Civil rights and civil liberties lose ground along the beltway

Generally, and to make it look good, in the context of mental health care gun restriction laws only go after people who have come under some kind of court order. The criteria for civil commitment, after all, most typically has something to do with being construed ‘a danger to oneself or others’. The legislature of the state of Maryland though has outdone itself by enacting laws to restrict gun use among former patients who went into the hospital voluntarily.

The story, as reported at, bears the heading, Mental illness gun report usage questioned.

The gathering took place just hours after the Senate Judicial Proceedings committee passed Gov. Martin O’Malley’s gun bill with an amendment to restrict access to guns by voluntarily admitted patients.

Now the fact that former mental patients aren’t violent as a rule didn’t seem to phase the law makers behind this legislation one bit. Nor the fact that people labeled “mentally ill” are more likely to be the victims than the perpetrators of violent crime, by a 3 to 1 margin, according to one recent study.

Previously only those involuntarily hospitalized for mental illnesses were placed on a list of individuals who cannot purchase regulated guns in Maryland, according to the bill.

Personally I have a great deal of trepidation about restricting the constitutional rights of my fellow Americans, even when those fellow Americans have seen harder times than the average citizen.

This is certainly a shot in the arm for so called “stigma”. I could not see myself in good faith encouraging anybody to enter a psychiatric facility if it was going to mean, as it will in Maryland, a reduction of his or her rights as a citizen.

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