Salt Lake City, UT asked in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law and Health Care Law for Idaho

Q: Does a 24 hour involuntary mental health hold at a hospital disqualify you from purchasing a firearm?

Does being put on a 24 hour involuntary hold count as getting committed like h on the 4473 form

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: Under federal law, specifically the Gun Control Act of 1968, an individual is prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms if they have been "adjudicated as a mental defective" or "committed to any mental institution." The definition of being "committed to a mental institution" generally refers to a formal and involuntary commitment by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority for treatment.

A 24-hour involuntary mental health hold, often used for emergency evaluation and treatment, may not necessarily qualify as being "committed" in the context of the Form 4473 used for firearm purchases. This form asks about formal commitments to mental institutions, which usually involve a legal process and a determination by a court or similar body. However, laws and interpretations can vary by state, and some states may have stricter regulations regarding mental health holds and firearm possession.

If you have been subject to an involuntary mental health hold, it's important to understand the laws in your specific state and how they may impact your rights. In some cases, a short-term hold might not be reported in a way that affects your ability to purchase firearms, but this is not uniform across all jurisdictions. If there's concern or confusion about your eligibility, consulting with legal counsel knowledgeable about firearms law and mental health regulations in your state can provide clarity and guidance on your rights and obligations.

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