Firearms and the Mentally Ill

By Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Times looks at our patchwork system returning gun rights to the mentally ill, and finds the predictable assortment of horror stories. Among them:

David Neal Moon, 63, was involuntarily committed in 1995 after his struggles with schizoaffective bipolar disorder got so bad that he had threatened to commit suicide and was walking in circles around his house with a MAK-90 assault rifle, as if on guard duty, according to medical and court records and an interview with Cynthia Allison, who is now his ex-wife. A psychiatrist's report described him threatening to "bash in the face of his wife" and ranting about getting his guns so he could "shoot everybody." 

It also mentions a violent hair-pulling episode with his wife. He had not been committed since, but he had continued to struggle with his illness and was bad about taking his medication, Ms. Allison said. In an interview, Mr. Moon insisted he took his medication and was not mentally ill. Yet he alluded to his phone being tapped by the State Police and "by maybe the Pentagon." 

His firearms hearing in early 2009 in Amherst General District Court, where Mr. Moon showed up in military camouflage, lasted "about eight minutes," said Mr. Moon's lawyer, Gregory Smith, adding that he did not recall presenting any recent medical evaluation. Just over a month later, another judge granted Ms. Allison a protective order against her husband. The pair had split up, and Mr. Moon had been making veiled threats by phone and telling his children about demons in the walls, according to her court affidavit...

"Mentally Ill" is really broad term and I would not hold for a strict life-long ban. But the apparatus currently in play is really thin. 

Read the whole piece.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/07/firearms-and-the-mentally-ill/241433/