An interesting NFA discussion

Sebastian is discussing what to do if an NFA-item owner has had medical setbacks and may be suicidal: can you legally remove the NFA firearms from his possession to prevent him from using them to commit suicide?

The answers seem to be a little confused, but I haven't seen anyone bring up the first and most basic points.

1) The man owns his firearms. Taking those firearms from him without his permission is theft, regardless of the NFA rules.

2) The man owns his own life. If he wishes to commit suicide, that is his decision to make, and it does not justify theft or any other use of force. If his family would rather he did not commit suicide (and that is an entirely understandable and laudable wish!) they can discuss the matter with him and try to convince him not to. As far as I am concerned, there is no suicide exception to the initiation of force.

3) The recommendation to remove his firearms comes from a doctor. The doctor can shove his opinion up his ass unless he has discussed the matter with the patient and the patient agrees.

I don't expect this to be a popular position.

UPDATE: To address some comments; first, according to Saysuncle, it's more of a severely dimished capacity situation than a suicide-due-to-depression risk. That changes things a bit. However, the items are still his property, so morally he should be the one to control their disposal rather than just having them taken away. If someone is given power of attorney or legal guardian status, that would be morally sufficient. Legally... still tricky, because NFA, except that the NFA angle was a mistake. AR-15 mistaken for machine gun by ignorant family members apparently. I remain uncomfortable with the argument that guns should be taken away from someone without consulting them in the absence of explicit threats of violence and due process of law. If he's mobile enough to open a gun safe and mentally present enough to remember the combination, the argument for diminished capacity seems weak.

On further reflection, it seems like the obvious thing to do is remove all the ammunition from the house. Without ammunition, the guns are just strangely shaped clubs. If the man has enough capacity to buy ammunition on his own, well, you don't have to be smart to own a gun -- just a responsible adult. And if his capacity really is diminished to the point of being unable to speak coherently, it seems unlikely he would be capable of acquiring ammunition or presenting much of a threat to anyone, including himself.

To address Divemedic, who said regarding my comment on no suicide exception to the initiation of force: yeah, I know the law disagrees. The law is an ass, in this and many other cases.

This entry was published Thu Mar 19 12:53:50 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2015-03-20 03:58:56.0. [Tweet]

comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe to Atom Feed

I am not a lawyer, and nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice.

This site is run on custom blog software and is being actively developed. Please be forgiving of errors.

This website is an Amazon affiliate and will receive financial compensation for products purchased from Amazon through links on this site.