Skip to comments.High court says treatment shouldn't deny gun permit
Posted on 05/07/2009 4:18:33 AM PDT by marktwain
LINCOLN An Omaha man who once expressed homicidal and suicidal thoughts was wrongly denied a state handgun buyers permit by the Douglas County sheriff, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled Friday.
Joseph D. Gallegos had never been "committed" to a mental institution under the definition of the 1968 federal gun law, according to the courts unanimous opinion.
He should not, therefore, have been denied a handgun permit in 2007, the court said.
In 2001, Gallegos, a veteran, sought voluntary treatment at the VA hospital in Omaha for post-traumatic stress syndrome and depression.
A doctor there asked the Douglas County Board of Mental Health to determine whether Gallegos was mentally ill and dangerous, and he was admitted to a hospital for three days under emergency protective custody.
The doctor said Gallegos had homicidal and suicidal thoughts related to a marital breakup, although he stated he would not follow through on those thoughts because of his religious beliefs.
The board allowed Gallegos to enter a 90-day treatment program, which he completed, then dismissed his case.
But in 2007, when Gallegos sought to register his guns with the Omaha Police Department, his application was initially denied because of the 2001 treatment.
OPD reversed its decision after Gallegos doctor said he was not a danger to himself or others.
But when he sought a state handgun buyers permit from the Douglas County Sheriffs Office, he was denied, based on the 2001 treatment.
Douglas County District Court Judge James Gleason upheld the sheriffs ruling.
The Supreme Court reversed the lower courts ruling, saying the hospital stay was observational in nature and that Gallegos was never found to be mentally ill and dangerous.
Deputy Douglas County Attorney Renee Mathias said the ruling will affect only a few cases.
The biggest issue surrounding denial of gun permits, she said, involves previous convictions for domestic violence. People are banned from obtaining the state permit if they have such a conviction.
The DHS has already name us all nuts.
Agreed. Denials are only supposed to occur for involuntary commitments. Had the court ruled otherwise, it would have discouraged people from voluntarily seeking mental health treatment if they were worried about losing their RKBA in the future.
I had heard that if you told the VA you were “depressed”, you went on the gun ban list. Mebbe just an Urban Legend, but when the doc asked me how I felt I truthfully replied “Fine”. - Had I been bummed out I still would have told him the same.
and if they can find someone who is or has never suffered from depression...
IOW,they can ban all gun ownership.