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Cornyn Mental Health Bill Promises Protection but Raises Concerns

ScreenHunter_01 Aug. 06 16.36
What “improvements” are being offered that outweigh submitting even more names to a system lacking transparent protections against biased “adjudicators”?

Despite the text of the bill not even being publicly available yet (at this writing), gun owners are already taking sides on Sen. John Cornyn’s “Mental Health and Safe Communities Act,” which he announced and outlined last Wednesday.

The “legislation [is] designed to enhance the ability of local communities to identify and treat potentially dangerous, mentally-ill individuals,” Cornyn assures us. “[I]t will help fix the existing background check system without expanding it, increase the use of treatment-based alternatives for mentally-ill offenders, and improve crisis response and prevention by local officials.”

One group that most certainly has seen the text, and no doubt had a hand in crafting it, is the National Rifle Association, which has come out strongly praising the bill as a needed improvement.

“S. 2002 [is] a bill to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens from continued bureaucratic abuse by the Obama Administration,” NRA assures us. “The bill clarifies that an ‘adjudication’ … will require due process protections … removes the category ‘lacks the ability to contract or manage affairs’ as relevant to the determination of a prohibited person [and] requires notification to veterans who have been submitted to NICS under the ‘fiduciary’ program and an opportunity to have their individual case reviewed by a board established for this purpose.”

OK, so what’s the trade-off “compromise”?  Does that make it worth funding states to submit even more records to the feds?

I stated some concerns I have in a Friday article over at The Truth About Guns, and what I’ve seen so far does not give me confidence that the language of the bill itself will address them.

It would help if we knew what protections equivalent to those provided in a jury trial  the bill will provide. Specifically, will decisions rely on those who may have biases of their own, as can currently be the case, with ATF’s “clarifying the term ‘adjudicated as a mental defective’ to mean a determination by a court, board, commission or other lawful authority,” and with some states applying even broader “standards”?

What protections will exist to offset politically-connected anti-gun judges, politically-appointed boards, and “expert” adherents of the American Psychiatric Association’s “Position Statement on Firearm Access, Acts of Violence and the Relationship to Mental Illness and Mental Health Services.” It’s fair to ask, because APA includes in its advocacy platform registration-enabling, background checks, “smart” guns, storage requirements, “gun-free” zones, doctor-patient boundary violations, tax-funded anti-gun “studies,” all outside the scope of the training and credentialing of those making these proposals.

Also of interest – or it should be – how will rights be restored when there is no longer a compelling mental health prescription to deny them? What universal appeal mechanism – affordable to all, not just to elites for whom money is no object – will exist to declare a person is once more “eligible” to keep and bear arms? What guarantees are there that the same biases that colored the disability ruling in the first place won’t reassert themselves in the “parole” process? And have we identified psychiatric evaluators, risk management administrators and insurers who will be willing to subject themselves to malpractice liabilities should a person deemed “fit” be misdiagnosed? Or will the pressure be to “err on the side of caution”?

We need to be real careful here, because we’ve seen historical precedence, predominantly in citizen disarmament “paradises” like the Soviet Union, Cuba… Anybody who blindly asserts that can never happen here has either not been paying attention — or is a liar.  Maybe instead of enforcing and “improving” existing Intolerable Acts, we ought to be focused on repealing the damned things.

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DavidC

David Codrea blogs at The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance (WarOnGuns.com), and is a field editor/columnist for GUNS Magazine. Named “Journalist of the Year” in 2011 by the Second Amendment Foundation for his groundbreaking work on the “Fast and Furious” ATF “gunwalking” scandal, he is a frequent event speaker and guest on national radio and television programs.

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26 comments

  1. Now how are they going to term who is mentally ill? Is Diane Fienstein mentally ill? I would say she is ,yet supposedly carries a pistol. Hey but that is just my opinion. Who’s going to decide? The Gov.? L.O.L. they would declare every one but the cronies are mentally ill. So we would have a bunch of sociopaths running around with guns.Shoot every body now days is kinda down, I mean unless your brain is turned off how can you not be? Things are a mess.To me it is another grab for guns.Drop this one like a hot potato.

  2. I get really concerned when I hear the words and phrases “reasonable” “virtually”. and “due process” coming out of a government toady’s mouth. Governments never pass “unreasonable” legislation “Virtually” is just an elitist’s word for “almost”. And, “due process” is legalese for “anything we can get a judge to sign”. I’ve dealt with lawyers (on both sides of the fence) and/or state and federal agencies since 1965. In those 50 years I’ve learned that; one cannot trust anything they tell you, when one speaks with them nothing is off the record, one must get all agreements in writing, one should always be sure to read the fine print, and all lawyers, especially judges, stick together unless there are ample benefits to be gained by doing otherwise. It has been proven, and proven recently, that John Cornyn pretty well fits the mold. If one fiddles with snakes … one may expect to be bitten.
    [W3]

    1. John Cornyn not to be trusted. I am from Texas and have heard him support the fence between the US and Mexico on a conservative talk show in Houston and then tell a bunch of mayors of small towns in the lower Rio Grande Valley that he does not support it. He does not represent Texas-he represents the squish Mitch McConnell.

  3. I was listening to Mark Walters and Alan Gottlieb on Armed American Radio last night discussing this bill and they were softballing it, like it was no big deal. Gottlieb seemed pleased with “vital language” being included to prevent abuse and guarantee due process.

    One can’t be sure from the radio, but it sounded like he said it with a straight face. I had to switch off the show after the first hour.

  4. I hope GOA tries to nip this latest NRA betrayal of constitutional liberty in the bud ASAP. In any case, this is probably going to end up like NRA’s Veterans Disarmament betrayal. Unstoppable. The best you can do is make them pay a price in membership and donations.

    Prohibited personhood status and loss of gun rights by “adjudication” is effectively a criminal penalty without the government having to reach the hurdle required to even to make someone spend an hour in jail or do an hour of community service or pay a $1 fine for a misdemeanor.

    There is no substitute for fair trial by jury for long-term loss of core constitutional liberty. “Adjudication” is subversion. The framers considered trial by jury to be essential not only or even mainly to protect individual liberty, but as protection of the people as a whole, a key power by which the people could check government excess and subversion.

    How can fair trial by jury serve its intended purposes if groups like the NRA constantly conspire with treasonous politicians and subversive judges to create more and more situations in which liberty can be trampled and citizens turned into “prohibited persons”, without jury trial?

    The NRA’s own Second Amendment Primer goes into great length on this issue, which makes the NRA’s betrayal on this all the more knowing and treasonous.

    “…juries [are] an institution, admirable in itself, and the best calculated for the preservation of liberty and the administration of justice, that ever was devised by the wit of man.
    — David Hume, 1762
    http://oll.libertyfund.org/Texts/Hume0129/History/0011-1_Bk.html

    “It is not only (the juror’s) right, but his duty … to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, even though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.”
    — John Adams, 1771
    http://www.fff.org/freedom/1295e.asp

    “…it is usual for the jurors to decide the fact, and to refer the law arising on it to the decision of the judges. But this…lies with their discretion only. And if the question relate to any point of public liberty, or if it be one of those in which the judges may be suspected of bias, the jury undertake to decide both law and fact.”
    Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782
    http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff1520.htm

    “I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”
    — Thomas Jefferson, 1788
    Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Tom Paine, 1789

    “The friends and adversaries of the plan of the convention, if they agree on nothing else, concur at least in the value they set upon the trial by jury; …the former regard it as a valuable safeguard to liberty, the latter…as the very palladium of free government. …it would be altogether superfluous to examine…how much more merit it may be entitled to, as a defense against the oppressions of an hereditary monarch, than as a barrier to the tyranny of popular magistrates in a popular government. Discussions of this kind would be more curious than beneficial, as all are satisfied of…its friendly aspect to liberty.”
    –Alexander Hamilton 1788; Federalist Papers no. 83 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalist_No._83

    “It may not be amiss, here, Gentlemen, to remind you of the good old rule, that on questions of fact, it is the province of the jury, on questions of law, it is the province of the court to decide. But it must be observed that by the same law, which recognizes this reasonable distribution of jurisdiction, you have nevertheless a right to take upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy. On this, and on every other occasion, however, we have no doubt, you will pay that respect, which is due to the opinion of the court: For, as on the one hand, it is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumbable, that the court are the best judges of the law. But still both objects are lawfully, within your power of decision.”
    John Jay, 1794; Federalist Papers coauthor, charging the jury in Georgia v. Brailsford in his capacity as the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0003_0001_ZO.html

    “…in criminal cases, the law and fact being always blended, the jury, for reasons of a political and peculiar nature, for the security of life and liberty, is intrusted with the power of deciding both law and fact.”
    –Alexander Hamilton, 1804, Federalist coauthor, in People vs. Croswell.
    http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/15_2/15_2_3.pdf

    “No civil rulers are to be obeyed when they enjoin things that are inconsistent with the commands of God: All such disobedience is lawful and glorious.”
    — Jonathan Mayhew (1720-1766) Preacher in The First Great Spiritual Awakening

    U.S. Constitution

    Article III, Section 2: The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed.

    Amendment V: …nor shall any person…be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…

    Amendment VI: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

    Amendment VII: In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

    Amendment VIII: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

    Amendment IX: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    Also See Anonymous Jury Nullification Essay, etc.:
    http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/academic/political-science/fully-informed-juries/forumart.txt
    http://www.juryduty.org/hearings.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_nullification
    http://www.friesian.com/jury.htm

  5. “S. 2002 [is] a bill to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens” The Bill of Rights was never intended to protect law abiding citizens. It was intended to protect ALL citizens. Fall for this well laid trap, and all they have to do is change the law, and say that it only protects you if you obey their laws. That is what LBJ caused to happen in 1968, and a lot of people went along with it because “It sounded like a good idea at the time.” Every attack on the 2nd Amendment since that time has been judged to be okay because of that one bad idea and action.

  6. This looks like another way to disarm anyone owning a gun and a threat to Gov’t. What is considered mental? This could be anyone. It could even mean the liars in Gov’t. You know the ones! It could mean a man or women that fight and beat each other. It could mean a young adult bully. It goes on and on. If you can think it, the gov’t will say the person is mental.

  7. I live in Texas and I do not trust Cornyn to do the right thing for us. He has a lousy voting track record. I am calling BOHICA on him.

  8. Say no to any further power grabs, state or fed, makes no difference. Gov doesn’t fix problems, it creates them.

  9. After reading the following serious document at:

    http://www.apfn.org/apfn/bcolony.htm

    I find the whole system fraudulently being run.

    I am one of the last honorable oath keeper not by title but by honesty and moral conviction. I have a hard time really give consent or credence or credibility to anything or anyone. This government stinks in the eyes of god and country.

    Anyone that thinks they are making a fare
    and honarable disision needs to make copies of this document and prove its entire content wrong before proceeding.

    After reading it in it entirety I as a true oath keeper will not concent to anything or anyone ever again consciously or otherwise until all these issues are fairly resolved buy the republic and true oath keepers

    Ladies and gentlemen
    How much fraud is legal?

    I leave you the Answer:

    NONE

  10. I am a old senior citizen and cant recall Ever seeing so much Hate, Anger, Deviseness and treacherous Government so illegal, unconstitutional..It is clear to me that our Congress, Senate has allowed this Administrations total takeover of their minds, the same way He has done to many Americans. He is the very one with “MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES” & should have Been Impeached long ago. I really have no specific answer, but apparently most of these
    Horrid Shooters have been on MEDICATIONS LIKE ANTIDEPRESSANTS OR OTHER DRUGS that have KNOWN serious
    side effects to many people that makes them suicidal or Homocidal.
    IT IS BIG PHARMA & FDA that has most responsibility, and Congress does nothing but keep Funding them, due to Money in All
    Govts. pockets, from Corps & Lobbyists. It will continue to be “Follow The Money” that these known bad drugs exists even with
    multiple lawsuits against them. This mental health bill is just another fix, catering to this Administrations policy of Control & Power over the People of this country and over many other countries. There is No Justice left for all Peoples. Minds have been
    twisted into the Hands of Govt. and too many Americans are just allowing it thru constant Propaganda & Lies. NO ON THIS BILL.

  11. Please define:
    Inalienable
    INALIENABLE

    Please define:
    Treason
    TREASON

    Please define:
    Fraud
    FRAUD

  12. One mights say:

    Take this issue to God!

    Based on the fact that the pope sides with perverts!

    When all else fails hug your guns!
    🙂

  13. I have seen first hand what doctors can sign papers for mental incompetence. My MIL had Alzheimer’s disease and had to be deemed mentally incompetent to be place in a home for her own safety and health. Also my daughter by marriage is being treated for Bipolar disorder.

    All human rights organizations set forth codes by which they align their purposes and activities. The Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights articulates the guiding principles and goals of Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR).
    http://www.cchrint.org/about-us/declaration-of-human-rights/

    In both family cases above It takes more than one doctor to deem anyone as having a mental disorder.

    B. No person shall be forced to undergo any psychiatric or psychological treatment against his or her will.

    C. No person, man, woman or child, may be denied his or her personal liberty by reason of mental illness, without a fair jury trial by laymen and with proper legal representation.

    D. No person shall be admitted to or held in a psychiatric institution, hospital or facility because of their political, religious or cultural or social beliefs and practices.

    Our Bill of Rights is just exactly what was intended to limit the government from infringing on our God given rights. Those rights should not be easily adjudicated away.

  14. Well I no longer trust the NRA. Their bending during Brady was the First Strike, followed by IMO what appears to be going on where I fell they are setting us up to be just Hunters. Now with this push to say this bill is okay – I am really freaked out. Anyway in a few months they can stop calling and sending me requests to Donate or Buy Insurance, I am not renewing.

  15. This sounds like a trap this senator I guess his name is Cornyn’s has a voting record that dose not farewell with the belief system of the Oath Keepers or The militias , it’s a way too make it sound like he’s savings seniors so they can keep their guns by making everybody else into an adjudicated nutcase ! This guy is full up crap ! Anyways ; Mental illness is a matter of opinion and psychiatrists are probably the nuttiest people on the planet . This mental illness B. S. should be flushed down the toilet . I’m tired of all the mania that these gun grabbers are putting out there . It’s time too call a duck a duck and stick to the Second amendment , which says that our Selcond amendment right’s should not be infringed upon ; It’s our constitutional right ‘s that’s been guaranteed to us ,by ,our God given right’s and stop playing the game that these people are putting on us their nothing but a bunch of criminals . These jerks are nothing but a bunch of paid off canaries and they can stick it where the sun doesn’t shine . Their know more then domestic enemies !
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