They don’t have to produce a record of any kind of conviction or involuntary commitment. Just “credible evidence” of a problem, and someone’s Second Amendment rights are gone, at the cops’ discretion. One of Cohn’s law-enforcement sources talks about denying gun permits to people over “incidents that don’t rise up to arrests but tell us, ‘Hey, something is not right here.’” One of his anecdotes involves a man who was taken into protective custody several times but never arrested or committed; the incidents ended in 2012, and he has since become sober and gotten a steady job, but the law gives no instructions regarding how serious or recent any disqualifying incidents must be.
Cohn writes that this is “a potential model for legislation in other states, or even the country as a whole.” No thanks.
Maybe there are deep-blue states that could get away with this (though New York and New Jersey already do it for handguns), and maybe the courts will let it go (considering they’ve shown little interest thus far in mapping out the precise contours of what the Second Amendment does and doesn’t allow). But anywhere else, the resistance from even moderate gun-rights supporters would — and should — be immense. I’m open to some forms of gun control and the son of a police officer, but even I’ll be manning the barricades to keep this kind of discretion out of law enforcement’s hands.