I meant to get this out last week, but things were entirely too busy, so I’ll have to get it out now, with less analysis than I’d like, so people have a chance to make it in before the midnight deadline. ATF is proposing to alter the definition of what counts for the purposes of being adjudicated “mental defective” and “committed to a mental institution.” This has special concern for Pennsylvania gun owners, given ATF has begun counting 302 commitments for the purposes of such adjudication. The 302 commitment has absolutely no due process requirements at all. All it takes is basically a cop and the attending physician at the loony bin and you’ve got yourself a 302 prohibition both at the state and federal level.
While the comment period closes on Monday, April 7, 2014, at midnight, we are requesting that our readers review our Comment, which can be downloadedhere, and submit Comments in support, especially in relation to 1) excluding those individuals, who where committed under the age of 18 from the purview of Section 922(g)(4); 2). excluding those individuals, who, post-commitment, served the state or federal government in a capacity where they were provided a firearm; 3). excluding those individuals, who, post-commitment, obtained Federal Explosives Relief; and 4). excluding any commitment that lack all of the due process guarantees. You can find our arguments relating to these issues and others in Section V (pg 34) of our Comment.
I’d also remind folks that this isn’t about whether or not mental health prohibitions should apply at all, that’s an argument that has to be made to Congress and not ATF, but we want ATF to interpret Section 922(g)(4) in a manner that’s respectful of due process and doesn’t strip the rights of Americans who present no danger to themselves or others.