Possession of a Firearm by the Mentally Ill-Federal and State Laws
Possession of a firearm by the mentally ill is regulated by both state and federal laws.
Under 18 U.S.C. § 922(d), it is unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person “has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution.”
Hawaii, and suprisingly Texas, seem to have the most comprehensive laws regarding mental incompetence:
no person shall own, possess or control any firearm or ammunition if the person:
Has been acquitted of a crime on the grounds of mental disease, disorder, or defect; or is or has been diagnosed as having a significant behavioral, emotional, or mental disorder, or for treatment for organic brain syndromes;
Is a minor who: 1) Is or has been under treatment for addiction to any dangerous drug, intoxicating compound, or intoxicating liquor;
or 2) Has been determined not to have been responsible for a criminal act or has been committed to any institution on account of a mental disease, disorder, or defect; or
Is or has been diagnosed as having a significant behavioral, emotional, or mental disorders as defined by the most current diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association or for treatment for organic brain syndromes
unless the person has been medically documented to be no longer adversely affected by the addiction, abuse, dependence, mental disease, disorder, or defect.
A person is ineligible for a license to carry a concealed weapon if the person:
(1) has been diagnosed by a licensed physician as suffering from a psychiatric disorder or condition that causes or is likely to cause substantial impairment in judgment, mood, perception, impulse control, or intellectual ability;
(2) suffers from a psychiatric disorder or condition described by Subdivision (1) that: (A) is in remission but is reasonably likely to redevelop at a future time; or (B) requires continuous medical treatment to avoid redevelopment;
(3) has been diagnosed by a licensed physician, determined by a review board or similar authority, or declared by a court to be incompetent to manage the person’s own affairs; or
(4) has entered in a criminal proceeding a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.
The following constitutes evidence that a person has a psychiatric disorder or condition described by section (1), above:
(1) involuntary psychiatric hospitalization;
(2) psychiatric hospitalization;
(3) inpatient or residential substance abuse treatment in the preceding five-year period;
(4) diagnosis in the preceding five-year period by a licensed physician that the person is dependent on alcohol, a controlled substance, or a similar substance; or
(5) diagnosis at any time by a licensed physician that the person suffers or has suffered from a psychiatric disorder or condition consisting of or relating to:
(A) schizophrenia or delusional disorder;
(B) bipolar disorder;
(C) chronic dementia, whether caused by illness, brain defect, or brain injury;
(D) dissociative identity disorder;
(E) intermittent explosive disorder; or
(F) antisocial personality disorder.