by Daniel John Sobieski
The Obama administration has long tried to use mental health as a means, not to make us safer, but to deny us our gun rights under the Second Amendment.
Shredding the right to keep and bear arms has long been a goal of President Obama, the self-professed constitutional law professor who has long regarded the Constitution as an impediment to advancing his progressive agenda and acquiring as much federal power as possible. The rules he has announced are touted as “sensible gun restriction” are in fact a shameless gun grab that violate the Constitution and patient-doctor confidentiality.
On Monday, the Obama administration finalized a rule allowing your doctor to report your mental health status to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS):
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS or “the Department”) is issuing this final rule to modify the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule to expressly permit certain HIPAA covered entities to disclose to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) the identities of individuals who are subject to a Federal “mental health prohibitor” that disqualifies them from shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving a firearm. The NICS is a national system maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to conduct background checks on persons who may be disqualified from receiving firearms based on Federally prohibited categories or State law.Previously a doctor who disclosed such information could be subject of a lawsuit for malpractice or invasion of privacy. Now he or she becomes a federal agent turning those who seek a doctor’s care into threats to society from which guns must be grabbed. No one wants the truly mentally ill to possess firearms, but does seeing a psychiatrist for depression or taking anti-depressants, for example, make one a threat to public safety?
The Obama administration has long tried to use mental health as a means, not to make us safer, but to deny us our gun rights under the Second Amendment. Consider Obama’s selection of Dr. Vivek Murthy to be our Surgeon General, someone who firmly believes gun control is a health issue, something that can and should be used to gut out Second Amendment rights. As Investor’s Business Daily editorialized during his confirmation process:
Murthy's approach to attacking the Second Amendment has been to say private ownership of firearms is a public health issue. The 37-year-old Murthy is president and co-founder of the anti-gun group Doctors for America, which advocates ObamaCare and gun control laws. His group, which has been dubbed Docs vs. Glocks, has pushed Congress to ban "assault" weapons and "high capacity" magazines.Back in 2013, a piece of legislation called Toomey-Manchin proposed that doctors be allowed to unilaterally place a patient’s name in the background check system in a way that violated patient doctor confidentially under HIPAA as well as our Second Amendment Rights:
Doctors for America has promoted the invasion of privacy by doctors by advocating they ask patients if they have guns at home, including asking children if their parents own guns. He would have doctors counsel their patients against exercising their Second Amendment rights. One wonders how private that information would remain if entered into the medical records the government would be privy to under ObamaCare.
The Toomey-Manchin proposal contains a provision that lets a doctor add a patient to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) without ever telling the patient he or she has been added.Another new rule targets seniors and includes among those unable to purchase or possess a firearm those considered unable to manage their own finances. As the Los Angeles Times has reported, the Obama administration has long sought to make our Social Security records part of the background check system. The move would strip some four million Americans who receive payments though a “representative payee” of their gun rights. It would be the largest gun grab in U.S. history.
This would seem to violate doctor-patient confidentiality, due process and the presumption of innocence in one fell swoop.
As the Heritage Foundation reports, this "gun control legislation eliminates any (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) privacy protection for mental health records in connection with the NICS system, leaving only what privacy protection the attorney general cares to provide."
A potentially large group within Social Security are people who, in the language of federal gun laws, are unable to manage their own affairs due to "marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease."Keeping guns out of the hands of the truly mentally unstable is a worthy goal, but it should not be used as a cause for disarming those who sought needed medical help or senior systems who might need some assistance in paying their bills.
There is no simple way to identify that group, but a strategy used by the Department of Veterans Affairs since the creation of the background check system is reporting anyone who has been declared incompetent to manage pension or disability payments and assigned a fiduciary.
Stripping away their Second Amendment rights in the name of mental health would be a gross injustice that would not make us safer, but would merely create millions of unarmed victims for the next shooter with an agenda.
Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.
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