This was written by a friend of ours who has been in the mental health field for upwards of twenty years now. It’s in response to our article on “Loose lips can cost you your gun rights”.
The mental health reporting requirements have been in practice in both IN and MI and disclosure of current/past treatment has been required at the time of application in both states. MI only wants to know about CURRENT treatment and IN wants to know about all history of treatment (entire lifetime) –except if it dealt with marital counseling or alcohol/drug abuse. Yes, you read that right: Get an antidepressant 10 years ago in IN and the Indiana State Police wants you to sign a release so they can look over your health records; but, talk to a counselor about smoking pot an hour ago and that is NOT reportable in IN.
That said, we health care practitioners are very careful about reporting anyone as a threat to self, others, etc. You have to be very sure about this because as the practitioner you could end up in court, an administrative hearing or a deposition. This takes away from your paid business. You might even get sued by the person you tried to commit.
I have been in the field for over 20 years and I’ve seen emergency detention orders used for good reasons such as suicide attempt (with no BS threat to repeat), threatening to kill one’s family, psychotic break, etc. Most of the time we can get a person in for voluntary treatment (which is not reportable under Federal rules pertaining to future FFL firearm transfers). Keep in mind, though, some of the things that brought them to us in the first place have already generated a criminal charge.
I do not want a separate database which tracks mental health conditions which are not related to involuntary commitments (signed by a JUDGE) or other court adjudication of mental defect. If we lower that standard I understand there is a huge potential for abuse by the state.
Otherwise, who is to say what other health conditions are added in the future: diabetes? seizures? stroke? I can think of many conditions where someone could abuse their authority and argue that the person might not be able to safely handle their weapon or might pass out and leave their weapon unsecured in public.
For this to change, though, it will take lawsuits by the people affected. It might take a class action lawsuit by combat veterans who receive mental health/PTSD treatment at the V.A. who do not want their health records reviewed by someone at the State Police who completely lacks any legitimate qualification.