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Thread: Legal Question

  1. #1
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    Years ago a childhood friend of mine attempted suicide. He was placed in a local psychiatric hospital for evaluation and counseling.

    The law states a person who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to a mental institution cannot legally receive or possess firearms and/or ammunition?

    Does this constitute commitment to a mental intuition and prevent him for owning a fire arm?

  2. #2
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    A few years ago here, a lady was pumping gas at the local Quik-Mart, was sloppy and got a good dose on her sleeve. She paid up, wouldn't accept help to clean up, and headed up the highway toward Jamestown. She was lucky, a trooper saw her pass through Painted Post as she lit up a cigarette and her whole sleeve busts into flame. He chased her down as she pulls over, trying to beat the flames out, and he had an extinguisher on her before it got too much physical damage on her flesh. Then he went back and wrote up a ticket.

    Yep. Carrying an illegal fire arm.



    smt

    (PS, no intent to make light of your friends situation. Maybe this will bump it back up where soemoen knows the answer)

  3. #3
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    Was he a minor when this happened? A quick call to the local BATF office should tell you the answer. You call, not him...they dont need his name.

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    I want to say that unless he is still being treated, or has been diagnosed as "not recovered" he should be fine. But take snowman's advice and call the BATF, they'll answer your questions and likely not even ask for a name.

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    The 4473 asks if you have ever been? In his case he has to answer "YES", and you are not allowed to sell him a firearm, period. It is his responsibility to address this problem, He has to petition the courts to get this solved. A mental institution is a psychiatic center. If you are a dealer and you know this person and that he has been in mental institution and wants a firearm, he has to show you a court order allowing firearm ownership. Ask for a written consent ruling from ATF if he gets a court order allowing ownership before selling him a firearm. Insure you staple the ATF ruling, court ruling to the 4473 form. Cover your back, if anything happens, you are in the middle and liable for a lawsuit. Best thing is to not sell him a firearm PERIOD... Let him get it from someone else, in the long run it will be best for you.

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    ... adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to a mental institution ...

    These are specific procedures and just being sent there for examination is substantially different.

    But I agree that you should follow through with getting the paperwork to cover yourself.

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    At this point my question is little more than a curiosity, there is no pending sale, or even contact with the individual in question.

    I guess there are two questions, what is "committed" and what is "mental institution".
    A little homework shows that Jon is correct, psyc ward of the hospital qualifys as "mental institution", but what about "committed".

    It seems strange that you could inforce a law that strips a constitutional right without due process of law. So does "committed" mean an involentary commitment by the courts, or simply a family member checking you in involenartily?

    Sure would suck to come back from Iraq suffering from post tramatic stress disorder, seek ligitimate medical help and lose your rights for doing so.

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    My understanding is that if you are commited either by the state or by family member aginist your will that means you can not purchase or recive a firearm.
    If you commit yourself that doesn't count.

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    In calif there is a lawsuit going on where someone was given medication by a doctor that caused him to have a psychiatric episode. Due to a doctors mistake he is now labled a psychiatic case. Even though the doctors at the psyc ward were the ones that found the medication mistake. and listed in his records that he is not mentally ill that it was a doctors mistake. He still can not buy a gun untill the state DOJ clears up his records. The cops also took over $20.000 in guns. bows. reloading equipment.spotting scopes and a gun safe and have claimed to have destroyed all after 60 days. Even though his lawyers notfied them that it was all a mistake and that they would be asking the court to have his property returned.

  10. #10
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    Did a little more reasurch, and the definition of "commited to a mental instution" in the 2000 green book indicates that some kind of legal proceding must take place for the comitment to count, a board of review, trial, hearing etc.

    So the comment about a family member commiting you may be incorrect.

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    I work in a Psych. Center and have for the last 27 years. The comment about a family member commiting you is correct, but they forgot there is more to it than that. A family member has to petition the courts to get you commited. They "the family" supplies the reasons why you should be commited and the courts have the person examined and the recommendations of the reviewing Doctors determine if the person is is to be commited. When I first started working at the Psych. Center I met a lot of patients that I wondered why they were committed for they were as sane as anyone else. Bottom line was that there were underlying reasons, a lot not so honorable. And the Pysch. Centers were self supporting and they needed good workers to work the fields and take care of the grounds, so they were not going to let anyone go that could work. In later years they stopped that practice, and the cost of feeding and taking care of a couple of thousand patients that were needed to maintain each Psych Center was putting a awful strain on the state's budget. The old methods of treating mental health patients were outlawed and using them for cheap labor was abolished. Using medications to treat them was 1/2 ass working and by letting them go back into the general population was a godsend to the states. Now it is very difficult to get a person in to a State Psych center because of the lack of beds available. Criminally insane is a lot different subject.

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    A fellow toolmaker, now deceased, went through a divorce about 10 years back. One of the tactics used by his wife was to swear out an affidavit to a judge that her husband was a danger to himself. With no notice or hearing the judge issued an order for him to be placed in a mental institution for his own protection. He missed several weeks of work and lost his firearms in the process. The man knew that the worst thing he could do was lose his cool so he sat there in the loony bin patiently waiting for the system to get around to reviewing his case. Finally, one of the doctors realised that the wife had sworn falsely and the guy was released. Needless to say, his divorce was pursued with greater urgency after this episode. He died several years later of complications from type 2 diabetes without regaining his 2nd amendment rights. And this all happened right here in good old gun lovin' Texas so you can imagine how screwed up things can get anywhere else.

    Damn judges & American women!

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    Thought it was "Damn women & American judges."

  14. #14
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    Jeffres post above -

    Someone got on the stick quickly and you are likely looking at malpractice and negligence at the doctor and institutional end. If the gun related items were destroyed much the same thing applies against the state - though an allegation of "destroyiong everything in 60 days" likely came from an anti-gun type associated with the issue and is untrue. Nothing can be seized (or at least kept) without due procesws and if notified of the circumstances the state would likely be liable there as well. A state suit might fall into a Federal venue.


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