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Prescriptions, Medications and Purchasing/Possessing Firearms

Where Is The Threshold To Mental Health Disqualification?

A question I am asked frequently as I lecture nationally on gun topics is, “can taking prescription medication disqualify me from owning a firearm- based on my mental health?” This is a problem for veterans who sign a standard VA power of attorney over their affairs as they get older–they become disqualified automatically without regard to mental acuity.

At some point, with 1:4 ratio of mentally ill people in the US adult population,1 this is going to draw state and federal law makers attention. This will be considered in the context of the total number of firearms in the civilian market, and new access by doctors to INSPECT (review prescriptions filled by patients) and question treatment standards of practice. This access provides a new tool to deny or grant access to your personal information, previously available to law enforcement agency’s before.

Last night, I attended the Indiana State Medical Association’s 2013 meeting where they went over the newest guidelines just inked into Indiana legislation, to address “pill mills” in the United States: “Responsible Prescribing: Redefining the Standards of Care. It is legislation focused largely on “pill mills” but also sets thresholds for more medical doctor-patient scrutiny where a patient has been prescribed >60 opioid-containing pills a month or the morphine equivalent dose > 15 mg/day for more than 3 consecutive months.2

Ultimately, this type of chronic treatment plan and medication benchmarks could focus what limits should be additionally drawn on firearms possession under mental health standards. The central point of my blog posts is to make you aware of the changes that affect your rights because they are changing daily. This is one such instance, and shows the cross-over between disciplines. If this is your situation, you may consider discussing it with your attorney and/or medical doctor.

This blog post was written by attorney Bryan L. Ciyou. It is not intended as legal advice. Bryan Ciyou and Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. practice throughout the state and Bryan consults through the United States on firearms matters.

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