Psychiatric Diagnoses Study Casts Reasonable Doubt on Red Flag Laws

It’s a madhouse. A maaadhouse! Without requiring actual and comprehensive due process protections, allowing shifting psychiatric opinions to be the sole determinant for disarmament is a lunatic idea. (Francisco Goya: Casa de Locos)

U.S.A. – -( “Psychiatric diagnoses are ‘scientifically meaningless’ in treating mental health,” a summary analysis of University of Liverpool research by StudyFinds reported Tuesday. The new findings are published in the American Psychiatric Association’s “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” which “is considered the definitive guide for mental health professionals, and provides descriptions for all mental health problems and their symptoms.”

What are they saying here?

Essentially, “a significant amount of overlap” means disorder diagnoses “tell us little to nothing about the individual patient and what type of treatments they will need [and] this diagnostic labeling approach is ‘a disingenuous categorical system.’”

Or as lead researcher Dr. Kate Allsopp concludes:

“Although diagnostic labels create the illusion of an explanation they are scientifically meaningless and can create stigma and prejudice.”

Liberty advocates concerned about due process-denying gun confiscations empowered by “red flag laws” should see the danger of this, when even the experts can’t agree on the basics. Add to that the American Psychiatric Association’s own “Position Statement on Firearm Access, Acts of Violence and the Relationship to Mental Illness and Mental Health Services.”

Its advocacy platform includes registration-enabling background checks, “smart” guns, storage requirements, “gun-free” zones, doctor-patient boundary violations, and tax-funded anti-gun “studies,” all outside the scope of the training and credentialing of those making these proposals.

Yet despite all that, APA admits:

“Only a small proportion of individuals with a mental disorder pose a risk of harm to themselves or others.”

In other words, they can’t justify their political biases scientifically but they still want the government to pass citizen disarmament laws over everybody. That’s even though they admit the problem is minimal and the latest findings conclude what they’ve been doing all along stigmatizes.

That’s just half the equation. Let’s not forget the back end to disarming someone due to psychiatric evaluations: How will rights be restored when there is no longer a compelling mental health reason to deny them?

The answer is they probably won’t be, although you won’t hear that from the gun-grabbers or from our so-called “gun rights leaders” looking to appease the mob by offering “mental health” concessions.

Ask yourself: Who are the psychiatric evaluators, the risk management administrators and the insurers willing to subject themselves to malpractice liabilities should a “disabled” person they later proclaim “fit” to once more own a gun be misdiagnosed and then shoots someone? The default bias – not to mention the financial and licensing incentives – will be to “err on the side of caution.”

So should we just ignore crazy people and let them all have guns? Wouldn’t that be just plain nuts?

What’s really insane is taking firearms away from a known danger and then leaving him free to stalk among us. It’s not like he couldn’t get more guns, as Chicago homicide headlines prove to us every weekend, or choose other ways to bring the hurt.

The hard but undeniable truth is, anyone who can’t be trusted with a gun can’t be trusted without a custodian. In order to involuntarily segregate someone from society, full due process and proof beyond a reasonable doubt are called for. The say-so of motivated third parties who may have a conflict of interest may be enough to get an investigation started, but that’s all.

It’s also true that we can’t just ignore mental health, but diagnoses and treatments need to be acknowledged as tools of a still-developing and thus inconclusive art. And they must absolutely be separated from political agendas.

About David Codrea:David Codrea
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

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Get Out

IMOA these anti-gun red flag laws are an end around the US Constitution and BoR as the laws clearly violate so many constitutional rights. The worst is that anyone can call in anonymously and report you as a threat even if you didn’t own any firearms. You and your family could be put in serious danger by being SWATTED just because someone didn’t like your bumper sticker, saw you take a gun case out of your car after coming from the range, or because someone wants to make an example of you. The recipe for abuse of these laws as… Read more »


Talked to a guy on a gun blog site several years ago. He related the gun confiscation story about his father who had mild dementia. He liked to take his guns out of the safe and look at them. He never loaded them or pointed them at anyone. One of the daughters filed an order of incompetence against him and the police came and they confiscated his guns without giving a list or receipt of what was taken. No one even gave the family a chance to move the guns. His father had over 100 firearms from an original 1863… Read more »


Maybe someone can answer – the States that passed these draconian red flag laws, what happens when a citizen’s firearms are damaged, or lost (even stolen) during the process of confiscation! Some collector firearms in pristine condition, valued in the thousands, even tens of thousands, one scratch, or even a cylinder turn of a wheel leaving a mark, could considerably reduce the value, or lost, where a total loss is realized by the firearm owner, who then makes the firearm owner whole once their case is dismissed. Or is it to bad so sad firearm owner – sucks to be… Read more »


the horrid and disgusting TRUTH is there IS no such safeguard in any of the RF laws I’ve read, including the one in my state. THEY preemptively seize the guns, they are gone, and what happens to then ain’t no nun a youre nemmine. WHY? Because we are the STATE and thus we CAN. Most of those laws have lawsuits trying to overturn them, they are all essentially takings wiht no due process or compensaion, both guaranteed and mandated by the US COnstitution, which every state, and every politician, swears to uphold and implement. I’d like to see an YUGE… Read more »

Mike H

I have long thought that there is something about high political offices that attracts an inordinate number of psychopaths and sociopaths.


Good article, David. I think GOA is working on a case of red flag law in Pa. currently. It will be interesting to see how this turns out. These laws are not Constitutional and have so many infringements it could mean more than just impact of taking someones guns without investigation. It could open the flood gates to many infringements on our freedoms, not just the second amendment. All this from our employees that we pay well so they can make laws against us. Is law enforcement bound to act on these laws or can they use common sense in… Read more »


Unfortunately they are real laws until the court strikes them down. You still will be sitting in jail, financially ruined. California is notorious for passing laws that are struck down but continue to re-pass them. No matter how many times they are overturned the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hand out the same unconstitutional decision time after time. There appears to be no consequences for defying previous Supreme Court decisions.

Wild Bill

, They are not real laws. They are acts of Congress (or legislature) backed up by force of arms. And of the levels of the federal or state courts can nullify them. The relevant executive branch, at several levels, can refuse to enforce them. Prosecutors can bolo pro se qui, Jurys can nullify them.
Yes, you will be in jail momentarily. Post bail and keep appealing until every witness, policeman, or disgruntled accuser is too old to remember.
As to the 9th Cir., Yep, they are long past their term of good behavior.

Mike H

The psychiatric field tries to present itself as a hard science. It is nothing of the sort. For example, in chemistry, correlation between cause and effect for an assay requires nearly 100% for the test method to be considered valid. In psychiatric tests, they are lucky to get a 30% correlation. People are too complex and have way too many variables to be measured in the same manner as a chemical. We are not subject to materialistic determinism and even the attempt to quantify a response to a given situation engenders something very similar to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in… Read more »


Should those who legislate or advocate for 2nd Amendment restrictions be subject to mental health evaluations as rigorous as those they demand be imposed on gun owners?


All those who desire to be politicians should undergo rigorous mental health evaluations. It’ll be amusing to see how many of them are raging egotists or megalomaniacs fixated on nothing but power and money for themselves. I suspect very few are actually qualified to govern anyone.



With the understanding that psychiatry is (self-admittedly) THE single most inexact of all sciences… so inexact that it rationally and legally qualifies only as a pseudo-science.


“Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” which “is considered the definitive guide for mental health professionals, and provides descriptions for all mental health problems and their symptoms.”

The manual is little more than a binder with removable pages of disorders that change when the winds of society change directions. The disorder of homosexuality was changed (‘normalized’) several years ago when a gang of deranged and militant perverts used violent Antifa tactics at a conference of psychiatrists to threaten the participating psychiatrists. Hence, my total disdain for the ‘profession’ of psychiatry.


The picture looks like a meeting of the Democratic caucus. I think I can make out Pelosi and Schumer.