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Thread: So what's the REAL answer on whether or not Veterans with PTSD can own/carry guns?

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    So what's the REAL answer on whether or not Veterans with PTSD can own/carry guns?

    There's lots of conflicting information out there on the internet about this issue, as it deals with "mental defect" or "diagnoses" of a mental disorder.

    From what I read, the majority of internet folks out there are saying Veterans with PTSD cannot purchase, carry, or own firearms. However, my recent findings say otherwise. What is the current official consensus? It really grinds my gears that our well trained 'heros' go to war and are able to kill for our country, but seemingly cannot even practice one of the most important rights our constitution allows when they get back.

    Here's the best information that I found so far (see the last paragraph about the department of Veteran Affairs- and from my understanding this allows Veterans with PTSD to carry.. depending on the severity):


    Thank you for any insight.



    Okay, the wording on the form I copied earlier is a little different. I just downloaded the latest 4473 that was available in PDF form from atf.gov dated August 2008. You're supposed to get your paper copies in the mail, and they may be different. There is also a new e-4473 program out, but I don't know if the wording is different. I didn't install the ATF software to find out.


    Have you ever been adjudicated mentally defective (which includes a determination by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority that you are a danger to yourself or to others or are incompetent to manage your own affairs) OR have you ever been committed to a mental institution? (See Instructions for Question 11.f.)


    Question 11.f. Adjudicated Mentally Defective: A determination by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority that a person, as a result of marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease: (1) is a danger to himself or to others: or (2) lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs. This term shall include: (1) a finding of insanity by a court in a criminal case; and (2) those persons found incompetent to stand trial or found not guilty by reason of lack of mental responsibility.

    Committed to a Mental Institution: A formal commitment of a person to mental institution by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority. The term includes a commitment to a mental institution involuntarily. term includes commitment for mental defectiveness or mental illness. It also includes commitments for other reasons, such as for drug use. The term does not include a person in mental institution for observation or a voluntary admission to a mental institution. Please also refer to Question 11.e. for the definition of a prohibited person.

    EXCEPTION to 11.f. NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007: A person who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution is not prohibited if: (1) the person was adjudicated or committed by a department or agency of the Federal Government. such as the United States Department of Veteran's Affairs ("VA") (as opposed to a State court, State board, or other lawful State authority); and (2) either: (a) the person's adjudication or commitment for mental incompetency was set-aside or expunged by the adjudicating/committing agency; (b) the person has been fully released or discharged from all mandatory treatment, supervision, or monitoring by the agency; or (c) the person was found by the agency to no longer suffer from the mental health condition that served as the basis of the initial adjudication. Persons who fit this exception should answer "no" to Item 11.f. This exception does not apply to any person who was adjudicated to be not guilty by reason of insanity, or based on lack of mental responsibility, or found incompetent to stand trial, in any criminal case or under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

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    Regular Member NHCGRPR45's Avatar
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    I have a friend who was given the PTSD reason after a denial from NICS. He did get it resolved but it took nearly a year and a lot of money.
    But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776

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    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    I know of no law, case law, or other standard that would imply that PTSD can broadly be defined as a condition that makes someone unfit to responsibly carry.

    I'm no psychologist, but thinking about it simply, the definition I've been told for it is a condition where a really bad and stressfully situation replays itself over and over, often for decades as my Vietnam veteran uncle has told me. Now maybe if you have this problem and can't sleep as a result and go pretty much insane you'd be unfit to carry, but I haven't ever met anyone that applies to.

    On the other hand, it could very well be used as an incremental anti gun measure, but thus far I can only ever remember hearing concern over this happening, not any actual anti gun successes beyond a few isolated cases.
    Last edited by Michigander; 03-25-2012 at 11:36 AM.
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    The complete and utter truth can be challenged from every direction and it will always hold up. Accordingly there are few greater displays of illegitimacy than to attempt to impede free thought and communication.

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    Michigan Moderator Shadow Bear's Avatar
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    They're already laying out the PTSD defense for the mass murder in Afghanistan. Expect to lose a lot of ground if they proceed with that. They won't win, but it will cast a very bad light on mental illness.

    People who need help will deny it, so that they can own firearms. Tough choice to make, but if PTSD is truly a trigger, perhaps some folks will need to make a tough decision in their lives.
    'If the people are not ready for the exercise of the non-violence of the brave, they must be ready for the use of force in self defense. There should be no camouflage.....it must never be secret.' MK Gandhi II-146 (Gandhi on Non-Violence)-- Gandhi supports open carry!

    'There is nothing more demoralizing than the fake non-violence of the weak and impotent.' MK Gandhi II-153 (Gandhi on Non-Violence)

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    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    My suspicion is that he wanted revenge. War can have that effect on people.

    There isn't much doubt he was suffering from brutal stress, but claiming PTSD seems like it would be a really lousy defense. Wouldn't the good old insanity defense make more sense?
    Answer every question about open carry in Michigan you ever had with one convenient and free book- http://libertyisforeveryone.com/open-carry-resources/

    The complete and utter truth can be challenged from every direction and it will always hold up. Accordingly there are few greater displays of illegitimacy than to attempt to impede free thought and communication.

  6. #6
    Regular Member The Expert's Avatar
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    PTSD manifests itself in a number of different ways. The idea that symptoms are only restricted to panic attacks every current, trouble sleeping, and intrusive memories is wrong. These are simply the most common symptoms. In some cases ( albeit rare) the symptoms do manifest themselves in the form of violence.

    A very informative book on this subject is entitled "Achilles in Vietnam" by Dr. Shay. Back when Vietnam War veterans were returning from the conflict and were struggling with this issue Dr. Shay was working for the Department of Veterans Affairs. He devised a program of group therapy centered around reading the Iliad. He discover the underlying themes of right and wrong, betrayal by superiors, and grieving over the loss of close comrades was very well understood by the veterans in enabled them to have a channel through which they could successfully discuss their feelings.

    In that book he does describe a few instances in which the symptoms of PTSD manifested themselves in violence. If I remember correctly, this often was in concert with alcohol abuse. It may be that it was the alcohol in that particular persons genetic propensity in dealing with alcohol abuse via express violence that was the true cause, but we don't know that for sure.

    It's very important for us to take a closer more objective look to this particular issue. Those of us who participate on this forum tend to swing very hard right and there is a general mindset here that says we need to work hard to get guns into the hands of as many people as possible. I do think that it's possible that such sentiments can end up clouding one's judgment. If it is true that those suffering from PTSD have a higher likelihood of uncontrolled, violent outbursts, than you do in fact have a situation which the gun grabbers are very terrified of. Namely, that a normal thinking individual can, for no reason, break from his normal mental state into an uncontrolled rage in which he harms other people and has no ability to control himself until the episode passes.

    I'm sure that some who are reading this now are gritting their teeth at this idea. It shows that there is a lack of open-mindedness on the subject. We may want to believe that this is not possible, but this is just a bogeyman story that the Libs dream up in order to push their anti-gun agenda, but if PTSD sufferers are at higher risk for having short-term psychotic breaks which express themselves in violence ( and there is some evidence of this is the case) then we do have to wonder if these particular people should be carrying around firearms when they are playing with such an episode. It's important for us not to become bogged down with sentimentality related to their military service - if they are a danger to themselves and others because of their mental state we have to look out for the overall good of both them and those they may pose a threat to. Can you imagine what would happen if someone shot their wife or kid? Do you think that they would be highly likely to commit suicide when plagued with the guilt of such an act combined with the fact that the PTSD episodes keep washing over them?

    Again, I'm not necessarily saying that this is the case. There is no hard and fast evidence that PTSD sufferers are more likely to become trigger pullers when going through an episode but then again there isn't any evidence against it either. We do not know about the interactive effects between PTSD and substance abuse (which is very common among PTSD sufferers) and related violent episodes. The situation needs to be looked into and studied further before any definitive decision is drawn up. We also need to remember that any restrictions to constitutional liberties would be short-term in nature. If the person works through their issues to the point where they are "cured" then things can go back to normal.

    Get that book that I mentioned. It is filled with first-hand accounts of what these people are suffering taken down from recordings with the individuals. They are not happy about the condition that they are in and some of their own descriptions of their thought processes warrant cause for being very cautious on this issue.
    Last edited by The Expert; 03-31-2012 at 09:36 AM.
    I always open carry one of my Kimber 1911 pistols everywhere I go. Usually in a paddle holster. Nothing fancy, but it works for me.

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    Regular Member NHCGRPR45's Avatar
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    Yes, what he said.
    But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776

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