning firearms.

BTW, I have no guns nor do I desire to own/shoot them, except for the virtual world of Call of Duty.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:52 PM

81. A vet with PTSD (I think went to the clinic I did) arrested today for shooting police officer

wife in the face with her service weapon when she came off break during her shift on Christmas Eve.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:00 PM

82. Something nobody is discussing here

and that is stolen guns. I am not talking about breaking into a stranger's home or getting an illegal gun on the street, but stolen from, or even given permission to USE, a family member's gun.

I do not know your family situation, but suppose you were still living at home and your parents had guns. Would they let you use theirs? Would they take and even encourage you to use THEIR guns? Would the gun owner, like a Nancy Lanza, think you as their family member (spouse, child, brother, sister, etc.) should have that right just as their own flesh and blood?

Just my experience, and I do have a Bi-Polar daughter, is that gun owners DO push their family members to use their guns. In lenient states, like Florida, a family member can just purchase the gun and give it to their spouse, son, etc., with no questions asked by the State. Big problem right there. Honor system? Right.

I think if you are even ASKING the question of IF you should own a gun, then you probably SHOULDN'T. I would say that even without your having sought mental health help. I applaud the fact though that you are giving it very serious thought, and not just "it's my RIGHT." Thank you for that.

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Response to HockeyMom (Reply #82)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:05 PM

83. See reply #81 n/t

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Response to HereSince1628 (Reply #83)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:39 PM

89. Where I used to work

an employee had a retraining order against her estranged husband. She very afraid of him and bought a gun which she kept in her car at work. Unfortunately, she forgot that her husband still had a key to her car. He went to her job to stalk her, opened her car, and found her gun. He shot her with her own gun as she was coming out of work.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:10 PM

84. No

I don't think anyone should own a gun. Including LEOs. Guns aren't necessary. It is tragic what has happened in this country in regards to guns. The second amendment imnsho has been grossly misinterpreted. People that are paranoid about the government taking their guns are imnsho more mentally ill than someone with PTSD yet they are often able to legally own guns. Srsly if the government wants to seize guns there isn't much an individual citizen can do about that. Guns should only be owned by people that are in their states National Guard. I am somewhat torn about LEOs not having guns as they truly would be out on the streets where only criminals have guns if guns were banned. But, most officers say they have never once fired their guns so that is something to consider.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:13 PM

85. If you have not been adjudicated a danger to yourself or others, it is your right.

Various states may have more restrictive interpretations of the federal standard (I believe CA does, iirc) but generally, per federal guidelines, you must be involuntarily committed by a judicial proceeding to meet the burden of due process before your right to purchase a firearm can be abridged.

Assuming you are not disqualified, I cannot make the case that you should not have that choice. I might recommend you not, but only after talking at length, and it would just be my opinion. I wouldn't try to legislate my opinion.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:21 PM

86. Can you? Yes. Should you? Unlike virtually everyone else at DU, I alone lack ...

the wisdom and the expertise to make that call.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:32 PM

88. Even though I may have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, I am still in no position to evaluate you

and your condition on an internet message board and would never consider doing so. I would suggest consulting your doctor or professional therapist.

I wish you the best of luck with your battles.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:56 PM

90. I don't know what your rights are, but no, you shouldn't buy a gun.

And you probably shouldn't be allowed to buy a gun.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:24 AM

91. OK, I wanted to wrap this up.

1) RELAX. THIS WAS JUST A HYPOTHETICAL. I'm NOT buying a gun. Now or Ever.

2) Thanks to everyone for your participation.

3) RELAX. THIS WAS JUST A HYPOTHETICAL. I'm NOT buying a gun.

4) I find it heartening that I wasn't attacked by some far right type who said "lock them all up". I guess they all got tombstoned.

5) RELAX. THIS WAS JUST A HYPOTHETICAL. I'm NOT buying a gun.

6) I find it encouraging that most people are willing to support the right of an unpopular class to engage in unpopular behavior as long as said behavior is legally protected. I see this as analogous to defending the right to freedom of speech and expression even if you find said speech or expression distasteful.

And finally,

7) RELAX. THIS WAS JUST A HYPOTHETICAL. I'm not buying a gun.

Thanks.

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Response to Denninmi (Reply #91)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:30 AM

92. Peace Denninmi :)

 

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Response to Fire Walk With Me (Reply #92)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:35 AM

93. Thanks, same to you.

I'm good as long as some reject from Free Republic isn't trying to get me locked away for life for the crime of having a psychiatric diagnosis.

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