April 9, 2020

Mental Health and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Next Thursday the Montana Legislature’s Law and Justice Interim Committee will hold a hearing to consider whether or not Montana should do more to capture mental health records and feed those into federal electronic systems, such as the NICS created by the Brady Law. Here is my written testimony to the L&J Committee:

Montana Legislature
Law and Justice Interim Committee
National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and Mental Health
February 13, 2014

Testimony for Committee, by
Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association

Will improved mental health evaluations, and data collection and reporting of mental health information decrease violence, especially gun-related violence?

I. Qualifications to provide information.

Mr. Marbut is accepted in state and federal courts in civil and criminal cases concerning firearms safety, use of force, legitimate self defense, and related topics. Mr. Marbut is an active self defense instructor and has graduated over 3,800 students from curriculae concerning Montana laws, and the tactics and methods of defense. Mr. Marbut is a member of the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors, and a follower of and sometimes contributor to the Force Science Research Center.

II. Precursor, background issues.

Before the question posed above can be effectively answered, some foundation issues must be addressed.

1. Are people with mental health issues commonly prone to future violence? No. A 2009 study found that individuals with mental health disorders no more likely to commit acts of violence than the rest of the population; rather, future violence was indicated by other factors, such as substance abuse and a prior history of such acts. One explanation is that some individuals with severe disorders are too disorganized or afraid to commit crimes. For example, individuals with severe schizophrenia may have delusions – for instance, a belief that they and others around them face a danger of attack or threat. This leads some persons suffering from this form of delusion to seclude themselves from the outside world and to express extreme caution toward others…

2. Is gun-related mass violence by persons with mental health issues increasing and is it a pressing national problem? No and no. Despite obsessive media reporting when such incidents occur, the number of those incidents and the number of victims claimed in those incidents remain static, this notwithstanding an increasing population size and increasing levels of gun ownership.

3. Is there an increased national murder rate that can be attributed to mental health failures? No. Actually, murder rates in the US are dramatically down, again despite increasing rates of firearms ownership, increasing population, and stressful economic times. Because overall murder rates, including murder rates with firearms, are in a definite downward trend, there is no rationale’ to claim increases because of people with mental health problems, or inadequate mental health reporting.

4. Is the state of the art in psychology capable of correctly identifying people with mental health problems who are prone to violence. No. This answer only repeats what many professionals and experts in the field of psychology insist, that the art of psychology simply does not possess the tools at this stage in the evolution of the art to accurately predict violence. Much better predictors of violence include drug use, and history of violence.
“Skilled and practiced mental health professionals have gotten a lot better at predicting short- term dangerousness,” said Dr. Steven E. Pitt, a forensic psychiatrist who consults with the Phoenix Police Department and directed the Columbine Psychiatric Autopsy Project after the 1999 school shootings. “But who’s going to commit violence in some unspecified future? You might as well consult a Ouija board.”

5. Is there any connection at all between mass shootings and mental health? Yes. Besides that we’d consider crazy any person who would take the lives of innocents, there is another connection between mass shootings and mental health. That connection is psychotropic drugs. All of the mass shootings in recent memory have been done by people who either were actively taking prescribed psychotropic drugs, or who were supposed to be taking psychotropic drugs but quit. In order to obtain these psychotropic drugs, these people perpetrating mass shootings were under the care of a mental health practitioner licensed to prescribe the drugs. See:

6. Base Rate Fallacy. A well defined and important but little known phenomenon is base rate fallacy. It has to do as much with statistics than with psychology, but it is essential for psychology. There is an excellent article on Base Rate Fallacy in Wikipedia at:
Anyone contemplating the issue of mental health and persistent mental health records would be wise to learn about and understand the concept of base rate fallacy.

The essence is this: Any widespread screening for a condition (e.g., mentally unstable person prone to violence) among the general population is guaranteed to turn up many more false positives than true positives, just because of an unavoidable error rate, which would be especially pronounced in the fuzzy field of psychology. The false positives would outnumber the true positives by one or more orders of magnitude. Thus, people not prone to violence would unavoidably be stigmatized and likely lose civil rights because of an error rate that cannot be eliminated.

7. Persistent records/improper records non-correction. There are not good, affordable or comprehensive mechanisms in place or available to get persistent records corrected if a person is incorrectly identified as prone to violence, or if the person gets treatment and is cured of any tendency towards violence. This is especially true of the National Instant Check System (NICS). People who are marked on NICS as ineligible for firearms transfer find it difficult or impossible to get records corrected.

Summery of a Texas legal case is in order here (US v. Bean, 537 U.S. 77(2002) ). After attending a gun show in Texas, Thomas Bean drove to Mexico. When Mexican officials stopped his vehicle at the border, they found ammunition, and Bean was subsequently convicted in a Mexican court of importing ammunition. Because of his felony conviction, 18 USC section 922(g)(1) prohibited Bean from possessing, distributing, or receiving firearms or ammunition. Bean applied to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) for relief from his firearms disabilities, but the ATF returned the application unprocessed, explaining that its annual appropriations law forbade it from expending any funds to investigate or act upon applications such as Bean’s. Bean then filed suit, asking the District Court to conduct its own inquiry into his fitness to possess a gun and grant relief from his inability to possess, distribute, or receive firearms or ammunition.

In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Clarence Thomas, the Court held that the absence of an actual denial of Bean’s petition by ATF precludes judicial review. Because Bean’s application for relief from the firearms disabilities was not considered due to appropriation provisions, Justice Thomas reasoned that the court could not grant relief since the statute only permitted judicial review of an affirmative denial of an application.
Thus, Bean could not get his rights restored, notwithstanding that what he was convicted of in Mexico is not a crime in the US, simply because Congress had not funded the BATF’s process to correct records swept in from other countries, and restore Bean’s rights. Not only was Bean, a competitive trapshooter, unable to purchase new firearms, he was ineligible for life to possess any firearms he had previously purchased legally.

8. Barking up the wrong tree; “Gun free zones.” Besides psychotropic drugs, the other common denominator for mass shootings in schools, theaters, and other places, is that they ALL happen in purported “gun free zones.” These alleged “gun free zones,” of course, are NEVER “gun free,” but only gun free for the victims. People bent on mayhem never respect “gun free zones.” In fact. perpetrators of mass violence seek out disarmed victim zones, for obvious reasons. Only those who respect the law and have no murderous intent comply with such silly zone rules and are thereby rendered defenseless. Thus, “alleged “gun free zones” are demonstrated to be very dangerous places, places where deranged perpetrators are assured of a resistance free killing field. Collection and sharing of mental health records will do nothing to address this glaring problem.

9. Will a system-reported mental health deficiency prevent deranged people from acquiring guns? No. Almost universally, those who have committed mass shootings have acquired the guns they used through means that would not be interdicted by a NICS check. A mental health disqualification for firearm purchase will only affect those who obtain guns through legal channels. That is, mental health evaluation and disqualification would have zero effect on the class of people intended for interdiction, perpetrators of mass shootings.

10. Will the prospective loss of civil rights dissuade possibly needy people from seeing mental health professionals? Yes. If there are people who need psychological intervention, the expected loss of their civil rights via data sharing will certainly persuade many of them to avoid any contact with the mental health community. See:

III. Conclusion

People with mental health issues have no greater rate of violence than the public at large. Any mental health search for violent people would assuredly turn up far more false positives than true positives (base rate fallacy). These people tagged because of false positives would likely be stripped of their civil rights for life, with no practical way to get their records cleared or revised following treatment. Within the arena of psychology, experts disagree about whether the art has evolved sufficiently to provide tools allowing practitioners to correctly predict an individual’s future violence. Even if the violent people could be identified and documented through mental health screenings, and disqualified from firearms purchase, that would not interdict the ability of such individuals to obtain guns and commit mayhem. Integrating mental health treatment with civil rights denial systems will persuade many people who may need treatment to avoid treatment. Nor would any such system address the dominant twin problems with mass shootings of psychotropic drugs and the low-hanging fruit for violent people of “gun free zones.”

Finally, there will be those who will respond with some version of, “… but if it saves just one life …” Criminologist professor Gary Kleck estimates that 2.5 million people in the US defend themselves every year with a firearm. In most cases the mere display of a firearm is sufficient to make assailants go away and save the defender, since Kleck says shots are fired in only 9% of these cases. Causing a significant percentage of these 2.5 million people to be disarmed (revisit base rate fallacy) would certainly end up costing far more lives than might be saved through the fuzzy and problematic process of mental health screening and records sharing.

Will improved mental health evaluations, and data collection and reporting of mental health information decrease violence, especially gun-related violence? No. But it can destroy the civil rights of too many innocent people in a fruitless quest to “do something.” That would be especially unfortunate and unwise if the “something” were so easily predictable to be contraindicated.

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
Author, Gun Laws of Montana


Guns Cause Suicide

In Maine, the Portland Press Herald editorial staff has gone out of their way to convince readers that the presence of guns causes people to commit suicide. They demand that lawmakers in Augusta make the ability to exercise one’s right to keep and bear arms more difficult in order that fewer people commit suicide.

Maybe this is akin to requiring background checks and verbal testing on people before they are allowed to speak. Certainly things people say to other people (bullies for one) must have caused some to commit suicide? This is insanity as well as ignorance.

What is most tragic is that not once in the editorial garbage that the Press Herald put out, did they attempt to address anything about suicide or suggest ways and/or generate discussion in what causes people to want to take their lives and what can be done to correct the problem other than using mental issues to attack ownership of guns. What obvious fraud and dishonesty, while exploiting a serious mental condition that causes people to consider ending their lives. Maybe poor editorials contributes to one’s depression. Should we reconsider freedom of the press? It’s all insanity!

To pretend and attempt to convince readers that guns cause suicide is as utterly ridiculous at the graphic shown below that cold weather causes murder.<<<Source>>>

A Tale of Two Cities 2013-12-13 07-47-22


Animal Perverts Ain’t Too Smart Either

It’s the typical crap sandwich you read about when animal perverts go about trying to save animals because they believe humans and animals exist at the same level, sharing in the same rights. Some even believe animals are as intelligent as humans and that is probably well displayed in the Lake Tahoe area where bear loving perverts are interfering with efforts by officials to trap nuisance bears and relocate them.

No longer is it the objective of these mentally damaged perverts to do as much as they can to help ward off the inevitable death sentence of a bear that becomes habituated to humans, these morons are now prohibiting officials from trapping the bears and relocating them to more wilderness areas. One deviant imbecile even stated that moving a bear into the wilderness was scaring the bear back into the city.

But, as is typical of these types, they have resorted to violence, death threats, harassment and destruction of government property and then deny they are responsible.

Here’s a short list of some of the profound comments made by bear loving freaks:

1. “They are just gorgeous creatures, and they are so misunderstood,”
2. “If you don’t get rid of that trap, we’re going to kill you”
3. “We’re going to destroy your business and screw up your boats and destroy your property.”
4. “We are the intruders here,” – Note: This one always gets me. The pile of sticks who make this comment also said, “If you want to live in a beautiful area like this, let’s learn how to live with the animals that are here.” How ignorant and self centered can a totalitarian fascist be? If this person really had all this “love” for animals, why did THEY choose to live where the bears do? These ignorant fools think they have the right to live where they choose and THEN dictate to all those around them how they are to live because they choose to live in a beautiful area. They are the biggest hypocrites in the world today.
5. “There is something special about bears. It’s hard to explain. The more I am with them, the closer I feel to them.” – Note to bear pervert – Get a life!
6. “Carl Lackey [biologist] is the ultimate bear serial killer,”
7. “Oh, please beat the crap out of this guy,”
8. “When a bear is where he shouldn’t be, tell him right then and there. Wave your arms and stomp your feet. Once the animal has fled into the forest, you stop and say, ‘Good bear.’” – Note: This epitomizes the mental illness associated with a perverse affliction with animals. I mean seriously. Are you kidding me? Sick! Sick! Sick!
9. “People who don’t like bears don’t like us.”
10. “I am not a terrorist, and I don’t break the law.”
11. “He [a bear] doesn’t seem to be in any mood to harm anybody.”
12. “Animals who grow up around our villages… are the least likely to harm a human.”

These freaks should just pack up and move back to the city. What idiots!


Gun Control/People Control Drivel

On one hand, half of George Smith’s article today in the Morning Sentinel, makes sense. On the other hand, the other half is absolutely illogical.

George Smith, outdoor writer and political activist in Maine, often eager to team up with environmentalist groups, presents himself as a supporter of the Second Amendment. Whether he is or isn’t leaves one always scratching his head due to the fact that Smith, on one hand, makes good sense and yet in the same article sounds more like a representative of the Brady bunch who hate guns and people, always wishing to squash their rights and put more authority into the hands of government to force regulations upon us.

Smith’s title to his article reads like a good one: “Smart laws can limit damage firearms do in the wrong hands.” By the way, what’s a “smart law?” Any law that takes away my inalienable rights for no good reason is a law that isn’t worth the paper it is written on.

The activist reveals from his writing that to prevent gun violence, such as the shooting of former Rep. Gabby Giffords, the shooting in Aurora, Colorado and Sandy Hook Elementary, we need to figure out how to stop these mentally deranged people from getting guns. Brilliant!

Smith suggests that Maine should take better care of the mentally ill, forgetting to remind readers it was other mentally deranged people who threw the other mentally deranged people out on the street several years ago. How did that work out anyway? But that’s water under the bridge isn’t it.

There exists one common denominator in all of these violent gun crimes mentioned and for many years previous – they were all mentally ill and/or on some kind of drugs for mental illness and/or depression. And yet we insist on attacking the guns and not the real problems.

However, while I applaud Smith for at least addressing the mental health issue, which few others before have done, I can’t say that his suggestions are the best. Smith wants to make sure that all mentally ill people are included on the NICS background check list to ensure they can’t purchase a gun. Smith writes:

We also should submit, to the federal background check system, the names of those mentally ill individuals who were prohibited — beginning six years ago — from possessing guns. Immediately.

I’m not sure exactly what Smith is thinking here. Preceding this statement is a very disturbing comment in which Smith says he likes the idea. It reads:

A friend suggested an idea I also like: We should create a system that will provide families who think a member is mentally ill a way to receive quick, comprehensive help and remove guns from the home until the weapons can be returned safely.

What could possibly go wrong with this? Now we are going to suggest that non qualified individuals make a determination as to whether or not a family member (or neighbor or acquaintance?) is mentally unfit to own a gun? Here’s a novel idea. If you think a layperson is qualified to determine the mental capacity of another, then shouldn’t that same family member have enough brain matter to realize that they better make sure all guns are out of the reach of someone they think is mentally ill? Why does anybody have to bring in government to remove the guns? This kind of irrational thinking, that a person is capable of being cerebral about one issue and not another, is typical irrational poppycock by shallow thinking people.

There exists standards that President Obama has created concerning mental illness, that if they were fully implemented, most Americans would not like. For instance, returning military veterans who seek psychiatric treatment to cope with and reenter the world the rest of us enjoy after many months on the battlefield, should not be allowed to posses a gun. Really?

The point is, and this has been discussed often, there already exists the tools to determine mental health issues. The problem is all the names aren’t making the NICS background checklist. So do we further give up rights to somehow offset incompetency? Doesn’t it make more sense to fix that broken spoke rather than having family members committing their own blood to a list declaring them incompetent and mentally deranged, while inviting in government opening us up for further governmental overreach?

But the terribly disconnected statement comes after all this. Smith writes:

While extending the background check requirement to all private sales will be inconvenient and unnecessary for many Mainers, it is something we gun owners should be willing to support to stop the sale of guns to the bad guys.

This is wrong on several levels. It wouldn’t be “inconvenient and unnecessary” for “many” Mainers. It would be so for all Mainers and for what real purpose? And when you consider the final statement, “to stop the sale of guns to the bad guys”, tells us that Smith actually believes that “bad guys” obey the law.

Smith certainly leaves me scratching my head when it comes to people control issues like guns. On the one hand he has for some time supported the idea of getting rid of Concealed Carry Permits, stating, “concealed carry permits waste money and time and are useless in fighting crime and violence.” I couldn’t agree more, but his nonsense of expanding background checks because it will catch the bad guys, is unproven prattle.

Why do free Americans always seem to be pressured into giving up their rights, mostly because incompetent people can’t do their jobs? And in continuation of that question, why do we give in? We’ve turned into non thinking sheep.

Even consider the latest event in Boston. It doesn’t take a degree in criminology to determine that the FBI failed in keeping a watch on a person that should have been a high profile target. People died and consequently the police, disregarding our constitutional rights, illegally invaded homes and forced people onto the streets, where a real armed murderer was still at large. Who have considered the risk these lawful citizens were subjected to? Why?

We know what happened to the suspect but the aftermath rhetoric is very disturbing and I hope it will be for millions of other Americans. People like New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is saying that we need to reinterpret what the constitution says about privacy and rights. And this is because why? BECAUSE OF GOVERNMENT INCOMPETENCY!

NO! NO! NO! The answer should be NO! Fix the damned problem and the problem isn’t that I have too many rights.

When someone makes a statement or something similar to it that, “it is something we gun owners should be willing to support”, I say no way. I balk whenever I am told by anyone that I should be willing to give up and compromise and be reasonable about my God-given rights, and that includes self protection.

We shouldn’t be willing to give up anything when the problem doesn’t involve you and your rights. Have you considered that it might possibly be that one of the reasons we are seeing what appears to be more of this kind of heinous violence is because we have “reasonably” given up our rights and been “willing to support” the effort to chisel away at our rights?


Day 64 – No Executive Orders


It is now Day 64. President Barack Obama, even in his love of the executive order pen, has not provided the details of, what he stated on television and was reiterated by the press, his 23 executive orders he said would provide a pathway in which guns and gun ownership could be controlled in order to make Americans safer. These 23 executive orders cannot be found on the White House website and therefore we can only be left to conclude one of two things: They either exist and are being withheld from public scrutiny or they do not exist and President Obama lied to the American people and performed his dog and pony show in front of cameras for other, perhaps more sinister reasons. Either way his actions are despicable and should be unacceptable to the citizenry.

Looney Gun Haters

If we examine the reasoning given us by the anti gun lobby, we can find it quite absurd; so much so that it becomes so obvious the aim of anti gun zealots is a mere disarming and abduction of Constitutional rights of the people. After all, any sane human being understands that a gun is a mechanical, inanimate object and doesn’t have a will to go kill somebody. It requires the assistance of a human being, and unfortunately, all too often, it ends up being a deranged human being.

If we were to use this kind of mental gymnastics, as is demonstrated by the emotional gun haters, and sort of reversed it, then it jumps out at us as to just how absolutely preposterous, their perverse reasoning is. Here’s and example of what I mean.

You may recall that last February T.J. Lane walked into a Cleveland, Ohio high school cafeteria with a .22 caliber pistol and a knife and killed three people, wounding others. Yesterday he was sentenced to life in prison for his actions.

But that doesn’t tell the whole story. As Lane entered the courtroom for his sentencing, he displayed his T-shirt, in which he used what appears to be a black marker, that read, “KILLER.” During sentencing Lane laughed at his demise and the things people were saying about him. As well, he turned in his chair and flipped his middle finger at the families of those classmates he’d murdered. Obviously this replica of a human being is seriously deranged and was at the time of the killings.

To use the same thinking and logic of gun haters, if guns didn’t exist in this country, T.J. Lane wouldn’t be insane and therefore wouldn’t have given the finger and laughed at his own court sentencing, because he wouldn’t have ever done any killing.

One has to ask who is actually the insane ones.

Police State

It has come to this. Often, as a supporter of a person’s right to self defense, the right of the people to keep and bear arms for protection against those wanting to cause harm and destruction to our person and property, I state that the one reason almost never given to the importance of the Second Amendment is that the people need some kind of protection against tyrannical behavior. Some of that tyrannical behavior was on display yesterday when a New Jersey State Department of Children and Families worker and four local police from Carneys Point, New Jersey, went to the home of the Moore family wanting entry into the house to look for guns because of a picture that had been posted on Facebook, by Shawn Moore (father) of Josh Moore (son) holding a rifle he had gotten for his birthday.

The guess is that someone who might have seen the photo, called Children and Families, who in turn responded. If that’s not bad enough, once at the house, the police, without a search warrant, wanted to be let into the house and be given access to Mr. Moore’s gun safe in order that they could copy the serial numbers and verify they had been registered. New Jersey law does not require mandatory gun registration.

According to an article on CBS Philly, the Department of Children and Families tried to explain why they went to the Moore’s home.

State child welfare spokeswoman Kristine Brown said that when it receives a report of suspected abuse or neglect, it assigns a caseworker to follow up. She said law enforcement officers are asked to accompany caseworkers only if the caseworkers feel their safety could be compromised.

While all of the explaining was going on, in an attempt to exonerate Children and Families from doing anything wrong, there is no explanation as to unethical (tyrannical?) behavior of the local police in attempting to wrongfully gain entry into the Moore’s house. As Shawn Moore put it:

“I don’t like what happened,” he said. “You’re not even safe in your own house. If they can just show up at any time and make you open safes and go through your house, that’s not freedom; it’s like tyranny.”

And that’s the point of today’s discussion. It is “like” tyranny and how long will it take before it actually becomes tyranny? If we continue to disarm the American public, not very long at all and then there will be a lot of second guessing.