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Rights advocates around the country need to be on the lookout for an insidious new tactic being launched by Mike Bloomberg and his mercenary minions. Their latest line of attack is mental health. This actually isn’t so much a new approach as a refocusing and turbocharging of an older plan.

The strategy is to use the wide acceptance of the idea that the mentally ill should not have access to firearms, as a front for prohibiting a broad array of “normal” people from possessing guns or ammunition. As with most things, the devil is in the details. What is mental illness? Who is mentally ill? How mentally ill must one be to warrant revocation of a fundamental human right? Who makes that determination? Who is “normal,” and how “normal” do they have to be to own guns? We all know people who have dealt with some mental health issues or who people consider a bit odd, but who are also fully functional, completely rational, good people who would never harm anyone. The new anti-rights strategy is to cast doubts on those people and deny them their rights to own guns and ammunition.

Recently, one of Bloomberg’s pet politicians, Ralph Northam, whom Bloomberg spent over a million dollars to get elected as lieutenant governor of Virginia last month, spelled out the plan during a “gun violence” symposium. The event turned out to be a gun-control planning meeting discussing a strategy of trickery and deception to get gun control passed through legislatures by hiding it in legislation dealing with mental health. My friend Philip Van Cleave, the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, was at the meeting and reported that Northam was very candid about the plan and the sneak attack strategies for bypassing committees and public comment, and preventing rights groups from being able to mount opposition until it’s too late. He particularly lauded the Connecticut and New York models where both states used “emergency” legislation to pass draconian bills with no hearings, no committee votes and no public input. He also discussed strategies to gain support from rights leaders by quietly negotiating deals to keep a bill “clean” and leave out overt anti-rights provisions, while concealing the provisions that seriously threaten rights.

It isn’t often that we hear anti-rights extremists openly admitting their true strategies and objectives. Someone has probably since suggested to Mr. Northam that the first rule in executing an effective, secret plan might not be to announce the details of the plan in advance. Thankfully that advice can only come too late because the cat’s out of the bag and rights advocates are mobilizing.

VCDL is taking a very smart approach to this challenge. They have already begun assembling a working group of mental health professionals and civil rights attorneys to review all mental health-related legislation and make recommendations. Other grass-roots organizations will undoubtedly be following their example and seeking out knowledgeable assistance. The ACLU, a group which has historically shown animosity or indifference towards the Second Amendment, is seriously concerned about threats to privacy, due process and equal protection that often arise in mental health bills, and they could be an important ally in the coming fights.

While this anti-rights sneak attack is just getting under way, you can be sure it is well-planned and well-funded, so expect to see a flood of bills dealing with mental health in general and firearms access by the mentally ill in particular introduced in Congress and state legislatures nationwide in the coming months. These bills will be promoted as “common sense,” but they will contain definitions so broad that hundreds of thousands – possibly millions – of regular folks who have been or are being successfully treated for common, minor, mental and emotional issues will be denied their right to arms as “mental defectives.” People suffering from mild depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, even women treated for PMS, could be lumped in with violent schizophrenics and the criminally insane.

In Connecticut, they banned firearm possession by anyone who voluntarily checks themselves into a mental health facility for any reason. While that ban is temporary for now, expect it to be incrementally increased in the future, just as the new law increased the duration of bans for people involuntarily committed. The result of the prohibition for voluntary commitments will undoubtedly be that some people who should remove themselves from the troubles of the outside world for a time to get needed help will choose to forgo that option rather than be treated like a criminal. This is of particular concern for our returning veterans.

Rights advocates are going to have to be extremely diligent to catch the threats that are on the way. One advantage we have is the arrogance of our opponents. Just as Northam arrogantly described the sneaky plan – without anyone in the “legitimate” media taking note of the proposed chicanery – expect Mike Bloomberg to make his support for the bad bills rather obvious. An easy way to tell if any legislation is bad – or at least that it deserves extra scrutiny – will be support from Bloomberg and his various front organizations.

Liberty is a never-ending struggle. Be prepared to respond to these bills, and take action now to warn your elected representatives about the coming sneak attacks.

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