News and Commentary

NY Governor Suggests Creating A Database Of People With Mental Illness
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivers a speech on the importance of renewable energy and signs the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act at Fordham Law School in the borough of Manhattan on July 18, 2019 in New York City.
Scott Heins/Getty Images

In the wake of two deadly mass shootings, gun-control advocate and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked Democrat presidential candidates to pledge that they would accept his state’s strict gun laws.

“I’m asking all Democrats, Democrats who want to run for president and coming to the State of New York: just make it a simple, clear choice for the American people — the ‘Make America Safer Pledge,’” Cuomo said in a video posted to Twitter on Wednesday. “Four elements: an assault weapon ban and high capacity magazines, universal background check, mental health database, Red Flag laws. Those four elements of gun control will change this nation.”

Cuomo also appeared on local radio and news stations to discuss his pledge. In an interview with WXXI public radio in Rochester, Cuomo slightly expanded on his proposal for a mental health database by saying it would prevent some people with mental health issues from obtaining firearms.

Cuomo’s proposals are already the law in New York. The assault-weapon ban, the mental health database, and universal background checks have been the law in The Empire State for six years, according to North Country Public Radio. Cuomo’s fourth proposal, the Red Flag law, was made law in the state earlier this year. The laws, according to National Review’s David French when he was endorsing them, “permit a spouse, parent, sibling, or person living with a troubled individual to petition a court for an order enabling law enforcement to temporarily take that individual’s guns right away.”

The Daily Wire’s resident legal scholar, Josh Hammer, suggested on Thursday that conservatives should be “very, very skeptical” (emphasis original) of “red flag” laws because they turn due process on its head.

“The Framers would have been positively aghast at the notion that a next-door neighbor or workplace supervisor could successfully petition a court to deprive an individual of his Second Amendment rights — let alone in ex parte, secretive fashion — for up to two weeks before a gun owner may attempt to defend himself,” Hammer wrote. “To many, that may seem awfully reminiscent of the old English Star Chamber. And even more horrifyingly Orwellian is the on-the-ground reality that people have already died at the hands of law enforcement after they have been unwilling to turn in their GVRO-stripped firearms.”

Similar due process issues would exist for a mental health database. It’s reminiscent of another secretive government database — the “no fly” list — which removes due process from those who are on it (who are mostly Muslims). A mental health database would act in a similar way and prevent people from exercising their Second Amendment rights without the ability to defend themselves once they have been diagnosed. If one thinks only the most extreme cases where mental health professionals have determined a person is a danger to themselves or others would be banned from purchasing firearms, consider the possibility that professionals are also human, make mistakes, and may deem someone a danger out of fear they may someday be wrong.

The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  NY Governor Suggests Creating A Database Of People With Mental Illness