This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 19, 2016:
When the Oregon Firearms Federation (OFF) received a copy of draft legislation that could end a citizen’s Second Amendment rights with a phone call or an e-mail, it called it “one of the most dangerous pieces of anti-gun legislation we have ever seen.”
The bill, LC 250, offered by “committee” but drafted with the help of Democrat Senator Floyd Prozanski (who has a photo of himself shaking hands with President Obama on his Facebook page), states that “a reporter”
may make a report to the Department of State Police Firearms Unit that a person is experiencing a mental health emergency and poses a danger to self or others with a firearm.
The bill defines “a reporter” as a physician, a healthcare provider, a licensed mental health professional, an educator or principal or school employee who has had direct contact with the person, the person’s employer, or a family member of the person. Once the report has been received by police, the bill directs that “the department shall ensure that a firearms purchase hold record is created that prevents the person [from] purchas[ing] a firearm for a period of 30 days.”
Further, the person so accused will not be notified by the department that he no longer has his Second Amendment rights, nor will the name of the person making the accusation be made available. In addition, the person making the report “is immune from civil liability for making the report as long as the report is made in good faith.”
In its alert to its members, OFF wrote:
This bill will allow totally unqualified people to make anonymous accusations against others and claim those people are experiencing “mental health emergencies.” Those people lose their rights to buy a firearm.
Those accusations will not be investigated, the accused will not know the accusation has been made unless [he tries] to buy a gun nor will [he] be allowed to know who [his] accuser is or how long [his] rights will be suspended.
If the [accused] choose[s] to challenge the accusation, [he] assume[s] the full burden of proving [he is] not mentally ill [along with] all the expense.
OFF presented an example of how the bill, if passed, could disarm a woman who had just been threatened by her dangerous husband. He could make a phone call or send an e-mail to the police department expressing the opinion that his wife is loony and that the gun she intends to buy to defend herself against him might be used by her to harm herself. Officials from the department would block sales of a gun to her. Now disarmed, she is a perfect target whom the husband can attack at his leisure.
It seems evident that the bill is not meant to stop violence with guns, but to convince voters that politicians are trying. The issue of mental health is far too complex to be solved by an egregious overreach such as LC 250. Matt Millican, a certified mental health professional with an MA degree in Counseling Psychology, wrote in his blog, Mental Health Reflections:
We tend to over-simplify the issue of mental health in our society, not realizing just how broad and complex it can be….
We are being told that mental illnesses are to blame for the tragedies of our world — that we can test for, find and fix mental illness, keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, and give mental health exams to gun owners — THEN we will be safe and all will be well.
Not only it this not true, it is impossible….
In the end, issues of violence and criminal behavior don’t start overnight, nor will they be solved overnight by background checks, mental health assessments, or simply removing the objects used to harm.
Using “mental health issues” as the latest battering ram to obliterate the Second Amendment has just been approved by the voice of the establishment, the New York Times. As noted here, Nicholas Kristof announced that the best approach to confiscating guns from innocents would be by ignoring due process, as proposed by the Oregon bill:
More than 10 percent of murders in the United States, for example, are by intimate partners. The riskiest moment is often after a violent breakup when a woman has won a restraining order against her ex.
Prohibiting the subjects of those restraining orders from possessing a gun reduces these murders by 10 percent, one [unnamed] study found.
Oathkeepers, however, sees danger where the Times sees opportunity. If passed by the Democrat-controlled house and senate in Oregon and signed into law by anti-gun Governor Kate Brown, it could “be used as a template in other states as a further step toward the goal of citizen disarmament.”