A court in Pennsylvania has ruled that a state trooper cannot possess or carry a gun – but only while he’s not on duty.
Seven years ago, Michael L. Keyes suffered from severe depression. He repeatedly tried to commit suicide by overdosing on drugs, and was involuntarily committed for mental health treatment.
When Keyes was working as a state trooper in Newport in 2006, he was placed on temporary leave and ordered into treatment. He completed treatment in less than a year. His doctor cleared him to return to work, but he had to fight to get his job back, according to Penn Live:
An arbitrator’s decision ordering his return to limited duty was fought by the state police, but ultimately was upheld by Commonwealth Court. The state Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of that ruling, and he was placed back on duty in 2010. In 2012, Commonwealth Court also ordered that Keyes be awarded nearly $16,000 in back pay.
In 2008, Keyes began fighting for full reinstatement of his ability to carry firearms. His obstacle is the federal Gun Control Act, which prevents people who have been subject to involuntary mental health commitments from possessing guns.
Last Tuesday, the Superior Court found that Keyes cannot have his mental health record expunged – and therefore, cannot own or carry a gun while he is off-duty.
In the state court’s opinion, President Judge Emeritus Kate Ford Elliott wrote:
“The dangers inherent in the possession of firearms by the mentally ill are manifest. A present clean bill of health is no guarantee that a relapse is not possible. Given the extreme potential harm attendant to the possession of deadly weapons by the mentally ill, and the risk of relapse, we see an important government interest in controlling the availability of firearms for those who have ever been adjudged mentally defective or have ever been committed to a mental institution but are now deemed to be cured.”
The court ruled that they “see an important government interest in controlling the availability of firearms for those who have ever been adjudged mentally defective or committed to a mental institution” but the person in question works in law enforcement and is permitted to carry a firearm while on duty?
Oh, but the court explained that it is “rational” to permit Keyes to carry a gun while he’s on duty:
“Then he is under the supervision and observation of superior officers and his fellow troopers. Were [Keyes] to again fall into a depressive state with suicidal ideation, it would be much more likely to be discovered while he is on-duty and his superiors could then restrict his access to state police firearms.”
Well, that makes sense, since law enforcement officials have such an excellent history of recognizing mental health issues, risky behavior, and dangerous personality traits among their own.
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Contributed by Lily Dane of The Daily Sheeple.
Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”