Nebraska Supreme Court rules vet's voluntary treatment for PTSD was not commitment to mental institution http://www.vawatchdog.org/09/nf09/nf...nf041909-2.htm
The City of Omaha, Nebraska appears to have a real problem when it comes to issuing handgun ownership permits to veterans who have sought treatment for PTSD.
Last month (March 2009) we reported on a veteran who had applied for a handgun ownership permit in Omaha.
The veteran honestly answered a question on the Omaha application about having been treated for a mental disorder, as he felt PTSD fell into this category.
The City turned down his application.
The veteran appealed and presented his case to the city's administrative board of appeals. They voted 5-0 to grant the permit ... a win for the veteran.
But now, we have another case out of Omaha.
This veteran had also sought treatment for PTSD. The VA filed a petition with the Mental Health Board asking for a determination as to whether the veteran was mentally ill. That petition was later dropped after the veteran voluntarily committed himself and completed treatment.
However, when the veteran tried to get a gun permit in Omaha, the request for that petition surfaced as well as the record of treatment. Omaha said "no." The vet then went to the County for a permit and they also denied the request.
Then, the veteran went to the Courts. The County Court and District Court upheld the decision.
But, the Nebraska Supreme Court saw it otherwise.
In a unanimous decision, they ruled that the veteran "was not committed to a mental institution ... and therefore was not prohibited from possessing a firearm."
This is a victory for PTSD vets and a rational decision by the Court. The Nebraska Supreme Court used the federal guidelines on gun ownership to make their determination. The federal government (NICS database) denies when a person: Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution.
What this means is that the Nebraska Supreme Court has told municipalities and counties to stop making up their own rules when it comes to a gun ownership permit.
If you are a veteran and considering gun ownership and have questions, be sure to read my advice on that matter.
Below is an article about the Court victory from Nebraska StatePaper dot Com.
High Court: Veteran Who Sought Treatment Cannot Be Denied Guy Buyer's Certificate
A unanimous Nebraska Supreme Court says a military veteran, who voluntarily sought treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression in 2001, cannot be denied a state handgun buyer’s permit.
Writing for the high court, Chief Justice Mike Heavican noted the sole question to be decided was whether Joseph D. Gallegos had once been committed to a mental institution, as defined by federal law.
Gallegos went to an Omaha Veterans Administration hospital in 2001. He was held three days for observation and later completed a 90-day treatment program. He previously told a doctor he had thoughts of suicide and homicide, because his marriage had broken up, but that he wouldn’t act on them because of his religious convictions.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s office denied Gallegos a permit. That decision was upheld by a county judge and then the district court. The Supreme Court reversed those decisions Friday.
A person can be denied a buyer’s permit if they have been officially committed to a mental institution and / or found mentally ill.
“We conclude that Gallegos was not ‘committed to a mental institution’ within the meaning of [a 1968 federal law] ….” the high court said.
Gallegos voluntarily sought treatment and hospitalized only for observation. He was never found to be mentally ill, or to be a danger to himself or others.
The Supreme Court sent the case back to the district court with instructions to in turn send it to the county court “with directions to approve Gallegos’ request for a gun certificate.”
About time they get something right
"Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness." --George Washington
This thread may be a bit stale but here's my 2 cents for what it is worth. And maybe a heads up for other Vets when applying for a ccw or whatever. Do not answer the question about treatment for a mental disorder without knowing what they are asking. The DSM-IV, the book of mental disorders, lists a whole lot of stuff as a disorder (including PMS!). But most of them don't count for ccw or permits. I am a veteran with service connected PTSD and Depression. I spent six weeks at one of the VA's inpatient treatment facilities. And, at least in WA, it doesn't count as one of the disallowing mental disorders. So I answer 'no' on the applications.
BTW - I am also a MSW with a certificate in chemical dependency and a license to practice. Most of my work for the last ten years until retirement was with Vets with trauma and substance abuse issues. From my experience, the vet in question might have grounds for a complaint under the ADA and possible lawsuit. Just something to think about...