From my conversations with mental health professionals such as Dr. Robert Young, a psychiatrist who is a member of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, treatment is the key to allowing those suffering mental health issues to lead a full and productive life. A life that doesn’t involve seemingly random acts of unspeakable violence.
There is a bill before the California Assembly that may be voted on as early as today (AB 2607) that would greatly expand the list of people who may secretly petition a court to restrain your rights to possess a firearm. The list includes employers, coworkers, mental health workers, and employees of a high school or college. Could you imagine having the police arrive on your doorstep to confiscate your firearms due to a petition from a school janitor? Under this bill it could happen as the bill just says “employees”.
The bill is being opposed by a diverse coalition of groups including the Firearms Policy Coalition as well it should be. Their news release on the bill is below and it goes into more detail.
Sacramento,CA—Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) is proud to stand with mental health professionals and other civil rights organizations in opposition to Assembly Bill 2607, and is asking its members and supporters to contact the legislature to oppose this measure.
Authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), the bill massively expands a controversial law that has only been in place for 4 months. At present, current law permits family members and peace officers to petition a court, in secret, in order to restrain an individual from possessing firearms. AB 2607 compounds this measure by adding, to the list of qualified petitioners, employers, coworkers, mental health workers, and employees of a secondary or postsecondary school.
This would add thousands of people (including complete strangers) to the list of people who could petition a court to restrain a person from possessing firearms, triggering a warrant and armed law enforcement raids—without trial, conviction, or opportunity to defend oneself before a court. The secretive nature of this process, as well as the broad expansions in the measure, lead the American Civil Liberties Union to call it a
“significant threat to civil liberties” in a letter to the bill’s author.
Craig DeLuz, Director of Legislative & Public Affairs for the Firearms Policy Coalition commented, “Gun owners are being targeted for harassment in AB 2607 by virtually anyone they are connected to; disgruntled former colleagues or anti-gun college professors–but what is truly disturbing is that AB 2607 goes so far as to discourage gun-owners from seeking counseling or therapy–for fear of being raided by police and losing their gun rights. This bill causes a serious breach of trust between patients and healthcare professionals as well as students and instructors.”
Not only does this bill discourage free thought and free speech in places, such as University campuses, it actually discourages gun-owners from pursuing counseling due to fear of losing their gun rights in an unconstitutional surprise warrant service. “It’s irresponsible, it’s inexcusable, and it’s a shameless attack on the millions of responsible Californians who choose to exercise their civil rights while also being a responsible citizen and taking care of their physical and mental health,” said DeLuz.
The earliest AB 2607 can be voted on is Thursday, April 28, as it will be heard on the floor of the California State Assembly. It is opposed by mental health professionals such as the California Psychological Association, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) , Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) , National Rifle Association (NRA), and Gun Owners (GOC) of California. It is also opposed by the Public Defenders Association.
DeLuz concluded, “You know your bill is bad when FPC, NRA, ACLU and Public Defenders are all opposed. All of these organizations look out for the public good in their own way, and I’m proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with them in opposition to AB 2607.”
If you live in California and haven’t contact your Assembly member, do it now!