6th Circuit: Congress Must ‘Justify’ Restricting 2nd Amendment Rights over Mental Health

Gun barrel robbery (Geoffrey Fairchild / Flickr / CC / Cropped)
Geoffrey Fairchild / Flickr / CC / Cropped

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on September 15 that Congress must “justify” restricting Second Amendment rights to persons who temporarily received mental health treatment in the past.

74-year-old Clifford Tyler filed the lawsuit in 2012 alleging the U.S. government “violated his Second Amendment rights,” Mlive reports. Tyler, who was ordered to undergo mental health treatment in 1985 after his wife left him for another man and wreaked havoc on his finances, was denied a gun purchase due to “mental health” despite fully recovering from the trauma of that incident.

That case was originally heard in federal court in Grand Rapids, where a ruling was handed down in favor of the government in 2013. It was appealed to the 6th Circuit, where the judges ruled in favor of Tyler on Thursday.

According to the Associated Press, 6th Circuit Judge Julia Smith Gibbons wrote the majority opinion in the decision. Gibbons observed, “There is no indication of the continued risk presented by people who were involuntarily committed many years ago and who have no history of intervening mental illness, criminal activity or substance abuse.” Moreover, she stressed that Congress’ prohibition against gun ownership for persons with a “mental illness” diagnosis is “[focused] solely on the risk posed by those presently mentally ill and who have been recently committed.”

Judge Karen Nelson Moore dissented, saying, “The government has demonstrated that (the law) is substantially related to Congress’ objectives of reducing the substantial homicide and suicide rates caused by firearms.”

The case now goes back to the federal court in Grand Rapids, with a requirement that the government “justify” a ban on Second Amendment rights based on mental health criteria.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com.