Firearms ownership and mental health

Gun Owners of America (GOA) has issued an alert about proposals to force medical and mental health practitioners to report all gun owners with mental health issues, no matter how minor, to the authorities.  Here’s an excerpt.

Secretary Kathleen “ObamaCare” Sebelius – and her Department of Health and Human Services – has promulgated regulations which would, by executive fiat, waive all federal privacy laws and encourage you doctor to report you to the FBI.

Understand a couple of things:  First, the standard which your doctor would use to turn you in is embodied in Clinton-era ATF language and in the anti-gun Veterans Disarmament Act of 2007. Specifically, you doctor would “drop a dime” on you if he suspected you were even a slight “danger to yourself of others” or were “unable to manage your financial affairs.”

So if they say you can’t balance your checkbook, then you lose your constitutional rights.

But there’s another problem:  The day these regulations become law, lawyers will be lining up to sue “deep-pocket” psychiatrists for every case where they failed to turn in a patient to NICS – if the patient subsequently engages in a horrific act.

The bottom line?  Any psychiatrist who failed to report all of his patients to the NICS system risks losing everything if any of them engages in harmful conduct.  Soon the rule of thumb will be: See a shrink; lose your guns.

And the regulations will apply to private, as well as government-employed psychiatrists.

. . .

This is where the gun haters want to push their agenda.  And this is one reason why background checks are so dangerous – because they give government bureaucrats the opportunity to deny law-abiding people their constitutionally-protected rights.

But the good news is this:  The HHS rulemaking is still at an early stage, and HHS is (no doubt reluctantly) taking the views of the general public.

ACTION: Go to the Federal Register – at – and respond to the regs entitled “HIPAA Privacy Rule and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).”

Let the HHS know how you feel about waiving all federal privacy laws for people who seek counseling.

Also, be sure to tell your congressmen that you oppose the “see a shrink, lose your guns” regs issued by the HHS.  Ask him to issue his own comments as well.

The regs themselves lay out several ways that you may submit your opposition.  The comment period ends on June 7, 2013.

There’s more at the link.  Please read the whole thing, then respond at the link provided above, and contact your Representative and Senators to urge them to stop this nonsense before it gets any further.

Do you really think an Administration that changes the definition and calculation of ‘inflation’ or ‘poverty’ at the drop of a hat, to suit its political agenda, won’t do precisely the same to what it considers the standard of ‘mental health’ necessary to own a firearm?  If you don’t, there’s this bridge in Brooklyn, NYC I’d like to sell you.  Cash only, please, and in small bills . . .



  1. Being a devout Christian will become a mental health issue in today's anti-theist society.

    If they thought they could get away with it, being a Republican or Libertarian would also be classified as a mental health issue.

    They've already classified being male as a mental health issue as well, just look at how many male children are being drugged from a young age.

  2. Never, ever, EVER, talk to anyone associated with brain care, under any circumstances. Now this includes clergy. Geoff Who notes it's the way it is.

  3. The Law of Unintended Consequences says that a gun owner would be deterred from seeking help because he'd lose his guns.

  4. Welcome to the club. Some pilots have been treading the edges of the mental health care system for some time now, after the FAA said you can lose your medical for seeking counseling after the death of a loved one (Alaska. Pilot got it overturned.)


  5. @Geoff: I can't speak for other clergy, but as a (retired) clergyman myself, I can assure you that any government bureaucrat or security flunky who thinks he can order me to divulge the contents of pastoral counseling sessions (which I still perform when asked) can go take a running poke at a rolling donut. On a bed of red-hot barbed wire. Barefoot.

  6. Wonder why the health care providers, and their malpractice insurers, aren't up in arms (no pun intended) about this?

  7. Notice that the feds are OK with breaking the doctor-patient privilege, but no mention of attorney-client privilege. As John Peddie notes, many gun owners will not seek such help if they calculate the odds being such that they're saying goodbye to their guns if they do. And OldNFO nails the biggest problem with this as being a HIPAA breach, which now gets an organization or doctor some hefty fines.

    Coincidentally, the CAPTCHA for this included the term, "5th".

  8. Don't waste a nanosecond thinking it violates HIPAA. All they have to do is make a regulation that declares it doesn't and on they go.

    As that Clinton wienie said, "Stroke of the pen, law of the land. Kinda cool."

    There is some possibility enough comments may sway them, but I doubt it. We're being railroaded.

  9. The correct link for the Proposed Rule is

    Portions of the announcement state:

    Submit comments on or before June 7, 2013.

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: You may submit electronic comments at Follow the instructions for submitting electronic comments. Attachments should be in Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, or Excel; however, we prefer Microsoft Word.

    Inspection of Public Comments: All comments received before the close of the comment period will be available for public inspection, including any personally identifiable or confidential business information that is included in a comment.

    For Further Information Contact: Andra Wicks, 202-205-2292


    The NICS Index collects and maintains certain identifying information about individuals who are subject to one or more of the Federal prohibitors and thus, are ineligible to purchase firearms. [5] The information maintained by the NICS typically is limited to the names of ineligible individuals and certain other identifying information, such as their dates of birth, as well as codes for the submitting entity and the prohibited category that applies to the individual. Other than demographic information about the individual, only the fact that the individual is subject to the mental health prohibitor is submitted to the NICS; underlying diagnoses, treatment records, and other identifiable health information is not provided to or maintained by the NICS.

    The potential transfer of a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) to a prospective buyer proceeds as follows:

    Within about 30 seconds, the FFL receives a response that the firearm transfer may proceed or is delayed.

    The NICS examiner does not disclose the reason for the determination to the FFL (e.g., the FFL would not learn that the individual was ineligible due to the mental health prohibitor).

    the Department is considering whether to amend the Privacy Rule to expressly permit covered entities holding information about the identities of individuals who are subject to the mental health prohibitor to disclose limited mental health prohibitor information to the NICS.

    we would consider limiting the information to be disclosed to the minimum data necessary for NICS purposes, such as the names of the individuals who are subject to the mental health prohibitor, demographic information such as dates of birth, and codes identifying the reporting entity and the relevant prohibitor. We would not consider permitting the disclosure of an individual's treatment record or any other clinical or diagnostic information for this purpose. In addition, we would consider permitting disclosures for NICS purposes only by those covered entities that order involuntary commitments, perform relevant mental health adjudications, or are otherwise designated as State repositories for NICS reporting purposes.

    we request comments specifically on the questions below

    The Department welcomes comments from all stakeholders on these issues, including individuals; and consumer advocates and groups. We are particularly interested in specific examples of situations

    The Long list of questions addresses only federal concerns with allowingState agencies – and any and all medical personnel who are cpoerced by HIPAA. Nowhere do the questions address individual concerns.

  10. "Attachments should be in Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, or Excel; however, we prefer Microsoft Word."

    I wonder if their preference for Word documents is because they can show any alterations that you have made.

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