Obama Administration Proposes Rule Changes to Say HIPAA Does Not Apply to Second Amendment
Earlier this week we heard about the proposed executive actions from the White House that would expand who could be reported as being mentally defection to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
Many at the time wondered how such a rule change could stand given the strict Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations followed in the United States which take great measures to protect the personal medical information of patients.
Now we know how they’re going to do. They’re just going to change HIPAA to basically make it null and void in regards to the Second Amendment.
According to a proposed rule change released a government document, HIPAA privacy rules would no longer apply to data that might have an influence a person’s NICS background check.
Who is proposing this rule change? Oh, just the Department of Health and Human Services, who has done such a top notch job with the rollout of the Affordable Healthcare Act.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS or ‘‘the Department’’) is issuing this notice of proposed rulemaking to modify the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule to expressly permit certain HIPAA covered entities to disclose to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) the identities of individuals who are subject to a Federal ‘‘mental health prohibitor’’ that disqualifies them from shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving a firearm. The NICS is a national system maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to conduct background checks on persons who may be disqualified from receiving firearms based on federally prohibited categories or State law. Among the persons subject to the Federal mental health prohibitor are individuals who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution; found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity; or otherwise have been determined by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority to be a danger to themselves or others or to lack the mental capacity to contract or manage their own affairs, as a result of marked subnormal intelligence or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease.
On it’s surface that doesn’t sound so bad, right? I mean we definitely want to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.
However, there are some disturbing bits in there. Take this one for instance, otherwise have been determined by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority to be a danger to themselves or others or to lack the mental capacity to contract or manage their own affairs, as a result of marked subnormal intelligence or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease.
Who exactly are these “lawful authorities” that can make such sweeping decisions about our inherent rights? We already know that the Department of Veteran’s Affairs is ruling some soldiers and veterans who suffer from PTSD and other conditions as “unable to manage their affairs”. This information will now be reported to NICS if these proposed rule changes happen. What happens when that veteran is better? Will the “lawful authorities” then report that to the NICS? Doubtful. Undoing things is always much trickier than doing them when it comes to government.