You know, I used to be in favor of background checks and gun registration. These days, though I have changed my mind. Why? The State of New York proving in no uncertain terms that gun registration, background checks and access to records (legally or otherwise) in the wrong hands leads to the trashing of our Second Amendment rights. Since the right and wrong hands change every two to four years, even letting the right hands have that kind of power is not something I’m willing to give. Fortunately, and surprisingly, the Senate agreed last week.
My common sense can see the point to background checks. There are people who should not have guns. Convicted felons come to mind. Other calls for keeping guns from the “mentally ill” seem, on their face, as common sense as well. “Mental Illness” covers a plethora of conditions. Many of sufferers should be part of the group who shouldn’t possess firearms, but others should not. What they shouldn’t be is lumped together in the name of safety. Curtailment of anyone’s rights is a serious thing.
One of these groups are depressives. Depression comes in several forms. Some are seasonal (Seasonal Affective Disorder), some are situational such as when a loved one dies. Some are hormonal, such as post-partum depression. Many are transitory and will most likely not manifest again. Others suffer daily and for years, and the symptoms range from mild to severe, and find they lack the energy to do anything, feel worthless and probably have recurring thoughts of suicide. Violent behavior is the antithesis of depression.
Depression is often treated by a group of drugs known as Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRI’s. SSRIs help depression by affecting chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters that communicate between brain cells. SSRIs block the reabsorption (reuptake) of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, which helps brain cells to better send and receive chemical messages. Those who are helped by SSRI’s find they can get back into participating in their lives, making them better.
There are plenty of websites that are against use of SSRI’s and say they cause violence. I did my homework and found that the sites I checked used statistics and stories of violent behavior only from teens and very young adults. Warnings on the drug labels specifically say they should not be prescribed to children, teens and young adults.
Despite this, the State of New York, which passed its SAFE Act, is now confiscating the guns and gun licenses of adults. They are doing so under the guise of a provision in it that mandates the confiscation of guns and permits if someone has been prescribed psychotropic drugs. An attorney representing several clients has found that the act is being used in violation of due process and in violation of the Federal HIPAA laws. Here is an example from NY attorney Jim Tresmond:
On April 1st, a legal gun owner in upstate New York received an official notice from the state ordering him to surrender any and all weapons to his local police department. The local police were aware of the letter because they had already been contacted by the State Police, as under the law, local law enforcement is authorized to visit the gun owner at their home and demand the surrender of the firearms if they don’t respond to the mailing. This owner did, and his guns and permits were surrendered. A request for a hearing on the matter was filed. In the process several disturbing issues were found.