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by Brian Puckett

August 26, 2002 -- Let's say 25 years ago you were upset over a divorce, or the loss of a child, or a job layoff, or you were suffering from severe stress or mood swings. You followed a friend's recommendation and went to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist diagnosed you as being afflicted with manic depression (today's "bipolar disorder") or with severe depression or some other psycho-term, and prescribed medication or even a hospital visit.

Now, 25 years later, because the state discovered your long-ago visit to the psychiatrist, you no longer have the right to own a gun. And one night a burglar breaks into your home. You hear him in the house and huddle unarmed in your bedroom, but when he eventually finds you, he decides to cut your throat with a knife -- or if you're a woman, he rapes you and then strangles you. You could have saved yourself if you'd had a gun handy, but the law says you can't because you were once "mentally ill".

If you think this couldn't happen in America, you're simply wrong. Consider these facts:

• The 1996 Lautenberg Act denies the right to own a gun to anyone convicted of any misdemeanor domestic violence abuse, no matter how minor, even if it occurred several decades ago and no punishment was imposed. Currently, any man or woman could be denied the right to own a gun for pleading guilty to spanking a child, slapping a husband, or pushing a spouse out of the way. This law has disarmed, it is believed, millions of citizens, including those in police forces nationwide, the armed forces, and agencies such as the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, Forest Service, etc. Citizens such as a Virginia gun collector who had to dump his entire $100,000 collection due to an argument with his wife over 20 years ago. At that time he was fined $10, and since then he has been an upright citizen, married 34 years to the same woman. 

The Lautenberg Act has been rightly challenged as "…violating states' rights . . . [and] violates all notions of constitutional Due Process and constitutes an ex post facto law." Yet six years later it is still on the books and is still enforced.

• Federal law prohibits adult citizens from possessing a firearm if he or she was ever convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year, or of any state offense, including misdemeanors and common-law offenses, punishable by more than two years -- even if the conviction was several decades ago and the sentence was suspended.

The range of offenses that carry a sentence of more than two years is broad, including blasphemy and disorderly conduct. This law also affects millions of American men and women, including Donald G. Arnold, a Vietnam veteran who was named a Maryland "Citizen of the Year" in 2000. Mr. Arnold, a private detective and security guard who helped Baltimore police fight drug dealers, was prohibited from renewing his gun permit because in 1969 he was convicted of a misdemeanor when a man noticed his Army jacket and called him a "baby killer", resulting in a fight.

• The Veterans Benefits Administration has turned over 90,000 names to the FBI for inclusion in the NICS "no sale" list. The names are those of veterans, not convicted felons, whose supposedly private medical records included an administrative finding that they were "mentally incompetent." Besides veterans diagnosed as having been afflicted with post-traumatic stress, the list also includes "incompetent surviving spouses, adult helpless children and dependent parents" of vets.

• Currently, Senator Charles Schumer of New York is pushing a bill that will provide over a billion dollars to link mental health records to the National Instant Check System (NICS), which screens potential gun buyers to make sure they're legally allowed to own guns. For the moment, the various psychiatric associations, whose members contribute heavily to the Democratic Party, have come out against this legislation on the basis of mental health and privacy issues (and no doubt because such legislation will severely impact members' income). But if the legislation is tweaked a bit to limit access to the records, they will cave in, bulldozed by ideology, votes, and propaganda citing "public safety" and "the children". Why do I think so?

Here's a 1993 statement from the American Psychiatric Association: "The American Psychiatric Association recommends that strong controls be placed on the availability of all types of firearms to private citizens." Get that? They'll go along in the end.

A National Institute of Mental Health policy statement says "…firearms should be difficult for all people to obtain, not just the mentally ill." Get that? They'll go along in the end.

A letter to Schumer from the CEO of the Mental Health Association of New York State says "We continue to believe that the real issue here is the number of guns in our society. We have too many guns on our streets, in our homes and in our schools." Get that? They'll go along in the end.

New Hampshire Democrats recently proposed a bill (SB 376) that would disarm for life anyone ever committed against his or her will for observation in a mental health facility. As noted by a spokesperson for Second Amendment Sisters, "A teenager committed for acting out under the influence of imbalanced hormones would, at the age of 30… not be able to own a gun… Anyone temporarily depressed for whatever reason, unable forever to own a gun, because they were committed to a mental health facility for treatment. Under RSA 135-C:17, mentioned in this bill, anyone who voluntarily places themselves in a mental facility -- for instance, to help them deal with a devastating event such as the illness or death of a loved one -- and is kept there longer by a physician, even if released after 24 hours, will never be able to own a gun for self-protection."

When the Democratic Party regains control of congress, the senate, and/or the presidency, it is quite easy to imagine them turning New Hampshire's proposed state law into a national law. Because of their anti-gun fanaticism, they may even expand the bill to force your doctor or psychiatrist to report to the government if you are diagnosed with any sort of mental problems -- even temporary difficulties. If you don't think this is possible, you are again wrong. Go back and read the incredible, un-American, unconstitutional laws they have already passed, and remind yourself that the Democrats brought us the 1934 National Firearms Act, the 1938 Federal Firearms Act, the 1968 Gun Control Act, the 1994 Crime Bill gun and magazine bans, and the 1996 Lautenberg Act. 

The Democrats may slack off temporarily now and then, but not in the long run, because that party is firmly in the control of radical socialists, one-worlders, and civilian disarmament fanatics, and will be for the foreseeable future. Their long-term goal, clearly and consistently shown by their past and present actions, is to completely disarm American citizens.

Of course the Republican Party is a fickle friend regarding the Second Amendment and the Constitution in general. But the Democrats are the clear and present danger regarding your right to defend yourself and your family. 

Here's a quote from current Democratic Senator from New York, Charles Schumer on NBC Nightly News, 11/30/93: "We're here to tell the NRA their nightmare is true! We're going to hammer guns on the anvil of relentless legislative strategy! We're going to beat guns into submission!"

Here's a quote from current Democratic senator from California, Dianne Feinstein, on 60 Minutes a week after the passage of the Brady Bill in 1993: "If I thought I could get the votes I'd have taken them all. That's right Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in."

Well, Mr. and Mrs. America, they're doing it right now. Piece by piece, a few million of us at a time, these politicians and their colleagues -- protected from the tottering Social Security System by a private pension arrangement, protected from criminals by 24-hour armed guards -- are taking away your right to defend yourself and family. 

Don't want to think about that? You should. Two of the four young girls whose abductions were highlighted by the news media this summer were taken by psychopaths right out of the girls' own homes -- just like the murdered Polly Klaas a few years ago. The police weren't there, and the police didn't protect them. If you find your own family threatened by criminals, you can bet it won't happen when the police are there. So how, exactly, will you protect them?

Maybe you won't be able to protect them, and they'll be raped, maimed, or killed -- as happens to thousands of Americans every year. You may find that thought terribly depressing, but I'd advise you not to tell any psychiatrists about it.