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Mental Health and Gun Rights

Redmond Law Group Nov. 9, 2023

Judge gavel and gun on USA flagOne of the more sensitive topics when it comes to firearm laws has to do with mental health and gun rights, and specifically what mental illnesses prohibit you from having a gun. This can be fairly complicated to address because both federal and state regulations come into play with gun rights. If you have questions about this topic or are concerned about your own rights to own a gun, call me at the Redmond Law Group for help in Troy, Michigan, and throughout Oakland County and Macomb County. 

Michigan Mental Health Gun Laws

Most of Michigan’s laws on gun rights don’t lay out explicit rules regarding people with mental illness, though federal law does outline rules on this. The two governing agencies that are in charge of this are the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS).  

The federal regulation of firearms prohibition employs two primary categories to govern this. Simply put, you cannot possess a gun if you have been: 

  • Adjudicated as a Mental Defective: To qualify under this, a legal body such as a court, board, or administration must declare a person to be legally insane in a criminal court, in danger of imminent harm to themselves or others, incompetent to stand trial, and not mentally competent to handle their own affairs. 

  • Committed to a Mental Institution Involuntarily: Others who have been committed involuntarily for drug use or for mental illness to a mental institution by a legal body are also prohibited from owning firearms. Importantly, this does not include those who voluntarily committed themselves.    

Someone who falls into one of these categories is prohibited from “shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing any firearm or ammunition.” Michigan state law simply reinforces these federal regulations, but does not outline any additional laws regarding mental health. If you’re concerned about your own rights to own a gun and want to know more about these laws, the best thing you can do is contact a gun rights attorney. 

Do Specific Diagnoses Prohibit Someone From Being Able to Own a Gun?

There is no federal or state law that lists specific diagnoses that would prohibit someone from owning a gun. Because of this, it’s impossible to prevent someone from purchasing a firearm or ammunition simply because they’ve been diagnosed with a certain mental condition, no matter how seemingly severe it is. Mental illnesses can affect each person differently and depending on their treatment options, someone with a condition like this could have no outward signs of illness.  

Gun Seizure From People Posing Imminent Harm

In some cases, it may be necessary to seize guns from someone who poses an imminent harm to themselves or others. This is typically done by way of a gun violence restraining order, also called extreme risk protection orders.  

These laws allow someone who believes another person poses an imminent harm (often a family member or spouse) to make an immediate court request to prohibit the individual from possessing or purchasing a firearm or qualifying for a pistol or concealed pistol license. In most cases, a follow-up hearing will be scheduled to reexamine this order after the immediate risk is addressed. Your gun rights attorney will advocate for your rights throughout the process, so don’t face the courts alone.  

Protecting & Advocating for Your Rights

If you’re in the Troy, Michigan area and want to sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your questions and concerns about mental health and gun rights, reach out to me at the Redmond Law Group. No matter what situation you find yourself in, I am here for you.