Recently introduced federal gun legislation would codify and greatly expand the definition of those barred from owning a gun because they suffer from broad, umbrella-like definitions of mental health problems. Mental health advocates, however, say legislators reacting to “deranged” people going on shooting sprees are “completely missing the point.”
Last week, New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy introduced the Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011, a nearly-identical resolution to that introduced in the Senate in March by her New York colleague, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer. Both bills include a section dedicated to further codifying in federal law what it means to be “adjudicated as a mental defective.” The proposed change would label any person a “mental health defective” who appears to “lack the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs,” or is “compelled” to receive counseling or medication.
Other, seemingly more obvious, definitions of a “mental health defective” include anyone who has been found criminally insane, found incompetent to stand trial or found not guilty by reason of mental deficiencies. Read more
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