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FBI to create national mental illness databank?

Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by Anasazi23, Apr 25, 2007.

  1. Anasazi23

    Anasazi23 Your Digital Ruler Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    In the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings, where a judge found him unfit to own a handgun for psychiatric reasons, the FBI is considering, through a proposal, that there be maintained a national database of mental health, or lack thereof.

    Naturally, the NRA is opposing such a measure.

    Here's a link to the article:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18298126/site/newsweek/

    Thoughts?

    Opinions?
     
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  3. whopper

    whopper Former jolly good fellow Physician Faculty 10+ Year Member

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    Don't know what to think. I am equally bothered by this and thinking its a good idea.

    I'm not trying to sound like "I told you so" (and I never debated this with anyone on this board), but another board and a bunch of friends I got are pro-gun--to the point where I think its a little too much. When the waiting periods were passed, they were upset, my opinion was give it a chance.

    However I later learned that waiting periods to keep mentally ill from getting guns have no teeth. HIPAA does not allow mental health records to be put into the waiting period check up.

    I thought that eventually, someone with mental illness was going to get some guns and do what happened in VTech, and this was years ago. I just never got around to the issue again because I knew it wasn't going to happen for years.

    I am bothered because several people get a mental illness dx that do not have it, thanks to lazy over overconcerned doctors and other health workers. I've seen numerous BS cases of Bipolar, and should these people want a gun--they're going to have it held against them.

    I'd be more in favor of a database if there were ways to get off the database, or there were filters, e.g. a pt had to be commitable to get into the database.

    Another problem is this reminds me of Nazi like registries. Mental Health should be no one's business but the person so long as they are not harmful to themself or others. What if it required anyone with a mental illness to be on it? Society already sees mentally ill people as "defective" on several levels.
     
  4. silas2642

    silas2642 silas2642 10+ Year Member

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    It's ridiculous and stigmatizing-- out of the millions of Americans with mental illness, ONE person chooses to shoot up a school, killing 32 people, and all of a sudden everyone is willing to spend 1.1 billion on a national database that contains the privilidged information on the mental health of patients? Could this be a more disastrous idea? Why don't we take these funds and spend them on treatment on the mentally ill instead? Patients are already hesitant enough as it is to seek help, why not place another barrier to treatment by making them fearful that their name is going to be placed in a national databank?

    The fact of the matter is, if someone wants to get a gun, he's going to get a gun. Cho didn't have to walk to his nearest gun store to buy a Glock (spelling?) 9mm, he could have just as easily bought one illegally off the street.
     
  5. Dartos Vader

    Dartos Vader Illegal in 47 states 7+ Year Member

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    That's why I think every state should allow people to conceal and carry a handgun. Not allowing this is disarming law abiding citizens. Criminals get guns whether it's legal or not. If there had been some gun toting citizens in that school the shooting rampage would have been quite a bit shorter. I agree with the above post. The VT shooter spent months collecting just the right weaponry and ammuntion. I'm sure he would have gone through illegal channels to acquire them. Why give paranoid patients a real reason to be paranoid?
     
  6. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    You know, even if it works I'd oppose it because it's too much of an intrusion into people's lives. How can we trust that the FBI will use this database solely to determine who can and can't buy guns? We can't, and it'll just be enough step in discriminating against people with mental illnesses. Because of the danger of this list, I think more and more people will refuse to seek treatment or lie to their doctors about any signs of mental illnesses. I know that I would be very hesitant to ever, ever discuss mental health issues with anyone if I knew that such a list existed, and I don't ever want to buy a gun so it's not about that.

    Also, it's ludicrous to clump all mental illnesses together. So a person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder is as much of a danger to society as a Paranoid Schizophrenic? It's like lumping osteoarthritis and gallstones together just because they're both physical diseases.
     
  7. lloyd braun

    lloyd braun 2+ Year Member

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    This is an interesting issue with ethical and public health implications. On the one hand, we want to protect society as much as possible from violent and dangerous people. On the other hand, a patient's right to confidentiality must be upheld most of the time and violated only in serious circumstances.

    I actually think I would be in favor of having a national database for people who have been so seriously mentally ill to have been civilly committed. However, I think there should be some way to be removed from the list after a certain period of time, once a person has shown with reasonable evidence that their mental illness is under control through means of medication compliance, no hospitalizations, etc. In other words, I think it is acceptable to temporarily suspend such civil liberties as gun ownership in order to protect the general public. Of course, I am not naive, and I do not think that such a database would totally prevent seriously mentally ill people from obtaining guns, but I do think it would make it more difficult, which should translate into improved public safety.

    Some posters have suggested that the FBI could not be trusted to use this information solely for the purpose of preventing people from obtaining guns. How else might they use it?
     
  8. lloyd braun

    lloyd braun 2+ Year Member

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    Sep 30, 2006
  9. Encephalopathy

    Encephalopathy 5+ Year Member

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    In theory, a reasonable idea. But it's a knee-jerk reaction to a single event will have far-reaching consequences without even the assurance that it would have stopped the original event.

    This is more paperwork and legal responsibility for psychiatrists. It limits the civil liberties and privacy of the mentally ill. There are monetary costs. Every system will have errors that significantly affect people's lives. A person who planned like the VT killer will find a way to get a weapon regardless.

    The main benefit would be as a placebo - increased peace of mind for those who worry about things like this.
     
  10. Adam_K

    Adam_K Indentured 5+ Year Member

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    Off to the plantation
    Actually, the opposition is not from the NRA, who are in favor. It is from the hard core Gun Owners of America (google them) who don't believe in ANY second amendment restrictions. More significantly, it appears that our own APA is against such a measure.

    The debate grew hotter still today when an official of the American Psychiatric Association denounced the proposed bill sponsored by Dingell and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, Democrat of New York. The measure would provide $1.1 billion in funding to the states and local courts systems over the next three years to computerize records of mental-health orders and commitments so they can be entered into the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, a database that is used for background checks of prospective gun buyers.

    “This looks like an enormously expensive, extremely intrusive, extremely stigmatizing approach to a tragic situation,” Dr. Nada Stotland, vice president of the psychiatric association, the largest group representing the nation’s psychiatrists, said of the McCarthy bill. “It is unconscionable to restrict people’s civil rights because they have a medical illness.”

    In his interview with NEWSWEEK, LaPierre brushed aside suggestions that measures such as the McCarthy bill constituted a new form of “gun control” as the Gun Owners of America have charged. He said the NRA, which has long been a powerful opponent of gun control, has always supported denying gun rights to those who are mentally “defective”—one of the categories of individuals who are banned from owning firearms under the 1968 Gun Control Act.

    Politics makes for interesting bedfellows.
     
  11. Anasazi23

    Anasazi23 Your Digital Ruler Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    One of the strong points I learned during my forensic psychiatry rotation was that much the legal system, and our creation of such policies, is not to better the victim, but to provide the illusion that the system is modern, just, and has pulled itself out of the middle ages.

    It seems to me like this is what is happening. MUrders will still happen with handguns, but it will look like "we've done something," akin to ensuring that a defendant is competent to stand trial. The latter case being the medieval-type image of dragging some lunatic into court and reading him his sentence while he isn't able to comprehend it.
     
  12. OldPsychDoc

    OldPsychDoc Senior Curmudgeon Physician Moderator Emeritus SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    5,970
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    Left of Center
    Sir Bedevere: There are ways of telling whether she is a witch.
    Peasant 1: Are there? Oh well, tell us.
    Sir Bedevere: Tell me. What do you do with witches?
    Peasant 1: Burn them.
    Sir Bedevere: And what do you burn, apart from witches?
    Peasant 1: More witches.
    Peasant 2: Wood.
    Sir Bedevere: Good. Now, why do witches burn?
    Peasant 3: ...because they're made of... wood?
    Sir Bedevere: Good. So how do you tell whether she is made of wood?
    Peasant 1: Build a bridge out of her.
    Sir Bedevere: But can you not also build bridges out of stone?
    Peasant 1: Oh yeah.
    Sir Bedevere: Does wood sink in water?
    Peasant 1: No, no, it floats!... It floats! Throw her into the pond!
    Sir Bedevere: No, no. What else floats in water?
    Peasant 1: Bread.
    Peasant 2: Apples.
    Peasant 3: Very small rocks.
    Peasant 1: Cider.
    Peasant 2: Gravy.
    Peasant 3: Cherries.
    Peasant 1: Mud.
    Peasant 2: Churches.
    Peasant 3: Lead! Lead!
    King Arthur: A Duck.
    Sir Bedevere: ...Exactly. So, logically...
    Peasant 1: If she weighed the same as a duck... she's made of wood.
    Sir Bedevere: And therefore...
    Peasant 2: ...A witch!

    (Only 97 days until Spamalot!) :D
     
  13. Dartos Vader

    Dartos Vader Illegal in 47 states 7+ Year Member

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    Peasant 1: Here comes a king.
    Peasant 2: 'Ow do you know he's a king?
    Peasant 1: He hasn't got sh$% all over him.
     
  14. OldPsychDoc

    OldPsychDoc Senior Curmudgeon Physician Moderator Emeritus SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    5,970
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    Left of Center
    The persons responsible for this thread hijacking have been sacked.
     
  15. Anasazi23

    Anasazi23 Your Digital Ruler Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

  16. OldPsychDoc

    OldPsychDoc Senior Curmudgeon Physician Moderator Emeritus SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    5,970
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    I have had it--it was OK, but didn't really live up to the label...

    So, being NYC-based, did you get to see "Spamalot"?
    I've got tickets for the touring production this summer, but would've loved to see it with the original cast!
     
  17. Anasazi23

    Anasazi23 Your Digital Ruler Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    I'm not much of a broadway guy, but that one I did want to see. Ironically, I was offered tickets late last year, but I chose the free tickets to the Yankee playoff game instead.

    The show was sold-out for a long time, and I think only relatively recently has it become more accessible. Maybe some time soon.
     
  18. Dartos Vader

    Dartos Vader Illegal in 47 states 7+ Year Member

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    :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
     
  19. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Maybe it would reach a point where employers could access it when doing a background check for employees? If any random gun seller can look at it, I doubt it'd be that closed off. Maybe colleges could look at it to determine who to admit. Maybe airlines could get access to it and say people with mental illnesses can't fly because they pose too much of a threat or that people with mental illnesses all need to go through extra screening before getting on a plane. Honestly, I don't know, but if it's out there I feel that more people will likely access than need to access it.
     
  20. Darth Asclepius

    Darth Asclepius Dark Lord of the Sith 5+ Year Member

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    Remember how the VA computer was stolen with millions of veterans' info including SSN, date of birth, etc? http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12916803/ It's certainly conceivable that something like that could happen to the database of the mentally ill.

    I'm more concerned that as Doctor Bagel pointed out, it's a slippery slope. I am worried that it will keep people from seeking help when they need it, for fear they will be put into the database.
     
  21. Anasazi23

    Anasazi23 Your Digital Ruler Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Maybe it would increase our business by requiring psychiatric clearance prior to authorization to purchase a gun. Sound like a good moonlighting job.
     
  22. Abby Normal

    Abby Normal New Member 5+ Year Member

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    Chris Rock's idea sounds pretty good:

    “We need some bullet control. Man, we need to control the bullets, that's right. I think all bullets should cost $5,000. $5,000 for a bullet. You know why? 'Cause if a bullet costs $5,000 there'd be no more innocent bystanders. That'd be it. Every time someone gets shot, people will be like, ‘Damn, he must have did something. ‘$heet, they put $20,000 worth of bullets in his a$$.’
    People would think before
    they killed somebody, if a bullet cost $5,000.
    ‘Man, I would blow your freaking head off, if I could afford it.’
    ‘I'm gonna get me another job,
    I'm gonna start saving some money...and you're a dead man. You better hope I can't get no bullets on layaway.’

    So even if you get shot by a stray bullet...
    you won't have to go to no doctor
    to get it taken out.
    Whoever shot you
    would take their bullet back.
    ‘I believe you got my property.’”
     
  23. Dartos Vader

    Dartos Vader Illegal in 47 states 7+ Year Member

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    That man is full of wisdom. Check youtube for his skit called "how not to get your @$$ kicked by the police" My brother who's a cop loves this one.
     
  24. Anasazi23

    Anasazi23 Your Digital Ruler Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

  25. danzx8

    danzx8 5+ Year Member

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    I think guns should be taken off the market completely. Not only for mentally ill people. In Britain, even police doesn't have guns. I mean they do have it in the police car, but don't carry it all the time. And, you know, the lifie is going on there, and in most of the other countries in the world, without almost monthly news of college or school shootings.
     
  26. Adam_K

    Adam_K Indentured 5+ Year Member

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    Off to the plantation
    All that serves to do is to disarm the law abiding citizen. BTW, have you noticed that none of these psychotic gunmen have ever attacked a military barracks or a police station?

    Even in their psychotic state, they appear to appreciate the odds of slaughtering unarmed innocents in gun free zones (like VT, where law abiding concealed weapons holders could not bring their firearms) versus, you know, places where there are people who can actually shoot back.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1440764.stm

    A new study suggests the use of handguns in crime rose by 40% in the two years after the weapons were banned.

    The research, commissioned by the Countryside Alliance's Campaign for Shooting, has concluded that existing laws are targeting legitimate users of firearms rather than criminals.

    The ban on ownership of handguns was introduced in 1997 as a result of the Dunblane massacre, when Thomas Hamilton opened fire at a primary school leaving 16 children and their teacher dead
     

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