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Second Amendment rights violated over long past mental-health issue, Hillsdale man says ^ | John Agar

Posted on 07/28/2012 5:22:40 AM PDT by marktwain

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A Hillsdale man says the government has violated his Second Amendment rights by prohibiting him from obtaining a firearm because of a three-decades-old involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital.

Clifford Tyler, who says his mental-health issue was only temporary, has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids against local, state and federal agencies alleging that they are violating his constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

“As a consequence of this overbroad ban, sane, trustworthy, competent individuals that are not a threat to themselves or others and are not in any way mentally ill are forever prohibited from exercising their Second Amendment rights by the bare fact of a one-time involuntary commitment without consideration of individual present circumstances,” Grand Rapids attorney Lucas McCarthy wrote in the complaint.

Tyler, 70, was involuntarily hospitalized on Jan. 2, 1986, over concerns he might commit suicide in response to an “emotionally devastating divorce,” McCarthy wrote.

Recent psychiatric evaluations showed that Tyler, who has no criminal record, isn’t a risk to himself or others, and has no substance-abuse issues. The examination, including statements of his physician, showed no evidence of mental illness, records showed.

The evaluation noted that records of the 1986 hospitalization at now-closed Ypsilanti State Hospital no longer exist, and that there were few mental-health services available at the time in the rural area other than hospitalization.

Tyler filed the lawsuit after he tried to buy a firearm and obtain a concealed-pistol license. He enjoys shooting pistols competitively, and has always had firearms, reports said.

The Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Department said he was prohibited from obtaining a firearm, the lawsuit said.

The Sheriff’s Department provided Tyler a pamphlet, “Guide for Appealing a Firearm Transfer Denial,” which said the National Instant Criminal Background Check System showed this criteria prevented his obtaining a gun: “Persons adjudicated as a mental defective or involuntarily committed to a mental institution or incompetent to handle their own affairs,” court records showed.

Tyler then provided additional information about his situation to the FBI, which responded by confirming he was federally prohibited from owning a firearm, the lawsuit said.

McCarthy said that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder could grant relief if he determines Tyler isn’t likely to act in a dangerous manner. But, he said, “Congress has specifically denied any funding to investigate or act upon (such) application for relief … .”

Without the funding, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives does not review applications to overturn a federal prohibition on acquiring a firearm, McCarty said. The state has not instituted an ATF-approved program, either.

“These federal laws and policies prohibiting (Tyler) from acquiring a firearm and providing for no review of the prohibition because of a lack of federal funding and reliance upon a non-existent state program constitute an over-broad infringement and an impermissible burden upon (Tyler’s) right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution,” McCarthy wrote.

McCarthy said his client is also being denied due-process and equal-protection rights because there is no way to have his request reviewed.

McCarthy declined to comment on the lawsuit, while the multiple defendants have only recently been served with summons and have not responded to the filing.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events; US: Michigan
KEYWORDS: banglist; constitution; dueprocess; mi
The logic seems impeccable, but you need a superb legal team and considerable resources to win Constitutional rights battle.
1 posted on 07/28/2012 5:22:48 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: marktwain

This may be the next libtard socialist avenue of attack on our RKBA, post-Colorado.

A “common sense” law will be passed, concerning firearms and mental health. It will be a “harmless, feelgood measure.”

It will then be twisted into a requirement to prove your sanity before possessing a firearm. Ever took ritalin? Nix. Ever had counseling? Nix. Veteran with PTSD issues in the past? Nix.


2 posted on 07/28/2012 5:25:18 AM PDT by Travis McGee (
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To: Springman; cyclotic; netmilsmom; RatsDawg; PGalt; FreedomHammer; queenkathy; madison10; ...
Lots of people consider suicide at some point in their lives. It doesn't make them a danger to others especially decades later.
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3 posted on 07/28/2012 5:29:21 AM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Travis McGee

Yep; you nailed it. Right out of their playbook.

By the way....have a friend here in NC dealing with this exact issue. No pun intended: it’s maddening.

4 posted on 07/28/2012 6:29:09 AM PDT by RightOnline (I am Andrew Breitbart!)
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To: RightOnline

Why doesn’t the guy just “Go Chicago” on them and if he really wants/needs a gun, get one.

They teach that on a daily basis in Chicago “Gang School” and elsewhere. (”Gun laws”?. We don’t need no stinkin gun laws”)

5 posted on 07/28/2012 6:46:28 AM PDT by DaveA37
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To: Progov; All
Why doesn’t the guy just “Go Chicago” on them and if he really wants/needs a gun, get one.

I suspect that you simply forgot the /S for sarcasm.

Much of the thrust of the lefts campaign against the Constitution is a desire to undermine the rule of law. Make so many laws and regulations that everyone must break the law simply by existing.

Mr. Tyler is trying to reassert the rule of law and the Constitution, at great expense and risk to himself and his finances. We need more like him.

6 posted on 07/28/2012 6:56:10 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: marktwain

In the long run, this seems to be the best way to go. Had congress appropriated money, the courts could just shrug and say that since a mechanism exists, your rights can be *delegated* to you by the Attorney General, at his whim.

Which stinks. Especially with Holder.

However, if a federal judge finds that there is no “contraindication” between a previous mental condition and the ownership and use of guns, then the person should be issued a “legal determination of mental health”, with the automatic complete restoration of rights.

The difference between the two is not subtle. The way the law is currently written, it is based on the idea that Civil Rights are granted by the government, so can be revoked by the government.

But if a judge overturns that description, that natural right still exists for a mentally ill person, and it has just been “suspended” until they are no longer a threat to themselves or others.

Ideally, a formerly mentally ill person would just go through a hearing before a judge similar to what ex-cons go through, both to get their rights restored.

7 posted on 07/28/2012 7:02:56 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
The application of this law is even worse than you describe. A person can be involuntarily committed with very limited due process and then found to be completely competent.

However, the record that he was involuntarily committed still exists and can be used to prohibit him from exercising his constitutional right.

A person may do nothing wrong, and be vicimized by a system completely outside of his control, yet lose his constitutional right without recourse forever. I do not see how this can meet the due process standard.

8 posted on 07/28/2012 7:57:53 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: Travis McGee
In Hindlmeyer v Ottawa County concealed Weapons Licensing Board, the Michigan Court of Appeals found that the Ottawa County Board failed to determine by a “clear and convincing evidence” standard that Hindlmeyer was a threat to anyone, even though he had been in and out of a mental institution four (4) times, and had threatened to blow up the hospital with a pipe bomb. The court granted Hindlmeyer his concealed weapon license.

Evidently, this prohibition has come from the Feds in a memo since most, if not all, County Sheriff Departments take Federal tax dollars and then become nothing more than federal stooges, operating under federal memos.

9 posted on 07/28/2012 10:00:33 AM PDT by paratrooper82 (We are kicking Ass in Afghanistan, soon we will be home to kick some more Asses in Congress!)
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To: marktwain

Yep, forgot the “Scarsam” note. Thanks

10 posted on 07/28/2012 10:14:05 AM PDT by DaveA37
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