Constitutional rights and alleged mental infirmities
VOLOKH at law.ucla.edu
Wed Apr 18 11:45:35 PDT 2007
I appreciate Prof. Sheridan's proposal, which at least does seem
focused on regulating the especially dangerous rather than disarming
everyone. But I wonder what others, especially those who have thought
about law, civil rights, and mental health, think about this. As I
understand it, psychiatrists' estimation of people's level of upset or
depression is an art, not a science.
Perhaps schizophrenia can be diagnosed relatively precisely, but
who's depressed or upset (the latter, of course, not even being a
psychological term of art) is, as I understand it, something of a
judgment call. What do people think about what level of factfinding
should be required -- and can meaningfully be done, if the question is
really finding facts rather than just going entirely on people's
subjective judgment calls -- before a constitutional right (which it
pretty clearly is in Virginia) may be suspended, even temporarily?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Robert Sheridan [mailto:bobsheridan at earthlink.net]
> Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2007 8:10 AM
> To: Volokh, Eugene
> Cc: ConLaw Prof
> Subject: Re: What Kind of People We Are
> I'm willing to approach the matter of preventing massacres by
> loners from a different approach, whether they use guns or bombs.
> Here's the deal. The (dead) suspect in the VT case was sold a Glock
> 9 mm for $571 by a Roanoke gun dealer who appeared in a film
> clip on TV last evening saying that the young man looked
> normal and that no red flags appeared to the dealer. But the
> student's English professor had become so alarmed over his
> writings that she called the school counseling department,
> the police, and someone else, but that they could not
> intervene because he hadn't threatened anyone in particular,
> or specifically.
> Suppose we had a federally supported uniform mandatory
> reporting law, the way we do for professionals who deal with
> suspicions of child sexual abuse, requiring the reporting of
> people who under no
> circumstances, while upset, depressed, or deranged, should,
> temporarily at least, be permitted to possess firearms (or bombs or
> other WMD). Immediately a notice goes out to gun dealers.
> Immediately the local gendarmes perform a home visit, request
> consent to search, and interview the subject concerning
> suicidal ideation, homicidal ideation, and mass-homicidal
> ideation. No self-respecting farmer, guy who wants to defend
> his wife, the wife, and anyone else who likes guns, has
> anything to fear, at least unless and until they go nuts too,
> not that they ever could, of course.
> On Apr 18, 2007, at 12:22 AM, Volokh, Eugene wrote:
> > I don't know who exactly is evading the point here --
> but I am having
> > a hard time grasping Prof. Sheridan's point. He thinks it's OK for
> > farmers to have guns, because they aren't committing massacres. Is
> > that really going to be the law? "If you make a living
> farming, you
> > may have a gun, but not otherwise"? "If you are going to
> college, you
> > may not own a gun"? If someone can clarify this for me,
> I'd be much
> > obliged.
> > One could have a law banning possession of guns in
> college dorms, or
> > on college property altogether. In fact, that is Virginia law. It
> > didn't work in this instance.
> > To return to what I see as the point, which I indeed don't want
> > evaded: If people are allowed to have guns "as long as
> they keep them
> > on the farm" or as long as they keep them off campus, or what have
> > you, *mass murderers will not abide by this restriction*.
> > Eugene
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: Robert Sheridan [mailto:bobsheridan at earthlink.net]
> >> Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2007 11:41 PM
> >> To: Volokh, Eugene
> >> Cc: ConLaw Prof
> >> Subject: Re: What Kind of People We Are
> >> I give up on farmers having guns. So far as I know, the people
> >> committing massacres aren't farmers. They're high school
> and college
> >> boys and people taking anti-depressants (supposedly).
> People want to
> >> protect themselves with guns?
> >> Fine. Against whom? Known people who are threatening or
> >> assailants? College dorm students want or need guns? Since when?
> >> I still say there's a lot of evading the point going on here.
> >> rs
> >> sfls
> >> On Apr 17, 2007, at 10:59 PM, Volokh, Eugene wrote:
> >>> I don't get this. If farmers are allowed to have guns
> >> "as long as
> >>> they keep them on the farm," then the farmer who wants to
> >> embark on a
> >>> mass murder spree can just take the gun with him off the
> >> farm and to
> >>> his chosen scene of the crime. I say again: Prohibiting
> >>> doesn't mean stopping it, especially when the target of the
> >>> prohibition is willing to violate prohibitions against murder.
> >>> The only way to keep the farmer from taking the gun
> >> with him to the
> >>> scene of the crime is to prohibit guns altogether,
> confiscating the
> >>> 200+ million weapons that are out there. And that would mean that
> >>> Scott
> >>> and his family wouldn't be able to defend themselves, on
> >> the farm or
> >>> elsewhere.
> >>> Eugene
> >>> Robert Sheridan writes:
> >>>> Well, Scott, I don't see too many farmers going on rampages in
> >>>> colleges, high schools, post offices, or against
> >> presidents and rock
> >>>> stars, so you're off the hook there.
> >>>> They can have all the anti- varmint weapons that they
> need, in my
> >>>> view, as long as they keep them on the farm or out in
> the woods or
> >>>> the range. Fair enough? Oh, yes, and a personal
> >> protection firearm
> >>>> for the wife and kids to keep around the farmhouse and over the
> >>>> mantle, sorta like Daniel Boone
> >>> had....
> >>> _______________________________________________
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