North Bay man, committed to psych ward as teen, sues to own guns

A Sonoma County man who says he was committed to a psychiatric ward years ago at 18 is suing the federal government and California over his prohibition from owning guns. Easton Stokes argues in his lawsuit that an “unconstitutionally broad ban” on firearms possession for anyone ever committed to a mental institution violates his Second Amendment right to bear arms.

While federal law bars gun possession by people who have been committed to a mental facility, it allows anyone no longer deemed a public safety threat to have their gun rights restored, the suit said. Although the federal government has delegated the restoration process to states, California has no such mechanism, the suit filed Monday in Northern California U.S. District Court contends. The state Department of Justice did not respond to request for comment about its process.

Stokes, now a construction worker in his mid-30s who wants to inherit his grandfather’s guns, said in his suit that during his last year of high school, he took psilocybin “magic” mushrooms, which worsened “mental changes” he’d been experiencing. He started having trouble sleeping, stopped eating and felt depressed, according to the suit.

A resident of Forestville at the time, he checked himself into a health facility in nearby Santa Rosa, and staff there sent him via ambulance to a psychiatric center, where he was committed under state law for 16 days, the suit said. After his release, his psychiatrist gradually decreased his medication and within four months removed him from it, according to the suit.

“In the nearly two decades that have passed, Mr. Stokes has not suffered any mental
health issues,” the suit said. “Mr. Stokes is respected by his community, and considered to be intelligent, forthright, humorous and personable. Mr. Stokes has volunteered as a teen mentor, and has been consistently employed. Mr. Stokes is …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Health


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