On January 16, 2013, Obama signed 23 Executive Orders pertaining to gun control. At least 7 of these orders directly relate to Mental Health and Guns. The Executive Orders, as they were released, are very simple, one sentence descriptions. This affords an incredibly broad interpretation which establishes potential for some very real and serious unintended consequences. Namely, your Constitutionally protected right to Keep and Bear Arms and the inability of those who need care to feel safe enough to obtain it..
Any reasonable person would agree that we, as a society, do not want guns in the hands of those adjudicated mentally defective by a Judge or the seriously mentally ill who's past or present behavior indicates they pose a real threat to safety. Let's look deeper into the meaning, implementation and potential consequences of these various orders.
2. Address legal restrictions related to states sharing date under Health Insurance Portability Act (HIPA). Opinion: Contributes towards centralized health care database that will be used to authorize gun purchases. In an era where we find it difficult to even become informed about medical conditions with spouses and children, this would now afford the Government the ability access health records about you that even your closest family members can't. This establishes a dangerous presidence that sets up opportunity for abuse and invasions of privacy.
4. Direct the attorney general to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks. Opinion: Broadens the categories of people to be investigated, who may have their privacy unknowingly invaded without cause, resulting in their subsequent entry into a rapidly growing, Federally controlled system of databases that is without over site control.
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes. Opinion: Clearly designed to identify Gun Owners for increased mental health scrutiny. Unfortunately, this leaves Patients/Gun Owners vulnerable to those who may view guns as a general threat to safety, regardless of your mental state or whose hands they're in. Asking this question about someone who's demonstrating violent or threatening tendencies is one thing, but simply asking the question without benefit of that condition has potential to unfairly and unjustly compromise a Patients Constitutionally protected Rights and reduces the confidence Patients have in being able to speak freely with the Doctors.
17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities. Opinion: Health Care providers are already REQUIRED to make notification and take action if they believe any Patient poses a threat to self or others! This requirement is clearly explained as a matter of ethics to all new Patients. References to prosecution of Health Care Providers who fail by some standard to meet this requirement may very well lead to unjustified over reporting and again, restrict the free exchange of thoughts and feelings with Mental Health Professionals.
20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover. Opinion: Prima facie, I don't see a downside to this as it may help provide greater access to Mental Health Care. However, I am suspicious of this as Dr's should already know what's covered and not covered under various insurance plans. Without any additional details, it's difficult to reach a definitive conclusion on potential effects this may have.
21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges. Opinion: This ties Obama Care to this collectivist effort to use Mental Health as a justification for de facto gun control using the ACA as a vehicle for implementation.
22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations. Opinion: Gun Owners voiced concerns on this back in June 2012. Obama Care would be used to flag potential gun owners and disqualify them from purchasing guns. “Centralizing these medical records will allow the FBI to troll a list of Americans for ailments such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to deny them their gun rights, in the same way that the Veterans Administration has already denied more than 150,000 veterans their right to bear arms," said Dr. Larry Gelman of Northern Illinois Counseling Associates in Crystal Lake.
It is estimated that we currently have approximately 110 Million Gun Owners in America. Approximately 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older, about on in four adults, suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year. (1)
This would suggest that approximately 28.82 MILLION Gun Owners have some form of mental disorder in any given year.
The Pentagon has reported that Suicide Deaths exceed Combat Deaths, with 349 active-duty troops having killed themselves in 2012. This is up more than 15 percent from 2011 despite renewed efforts by the military to stem the suicide rate. How many troops have just been given a sentence, when they feel they can't get help without jeopardizing the very RIGHTS they fought to defend????
All told, 9,087,000 Military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam War, with approximately 2,594,000 US Servicemen actually serving in Vietnam itself.
In the decade since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, 2,333,972 American military personnel had been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan or both, as of Aug. 30,2011. Of that total, 1,353,627 have since left the military and 711,986 have used VA health care between fiscal year 2002 and the third-quarter fiscal year 2011.
Simple math shows that nearly 5 Million Veterans have served in Combat zones from Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, this does not include service in many other hot spots around the globe.
Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs Estimates that PTSD occurs in the following percentages:
- 11-20% of Veterans that served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
- 10% of Desert Storm Veterans.
- 30% of Vietnam Veterans.
This means that we have currently have approximately 1.1 Million Veterans suffering from PTSD.
(People who suffer from PTSD often suffer from nightmares, flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, and feeling emotionally numb. These symptoms can significantly impair a person's daily life.
PTSD is marked by clear physical and psychological symptoms. It often has symptoms like depression, substance abuse, problems of memory and cognition, and other physical and mental health problems. The disorder is also associated with difficulties in social or family life, including occupational instability, marital problems, family discord, and difficulties in parenting.)
My question is now very simple. How many of these Veterans and Gun Owners are now UNLIKELY to FEEL SAFE enough to SEEK HELP, IF they feel their 2nd Amendment Rights may be compromised in the process???
How many of these Veterans and Gun Owners have we sentenced to a lifetime of torment and needless suffering because they don't feel SAFE seeking Mental Health Treatment? The President chose to ramrod his agenda down the throats of this Country without responsible consultation with Mental Health Professionals, just as he's shown the propensity to do with every other issue. This could have been prevented by presenting very clear and concise guidance defined within specific parameters. This would have reassured patients and allowed them to feel safe and confidential in their communication with their providers; who are ALREADY REQUIRED to take action and notify proper authorities IF an individual presents a threat to themselves or others.
How many Law Enforcement Officers, seeing the very worst in society on a daily basis, will also be prevented from getting help? After all, if you can't own a gun, it's kind of hard to be a policeman.
Since these Executive Orders were passed, I have had the opportunity to speak at some length with two Veterans recently discharged from Active Duty. One was a Veteran of the U.S. Army and the other from the U.S. Marine Corps. Being a Veteran myself, they were able to share with me that they've been struggling with issues related to PTSD. Both Veterans indicated that while they had considered going to Veterans Administration for help, but after careful thought, neither of them were now willing to go and potentially jeopardize their 2nd Amendment Rights.
THAT MAKES ME FURIOUS!
These men need help in dealing with their thoughts, feelings and emotions, related to Military Service. They deserve better than this, both as Veterans and as human beings! You do this at a time when Suicides in the Military are higher than combat deaths??? We, the American People, deserve better than this!
Congratulations Mr President. Your selfish, emotionally driven, ill thought out, left winged agenda has now sentenced MILLIONS to UNNECESSARY pain, anguish, distress and despair. You have singlehandedly done more to set back Mental Health Treatment than anything on record, even when Professionals were WARNING YOU not to do it! Your dictatorial approach will now CREATE MORE VIOLENCE AND PAIN than it ever had the potential to reduce! Perhaps if you had ever served your Country in Uniform, rather than serving the likes of a few, you'd have had greater incite into the consequences of your choices.
My heart goes out to my Brothers-in-Arms....Close Ranks again, be there for each other and never leave anyone behind....We'll make it through this and anything put before us. Never Quit!
(1) Kessler RC, Chiu WT, Demler O, Walters EE. Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of twelve-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Archives of General Psychiatry, 2005 Jun;62(6):617-27.