Sunday, December 29, 2013

PA:Judicial Insanity: State Trooper can Carry on Duty, but not off Duty

From, we find the latest bit of judicial folly:
Pennsylvania State Trooper Michael L. Keyes is in an odd situation.

When on duty, he can carry a gun.

Yet while off duty, he is barred by law from possessing any firearms, because seven years ago he suffered from deep depression, repeatedly tried to kill himself by taking drugs and was involuntarily committed for mental health treatment.
This reminds me quite of bit of Dick Heller, of D.C.  v. Heller, who was trusted to carry a gun to guard government buildings in the District of Columbia, but not as a private citizen of the District.   It is the ultimate in trust in the State.  When the man is in the employ of the state, in uniform, he is the ultimate symbol of trustworthiness and training, able to be trusted where no other mortal, because of human failing, may be.   After all, he is an agent of the state.

One second after stopping his duties as an agent of the state (wait, haven't we been told that police officers are "always on duty"?);  he transforms to a normal human being, subject to all the vagaries and error of normal humans, and significantly, no longer able to carry those deadly firearms!

The judge justifies this dubious distinction with this pair of sentences:
It is "rational" for Keyes to still be allowed to have a gun on-duty because then he is under the supervision and observation of superior officers and his fellow troopers, Ford Elliott concluded.

"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," she wrote.
So, is he never left by himself?  What about all his colleagues, who carry all the time?  After all police commit murder more often than those with concealed carry permits.    Does the judge have any facts to show that those who have been found to be sane are more of a threat to others than ordinary police?    The article only mentions Trooper Keyes threatening  himself, never anyone else.

 On duty, he has access to automatic weapons, the radio net, data bases forbidden to ordinary citizens, and can freely go armed into schools and other "gun free zones", but because he carries a radio, and is under the supervision of the state, he is no threat?

In the article the judge says that once involuntarily committed, a person's second amendment rights are gone forever, and can never be restored, as long as grass grows and the sky is blue (I added that last bit).
 "The dangers inherent in the possession of firearms by the mentally ill are manifest," the judge wrote. And while Keyes argued that he is no longer mentally ill, "a present clean bill of health is no guarantee that a relapse is not possible," Ford Eliiott noted.
The twisted reasoning in the above decision makes me wonder about the mental health of President Judge Emeritus Kate Ford Elliott.

©2013 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

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