Gun Control Debate -  Psychological test for gun ownership (121 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member IconJun-27 9:09 AM 
To: All  (1 of 10) 


From:  EdGlaze   
To:  All    

From another forum: 220079.344

…have those who want to buy a gun undergo a complete psych examination?

Who pays for that exam?

How long would it take to do such an exam?

With about 2 million guns a month being sold how many psychologists would be needed?

What about the hundreds of millions of existing gun owners?

Would such testing be available in the thousands of small towns around the country?

What about the poor people unable to pay for such testing, will it be subsidized or free?

Would this necessitate the creation of a firearm owner database which by law the government is not allowed to create?

…what have they got to lose if they are of sound mind?

A great delay and possibly the inability to have Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

Such testing would amount to a potential, if not actual, ban on gun purchases by the less wealthy.

What other rights should require psychological testing — right to vote, religion, press, etc.?
I'm sure many religious people would fail a psychological exam because of their delusional beliefs.



Related discussions: 

Medical establishment hostile to guns 

Medical establishment hostile to guns 2 

  • Edited June 28, 2020 11:16 am  by  EdGlaze

From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member IconJun-27 9:52 AM 
To: All  (2 of 10) 
 2134.2 in reply to 2134.1 

New York Doctors to Decide if You Can Have a Gun
Opinion by Dan Wos
Author – Good Gun Bad Guy: Behind the Lies of the Anti-Gun Radical
3 Jun 20

A New York gun restriction bill sponsored by James Sanders Jr. (D) 10th Senate District, is in committee. It’s called Senate Bill S7065 and if passed, “would require a purchaser of any firearm, rifle or shotgun to submit to a mental health evaluation.”

This law would put an additional burden on citizens and firearms retailers by creating more barriers to exercising the 2nd Amendment. Governor Cuomo and State Democrats desperately hope to sign into law, S7065, putting doctors in the position of determining whether or not New York residents would be allowed to own guns. The most dangerous portion of the Bill reads:

“Section 3 amends section 7.09 of the mental hygiene law by adding a new subdivision (1) to require the commissioner of mental health to establish within the office of mental health an administrative process for the mental health evaluation of any individual prior to such individual's purchase of any firearm, rifle or shotgun. The commissioner shall promulgate regulations which shall include, but not be limited to, provisions relating to mental health professionals approved to perform the evaluation; the process for evaluation; and the development of a standardized form to be used by mental health professionals performing such evaluation to approve or deny an individual for purchase of a firearm, rifle or shotgun.”

Already frustrated with their lack of ability to restrict gun-ownership, the American Medical Association has made it publicly clear that they will do whatever necessary to prevent people from having guns. Besides, what “mental health professional” (yet to be defined) would want to clear someone, knowing that they could be held responsible should that person commit a crime with a gun? The answer is…none. Facilitators of this evaluation would be much more likely to deny than approve due to fear of their own culpability.

Dr. David Barbe said, “In emergency rooms across the country, the carnage of gun violence has become a too routine experience. It doesn't have to be this way, and we urge lawmakers to act,”

According to CNN Health, “The country's largest physicians group voted to support nearly a dozen policies including:”

  • A call for banning all assault-type weapons, bump stocks and related devices, high-capacity magazines and armor-piercing bullets.
  • Opposing the arming of teachers in schools and keeping schools gun-free zones.
  • Requiring all gun owners to complete a gun safety course and register all firearms.
  • Increasing the federal legal age limit for all firearms and ammunition from 18 to 21.
  • Opposing federal laws that allow “concealed carry” permits to cross state lines.
  • Supporting laws that prohibit individuals who are under domestic violence restraining orders or who are convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence crime or stalking from possessing or purchasing firearms.
  • Requiring that domestic violence restraining orders and gun violence restraining orders be entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
  • Allowing family members and partners and law enforcement officials to petition courts for gun removal from individuals considered at high risk for violence.

The question is, how can Doctors be trusted with this level of responsibility knowing how politically-biased many of them are on the topic of guns? This is exactly what gun-grabbing legislators in New York want; an organization, already deeply intertwined in the most intimate portion of our lives, to carry out the actions of gun-restriction. Maybe Republicans should appoint the Catholic Clergy to determine the necessity of abortions.

Knowing that 93% of inmates surveyed in prison avoid background checks altogether how likely is it that they will follow Democrat orders and schedule their own mental health evaluation? This law would put an additional burden and risks on citizens and firearms retailers by making them susceptible to any number of system failures and politically-biased mental health reviews while making them vulnerable to unnecessary felony violations in the process.

Rather than work on mental health issues in New York, Democrat legislators continue to avoid any attempts at fixing the problems that cause human violence and use the issue of mental health as an excuse to attack lawful gun owners and limit their ability to purchase firearms.

At the same time, New York Democrats are setting criminals loose in our communities, the new mental health gun proposal would further ensure New York residents would be left unarmed and helpless when they come face to face with Cuomo’s newly-freed law-breakers. What could possibly go wrong


From the comments:

Robert B Young, MD
From the Editor of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, and frequent Ammoland contributor:

My colleague Dan Wos has perfectly described the problems with any such move to require medical (let alone mental health) clearance for firearms purchases, entirely aside from the fact that exercising a natural or Constitutional right is not supposed to depend on anyone else’s routine permission. As New York physician (specializing in psychiatry) I not only don’t want anything to do with that role, I don’t have any time to deal with people who do not present for treatment of their illnesses. I promise that the vast majority of physicians in New York and everywhere feel the same way, and wouldn’t participate. That will leave a large niche for which a cottage industry will arise by non-physician mental health evaluators, with less expertise but intact prejudices about firearms. I am hopeful that this would be one step too far even for New York progressives once the foreseeable consequences are made apparent. We will see.
Thank you, Dan!

  • Edited June 27, 2020 10:04 am  by  EdGlaze

From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member IconJun-27 9:52 AM 
To: All  (3 of 10) 
 2134.3 in reply to 2134.2 


Relevant excerpt of transcript:

New York politicians want doctors to decide whether or not you can have a gun

New York is one of the worst states in the union when it comes to being able to exercise your Second Amendment rights. Now they want to put up still more barriers to the right to keep and bear arms. New York Senate Bill S7065, sponsored by James Sanders Jr. (D-10th) would amend the state’s mental hygiene law to have doctors decide whether or not you should have the ability to own a firearm.

Specifically, the state would set up a division to process for mental health evaluations of anyone wanting to purchase a pistol, rifle, or shotgun. It would also standardize procedures for conducting these examinations, including the development of a form to be used by doctors.

New York putting up yet another barrier to the free exercise of a constitutional right shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. This is the same state where having too many speeding tickets can have you declared a “scofflaw,” which is a basis for denying your gun permit application.

Passing this law is a dodge. Many doctors are anti-gun, so of course they’re likely to find that you’re unsuitable. The point is that the state will be able to rely on the doctor’s findings as a fig leaf to be able to do what they want to do in the first place — ban you from buying a firearm.

  • Edited June 27, 2020 5:23 pm  by  EdGlaze

From: drtrampJun-27 11:35 AM 
To: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon  (4 of 10) 
 2134.4 in reply to 2134.1 

<have those who want to buy a gun undergo a complete psych examination?> Would this include police, politicians, private security, and military personnel?
<what have they got to lose if they are of sound mind?> Having dealt with quite a few psych people at various VA facilities I can say with great certainty that the results of these tests could, and would, be biased by the examiner's personal opinion on firearms, race, age, sex, and a number of other factors.
The majority of base line standards of such tests, just as with standard IQ tests, are based on responses from test groups primarily composed of middle income, mid 20s to mid 30s, Eastern and Midwestern, white males, with average education levels. Also; most of these base line standards were set in the 50s when such test were becoming popular and widely used. 
Ride Safe. Dr.Tramp................

  • Edited June 28, 2020 3:46 pm  by  drtramp
 Reply   Options 

From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member IconJun-28 11:46 AM 
To: All  (5 of 10) 
 2134.5 in reply to 2134.3 

Opinion: Why mental health test for gun ownership is a slippery slope
by Gary Beatty
Lives in Sharpes and is retired from 30 years as an assistant state attorney in Brevard County.
He has a doctorate in law and is certified in criminal trial law by the Florida Bar.

16 Nov 17

As a Life Member of the National Rifle Association I don’t know any member who thinks the truly mentally ill should have unrestricted access to weapons of any kind. The problem we have is what the criteria are for restriction and who gets to decide.

I’ve been called a “nut” simply because I believe in and have extensively studied the legal history of the Second Amendment. Is the fact I’m well-educated about, and choose to exercise, my historical right to own firearms the clinical criteria for being “nuts?”

I know police officers suffering from PTSD resulting from experiences on the job. Should they be deprived of their firearms? Or military medics with PTSD from their service? If they seek treatment, should they lose a constitutional right they served to protect?

Then there is the problem of biased experts. I’ve gotten some to admit their opposition to the death penalty leads them to “always find a mental deficiency” that would preclude imposition of a death sentence. Outcome-determinative bias is likely in experts who personally advocate gun control.

Outcome Bias arises when a decision is based on the outcome of previous events, without regard to how the past events developed. Outcome bias does not involve analysis of factors that lead to a previous event, and instead de-emphasizes the events preceding the outcomes and overemphasizes the outcome. Unlike hindsight bias, outcome bias does not involve the distortion of past events.

Assuming a person is found unfit to own a firearm, how long would the incapacity last? In 1975 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled persons committed to mental institutions, who had committed no crime, can’t be held for life because that violates the Constitution. Can a person who has committed no crime be deprived of the Second Amendment right for life?

Justice Joseph Story in his seminal 1833 Commentaries on the Constitution said, “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”

The Second Amendment (and Article I, Section 8, of the Florida Declaration of Rights) is not about hunting or sport shooting. It’s about citizens having the ability to defend themselves from our own rulers.

The rights enshrined in the Constitution aren’t government largesse. They are ours by right of birth. Giving the government the power to decide who is mentally competent to have those rights is a dangerous concept. Using “mental health” to suppress and confine dissidents is a favorite tool of totalitarian regimes.


From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member IconJun-28 12:10 PM 
To: All  (6 of 10) 
 2134.6 in reply to 2134.5 

Psychological Testing and Firearm Permits
26 Aug 09

The article, “An Empirical Survey of Psychological Testing and the Use of the Term Psychological: Turf Battles or Clinical Necessity?” (Dattilio, Frank M.; Tresco, Katy E.; Siegel, Alex Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. 2007 Dec Vol 38(6) 682-689) includes the apparently erroneous statement:

“Most states in the United States will only issue a permit to carry a firearm to individuals who undergo psychological testing by a licensed psychologist and are approved.”

When I asked Dr. Datillio via e-mail to cite a statute supporting this statement, he provided only a Pennsylvania statute requiring the applicant to undergo such an evaluation in order to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun for (non law enforcement) work. According to the National Rifle Association, 48 states issue permits for concealed carry of handguns to ordinary citizens, and none of them requires psychological evaluation. An internet search appeared to confirm this — official documents, including statutes, application forms, and other listings of requirements of 35 states revealed not a single one requiring psychological evaluation. Almost all the states in some way restrict issuance of permits, purchase or possession of firearms for individuals with a putative history of substance use disorder or other mental illness.

The laws of at least two states provide for restoration of the right to be issued a concealed carry permit after it has been revoked.

The state of Massachusetts allows a physician (not a psychologist) to restore the right of permit. The permit may be restored when the individual:

“(ii) has been confined to any hospital or institution for mental illness, unless the applicant submits with his application an affidavit of a registered physician attesting that such physician is familiar with the applicant’s mental illness and that in such physician’s opinion the applicant is not disabled by such an illness in a manner that should prevent such applicant from possessing a firearm;

“(iii) is or has been under treatment for or confinement for drug addiction or habitual drunkenness, unless such applicant is deemed to be cured of such condition by a licensed physician, and such applicant may make application for such license after the expiration of five years from the date of such confinement or treatment and upon presentment of an affidavit issued by such physician stating that such physician knows the applicant’s history of treatment and that in such physician’s opinion the applicant is deemed cured;…”

The state of Mississippi allows a psychiatrist (not a psychologist) to restore the right of permit when the individual:

“Has not been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to a mental institution or mental health treatment facility unless he possesses a certificate from a psychiatrist licensed in this state that he has not suffered from disability for a period of five (5) years;…”

In no state’s materials was there any basis for concluding that evaluation by a psychologist might suffice. But even the two laws quoted above presume the physician or psychiatrist is qualified to make this determination in the absence of generally accepted criteria and with assumption of considerable liability for a bad outcome.


From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member IconJun-28 12:29 PM 
To: All  (7 of 10) 
 2134.7 in reply to 2134.6 

Gun Ownership and Mental Health
National Alliance of Professional Psychology Providers

We live in a society that comprises great diversity of behaviors and ideologies. We are also a society that seeks to accommodate as many of these behaviors and ideologies as possible. However, as a society, do we not have the right to ensure the safety of our citizens? Do we not have the responsibility to protect our children as they play and learn in their schools? Do we not have the right to enjoy a movie without fear of being killed or maimed? Is the second amendment greater in scope and importance than the other constitutional amendments? Given the present environment, apparently it is.

Should we continue to provide greater protection to gun owners at the expense of the rest of society, we can count on more mass killings and misery. As a private citizen, this must stop and I believe that we should no longer tolerate seeing people mourn the loss of family and friends simply because others have a need to arm themselves with weapons that are designed to kill.

As psychologists, we are also deeply committed to a life as free as possible from any type of harm. We are also committed to the needs of people who are experiencing mental, emotional and behavioral problems. Now that the conversation about gun violence appears to be focusing on the relationship between mental health and gun violence, it is here that we, psychologists and other mental health professionals, can make a difference and become part of the national dialogue on this issue. However, to be clear, the mental stability of a person seeking to obtain firearms is only one aspect of the wider picture to control and reduce gun violence.

Legislation that focuses on types of weapons that individuals should be allowed to own and related registration issues also need to be part of the mix along with mental health.

A Proposal To Integrate Mental Health Assessment Into Access To Guns

The proposal that is outlined here is not designed to be a complete solution to reducing gun violence. It is, however, a start of a dialogue for psychologists to enter our input into the debate. This proposal comprises three parts to a change in gun laws that is consistent with protecting the constitutional right to acquire firearms while educing gun violence by people who may be impaired and should be denied access to guns. Nothing in this proposal assumes psychologists, or anyone else, can predict future gun violence or particularly indicate which individuals will commit a crime. If implemented, the proposal is analogous to motor vehicle laws that seek to identify people who might be potentially harmful to themselves or others due to an impairment. If the impairment cannot be eliminated or reduced to the point where it no longer is viewed as an impairment, a person so affected can regain the permission to drive.

The three parts to this proposal comprises:

  • Psychological Assessment for initial gun acquisition and periodic review
  • Establishing a Registration Database
  • Establishing a National Impairment Database

Assessment Clearance

Any person who seeks to purchase a gun of any type of firearm that is legal under a statute will be required to obtain a standardized psychological assessment from a licensed doctoral level mental health specialist. The assessment protocol shall be based upon instruments that are designated by statute and must include a thorough history. The sole objective of the assessment is to identify factors that may be particularly related to an impairment that can be related to harm to oneself or others. For example, a person who who is experiencing a psychotic disorder, major mood disorder, cognitive deficit or severe personality disorder is most probably impaired and should not be allowed to have access to a firearm while experiencing any of the above. This is not finite list. Persons who are denied clearance can appeal a denial. Persons who can demonstrate that they no longer are impaired can seek another assessment.

Professionals performing these assessments should be provided legal immunity for their decision as a person denied clearance is entitled to an appeal and review. No person shall be allowed to purchase a firearm or related products without having this certificate of clearance. The issue then becomes putting our focus on the people who use guns to kill people, which is consistent with some who chant that “Guns don't kill people. People kill people.”

Registration Database

After an assessment is completed, the mental health professional will issue and sign a standardized document stating that an assessment has been performed and that the person listed in the document has no demonstrated impairment. No person will be allowed to purchase a firearm without this official clearance document. Gun sellers must keep a copy of this document as part of the sale documentation. This data must be entered into a national registration database so that dealers, whether in retail or gun shows, will have access. Private conveyance of firearms must be reported just as motor vehicles sold by individuals are now subject to report.


  • Edited June 28, 2020 12:30 pm  by  EdGlaze

From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member IconJun-28 12:30 PM 
To: All  (8 of 10) 
 2134.8 in reply to 2134.7 

National Impairment Database

Clearly, there is the possibility that a person acquires a psychological impairment after receiving clearance for an initial gun purchase. This type of occurrence presents difficult operational problems to insure that those persons possessing firearms and are also impaired can be identified and their access to firearms restricted while the impairment exits. Also, there are issues of confidentiality that must be considered. One solution is to have a National Impairment Database that only professional mental health providers can access to enter a person's name and other identifying information. Any person who meets the statutory definition of an impairment that would deny them access to guns would be entered into the database. Any person listed in the database would not be allowed to purchase or maintain firearms or related products. If, and when, the impairment is no longer a factor, the provider would be required to remove the person from the national database. The statute would have to detail how and what to do with any firearms that such persons already possesses. One solution would be for the firearms to be kept by the local police department until such time as the person was removed from the database and received clearance. Once clearance is obtained, the firearms could then be returned.


This proposal is not viewed as a total solution to end gun violence. No solution will ever achieve 100% protection. It should be viewed as a starting point and debate on how mental health professionals can participate and have our input into this growing and important societal issue. For too long practitioners have been left out of too many important policy debates. Moreover, it is not sufficient that we simply issue pronouncements against gun violence or any other issue that emerges. We need to be for something. We need to be proactive. We need to demonstrate that we have something to offer.

We do not view our proposal a being complete and without issues. However, it does provide a framework to see how mental health professionals can provide services that can help with solving this important issue. Gun violence will continue to rise unless all of us decide that something concrete and reasonable must be done. There is no single answer or solution. People do have a right to acquire and own firearms.

How and when they acquire these firearms is an appropriate discussion for all of us to consider. As psychologists, we have other considerations and talents that should also become part of the discussion. Hopefully, our input will be heard and considered.



From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member IconJun-28 12:41 PM 
To: All  (9 of 10) 
 2134.9 in reply to 2134.8 

Response excerpt to a Quora question:

What questions exactly does a psychological test for firearm carry contain?

The most reasonable 'psychological' test there is already exists, and that's one's arrest and conviction records. These are about as solid a measure of a person's behavior as you're going to find. Being convicted or adjudicated of several serious crimes or abnormalities will bar you from lawfully possessing a firearm. However, the standard for being granted a permit to carry a firearm in public is higher and it often doesn't take much for the issuing authority ([In some May Issue states] usually a chief law enforcement officer such as the county sheriff) to decide you're not worthy of such. It's not uncommon for a person to louse up or end up in the wrong place at the wrong time once or twice in life, but a history of misdemeanors — not necessarily individually serious — may be all the proof he needs that you're a troublemaker and can't be trusted with a deadly weapon out in society. You may still be 'okay' (relatively speaking) to own one, but keeping it at home and carrying it around tend to be two different things!
Tim Gordon


For those with access to the Journal of the American Psychological Association

Psychological evaluations for firearm ownership:
Legal foundations, practice considerations, and a conceptual framework.

Pirelli, Gianni; Wechsler, Hayley; Cramer, Robert J.
Pirelli, G., Wechsler, H., & Cramer, R. J. (2015). 
Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 46(4), 250–257.


In the present article, we present a framework we developed for practitioners conducting psychological evaluations in civilian firearm ownership matters. These evaluations should be grounded in forensic psychology principles and those specifically related to forensic mental health assessment (FMHA); however, they represent a unique class of assessments with a particular set of considerations. The framework we developed is based on a number of empirically driven considerations and domains that reflect the contemporary bodies of literature associated with firearm-related issues in the context of mental illness, violence and suicide risk assessment, and FMHA more generally. We also present considerations for research and practice.


Excerpt from the viewable PDF at ResearchGate

We shave developed a framework that includes the consideration of 10 domains when conducting civilian firearm evaluations. Two domains address violence and suicide risk, two pertain to mental health and substance us concerns, and six represent firearm-specific factors. Practitioners may also find these domains useful to include in evaluations of applicants for positions requiring firearms, such as armored car drivers and security guards. With the appropriate modifications, these domains may be of additional use to consider in the context of evaluations, with law enforcement personnel as well, such as in fitness-for-duty evaluations.

1. Reason for seeking licensure/reinstatement

2. Experience with and exposure to firearms

3. Intent for use and storage

4. Knowledge of firearm safety procedures

5. Firearm competence and plans for continued education

6. Knowledge of and perspectives on local firearms regulations

7. Violence risk

8. Suicide risk

9. Mental health

10. Substance use

  • Edited June 28, 2020 1:34 pm  by  EdGlaze

From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member IconJun-29 6:38 AM 
To: All  (10 of 10) 
 2134.10 in reply to 2134.9 

Law enforcement and the criminal justice system provides a proven history of anti-social behavior by individuals.

It is far better to evaluate a person's fitness for gun ownership based on their known past behavior rather than dubious opinions about future behavior derived from questions asked by a uninformed and biased psychologist whose default would likely be an opposition to gun possession.


Related discussions: 

Want a Gun? Get a Prescription!

See a shrink, lose your gun



Mental-Health Examinations to Purchase a Gun? Yeah that is Freedom…NOT
Opinion by John Farnam
1 Mar 18


Thought Police Poster by Liberty Maniacs


“And what do Democrats stand for, when they are so ready to defame concerned citizens as “the mob,” a word betraying a Marie-Antoinette delusion of superiority to ordinary mortals?”
~~ Camille Paglia

“Mental-Health Evaluation,” prior to legally obtaining a gun? This is one of the proposals currently enjoying the light of day in the liberal press.

What other Constitutional Right requires you to undergo a “mental-health evaluation” before it can be exercised?

Must I pass a “mental-health evaluation” prior to writing a newspaper?

Several days ago, a group of self-proclaimed elitists on “The View” TV program smugly declared our current Vice-President “mentally ill,” because of his professed Christian faith. You can see where this is going. Christian faith is now to be considered prima-facie evidence of “mental illness?”

It is proposals like the above, always made to unhesitant cheers of Democrats, that drive Second Amendments advocates into the trenches, with firm resolve never to give an inch. We are too familiar with world history, and the pitiful fate, suffered over and over again, by disarmed populations.

The inescapable fact is that governments, ours and everyone else’s, ever demonstrate that they are ineffective in protecting citizens, often even unwilling, as we see with the FBI’s, and various social agencies’ endlessly repeated failure to thwart the FL school murderer.

Supposedly responsible government agencies possessed abundant information that should have easily enabled them to prevent the massacre. But, they collectively dropped the ball!

In light of the foregoing, it makes no sense to enact still more fluffy “feel-good” laws that the cynical in government have no intention of enforcing, nor that even can be enforced!

The only purpose for enacting such laws, far from furthering public safety, is to provide totalitarians with additional tools that the “political class” can bring to bear against law-abiding citizens, in order to transform our nation into a feudal kingdom, and us into slaves.

That scenario is hardly unprecedented!

“People never give up their liberties but under some delusion.”
~~ Edmund Burke

  • Edited June 29, 2020 12:21 pm  by  EdGlaze

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