ATF Proposes Redefined Mental Health Rules To Infringe On Gun Rights

Mental Health
ATF Proposes Redefined Mental Health Rules To Infringe On Gun Rights
Grass Roots North Carolina
Grass Roots North Carolina

North Carolina –-( Nobody wants those who are a danger to themselves or others to possess firearms or other weapons.

Based on a long history of supporting gun control, it is clear that neither the head of ATF & DOJ, Attorney General Eric Holder or his boss, President Obama want even sane Americans to bear effective weapons that enable them to defend themselves and their families.

This makes it unsurprising that they are now proposing to expand the definition of “mental defective” and “committed to a mental institution” to capture more Americans, most of whom pose no danger to themselves or others. Spurred by Obama’s Executive Order, the ATF is now proposing changes that will increase the number of prohibited persons under federal law by expanding the statutory definitions of both “mental defective” and “committed to a mental institution.”

Expansion of “committed to an institution” is the most problematic feature of ATF’s proposal. In 1996 the ATF defined this phrase as:

A formal commitment of a person to a mental institution by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority. The term includes a commitment to a mental institution involuntarily, and for mental defectiveness or mental illness. It also includes commitments for other reasons, such as for drug use. The term currently does not include a person in a mental institution for observation or a voluntary admission to a mental institution.

The ATF rule changes will expand this definition to explicitly include both inpatient and outpatient commitments to treatment – making it conceivable every American that receives any sort of mental health assistance would become subject to having Second Amendment rights revoked, if mental health professionals turn to the courts to enforce their treatments.

This might include veterans with a history of PTSD, citizens who have suffered from ergot or other food poisoning, citizens suffering temporary depression following death of a family member or other tragedy that every person experiences from time-to-time.

ATF will claim that they have no intention of applying expanded definitions to cases such as these. Intentions don’t matter. Definitions do. Expansive definitions that are threats to fundamental liberty WILL be used by malicious regulators as soon as the political climate allows.

GRNC Submits Official Comment

ATF is currently soliciting comments on it’s proposed rulemaking. This comment period will remain open through April 7. GRNC Director of Legal Affairs, Edward H. Green, III, Esq., and GRNC President Paul Valone have submitted a detailed analysis of the problems with ATF’s plans. You can read their expose HERE.

GRNC Supporters Are Urged to Comment

ATF must consider citizen input before it makes the types of regulatory changes currently proposed. They have set-up a website (linked to below) to collect comments. We must take advantage of this opportunity to flood them with commonsense input. As mentioned above, the comment period will close April, 7, so time is of the essence. For the sake of the mental health of Americans, they need to focus on those who are a danger to themselves or others. Their current proposal will discourage citizens from seeking appropriate treatment for problems that are not related to dangerous behavior. Using the mental health system to revoke rights of those who are not dangerous is insane!


Submit a comment summarizing problems with ATF’s proposed rule (Docket No. ATF 51P): Definition of Adjudicated as a Mental Defective and Committed to a Mental Institution.

Help GRNC continue to defend your rights by joining and/or donating HERE or go to:

Contact Information

Use the “” web form to submit your comment HERE.

If your browser doesn’t take you immediately to the comment entry page, enter “ATF 51P” in the search box. Find the result, “Definition of Adjudicated as a Mental Defective and Committed to a Mental Institution” and click the “Comment Now!” button.


Use the copy/paste message below to complete the Comment section of the web form. You may need to search for ATF 51P.

Docket No. ATF 51P

Comment on proposed redefinition of “committed to a mental institution”

The ATF proposes to dramatically expand the interpretation of the statutory phrase “committed to a mental institution” from its common-sense meaning of inpatient commitment to a mental health facility, to also include – without limitation or differentiation of any kind – all forms of outpatient commitment to mental health services.

Rather than the indiscriminate and overbroad sweep of making every subject of an outpatient commitment a prohibited person under the GCA, the statutory phrase “committed to a mental institution” should be interpreted to encompass individuals found to pose a danger to themselves or others, and upon whom some form of mental health treatment is judicially imposed.

Revoking rights of those directed to find treatment on an outpatient basis will discourage citizens from seeking intervention, generally harming the mental health of Americans.

You may think that expansive and imprecise definitions are not a problem because ATF does not intend to apply them broadly. History repeatedly demonstrates that if a rule can be interpreted to restrict freedom, it will be. Americans have a fundamental right to keep and bear arms. Any suspension of this right must remain subject to the most careful due process and strictest scrutiny possible. Restrictions must be tailored to directly address the problem at hand – which in this case is those deemed a threat to themselves or others.

It is the goal of every sane American to prevent dangerous people from possessing weapons. Expanding definitions does not directly address this issue, and creates other problems that will further degrade the US mental health system. It is a poor approach that will do more damage than good. This proposal should be rejected.

About: Grass Roots North Carolina is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to preserving the freedoms guaranteed us by the Bill of Rights. Our main focus is the right to keep and bear arms. GRNC was central to drafting and passing North Carolina’s concealed handgun law and since that time has continued to push for improvements to gun laws.

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Check the UNLIMITED privacy waiver provided by IL contract lobbyist Todd Vandermyde and the hack lawyers at NRA for Rep. Brandon Phelps HB183 carry bill:
“a waiver of the applicant’s privacy and
confidentiality rights and privileges under ALL federal and state laws…” As a bonus from Vandermyde along with Duty to Inform, the IL State Police can snoop into medical records and IRS returns, then share them with the feds!
Chris Cox & Chuck Cunningham at NRA/ILA should give their boy wonder a raise!

Joshua Prince, Esq.

Please do not submit form responses, as the ATF can dismiss them. The sample is great but modify it based on your own experiences and position. Further, PLEASE ask ATF to clarify that an individual, who is under 18 years of age and adjudicated or committed to mental institution should NOT be included in the prohibition of 922(g)(4). I hope to have Firearms Industry Consulting Group’s comment finalized in the next few days.


How can a cabal of insane misfits like the BATF&E judge anyone insane . They are the most useless organization in the federal government right after the FDA .

Ronald Chappell

Cheer up, The Russians made many good friends in the gulags.


I would suggest using those types of regulations on the agents and the so-called leaders (not) of the ATF. These people are out of control and dream up ways to persecute the Amerikan weapon owners…. need to check out the bad boyz and see how they measure up to these so-called reasonable regulation of blind, crippled, and crazy feral agents.


I recently took some continuing education training (an annual license requirement for most mental health and medical professionals) in the area of “Forensic Psychology” given by the leading person in the field today. One of the most striking things I learned was that we have AT BEST (almost all studies done were worse) a 40 percent accuracy rate in predicting future violence in individuals we evaluate psychologically. Flipping a coin would be more accurate! When you couple that miserable rate with the fact that the vast, vast, vast, majority of persons who suffer from a mental disorder at some time… Read more »


So, if someone is really upset or distraught over a death or similar event and they own guns, would they seek out help or not for fear of losing their rights and expensive property? If not then what happens when their mental health deteriorates?


How many in Congress fall short of the proposed “Redefined Mental Health Rules”?


quacks and now the ATF practicing medicine….both are ‘mentally ill’ and unlawful….but as this country prepares for internal strife….all laws are treated as inconvenient and bothersome by the ‘enforcers’….and many in ‘government’….imho


If one looks for “mental defective” in the index to “Diagnostic Criteria from DSM-IV-TR” published by the American Psychiatric Association, there is nothing there. In other words, psychiatrists have no idea what the law is talking about! Any board, court, commission, or other lawful authority (who need have no medical training or experience and may have no requirement to follow due process of law) can deprive a citizen of a fundamental right protected by the constitution. This system is not just broken. It is fundamentally defective as it is.