Tennessee proposing law to deny people on SSRI's right to buy/own a gun?

I just read the following article, very scary.


Posted on April 20, 2023 by JohnHarris0 Comments

Another “Red Flag” category of legislation has surfaced on April 20, 2023. This one is written as an amendment to House Bill 768 by Representative John Ragan and Senate Bill 522 by Senator Frank Nicely At this time, we have no information to indicate that either of these sponsors are cooperating with the proposed amendment or even willing to consider it.

This bill comes from a different angle. What it seeks to do is to create a new class of prohibited persons in Tennessee who will loose their 2nd Amendment rights, perhaps permanently, based solely on whether the individual is taking one of ten (10) specifically listed prescription drugs. The drugs listed in the legislation are:

(1) Citalopram;
(2) Fluvoxamine;
(3) Paroxetine;
(4) Fluoxetine;
(5) Sertraline;
(6) Venlafaxine;
(7) Mirtazapine;
(8) Nefazodone;
(9) Bupropion; and
(10) Escitalopram.

As written, the proposed amendment would require that the individual receiving a prescription for one of these drugs would have to sign an acknowledgement that the person:

(A) Understands and agrees to be barred from the purchase of a firearm for at least the duration of the treatment regimen; and
(B) Understands and agrees that information concerning the prescription will be shared with the Tennessee bureau of investigation and that the patient waives the patient’s non-disclosure rights under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) (42 U.S.C. § 1320d et seq.) and other federal and state confidentiality laws for purposes of sharing information concerning the prescription with the Tennessee bureau of investigation.

The proposed legislation would require that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation create a database of people who are taking these medications and that anyone attempting to purchase a firearm from a federally licensed dealer would be denied by TBI when the background check is performed.

There is nothing in the legislation to indicate that it takes any into any consideration whether the person is a risk of harm to themselves or others because of being prescribed the mediation. There is nothing in the legislation that addresses whether the medication is being used in different doses or for “off-label” purposes. There is simply nothing in the legislation to suggest that there is any material or scientific basis for this proposal.

my source is https://tennesseefirearms.com/2023/04/additional-red-flag-proposal-seeks-to-target-individuals-on-specific-prescriptions/


I hope this proposal gets squashed, but there is a positive side. Someone actually believes that SSRIs are so dangerous they need to come with red flag!


Interesting. Thanks for posting this.

I noticed that that list does not include oxycontin (or any other opioid), that is highly addictive (it’s basically heroin with a fancy name) and has probably killed many more Tennessians than all the prescribed SSRIs combined.

Nor are the companies and their employees who push these drugs classified as “prohibited persons” for purposes of firearm restrictions. If an addict or drug user is banned from possessing or purchasing firearms, shouldn’t the drug dealer he gets his drugs from be similarly classified?


Well the issue is they are targeting people who take antidepressants, that is their angle you take an SSRI therefore you have mental health issues ergo should not own a gun.

Yes but SSRI’s are commonly prescribed. I do not live in TN, so this does not affect me. I take a medication on that list, and it has not turned me into a homicidal lunatic. Really as illegal as it sounds, people NOT taking their medication sounds like better grounds to deny a person a gun as opposed to denying it to someone who is on their medications. And I do not support either proposition. I am just pointing out the obvious non sequitur here.

And quite frankly if they are legally prescribed a controlled substance including opiates and are taking it as prescribed, then that should not be a problem either.


So what we’re saying here is, if you do something to improve your mental health and that something includes a legally prescribed medication, we take your 2A rights. In other words, we’d rather have people with untreated mental illness purchase firearms than have those that are doing something about their mental health issues.


Correct, because if the doctor is going to prescribe you a medication, before they give it to you, you sign a paper acknowledging you can’t buy a gun and that data will be shared to the TBI. So you can say I like my guns do not give me the medication and that is OK.


And we (general we) wonder why some people are weary of seeking treatment for mental health concerns

Squash indeed


I meant no offense to any patients. However, a rumor has long circulated that SSRI drugs are the common variable in inexplicable mass shootings. Of couse, official studies found them “safe”.

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I and most people I know have that taken them for years without serious issue.


They left off Tylenol and Advil.


That’s kinda the choice imposed on people who have a medical marijuana card. The drug may be legal under state laws to treat a variety of maladies, but illegal under federal law. When individuals purchase a firearm, they must attest on the 4470 form that they are not drug addicts or users of illegal drugs, to include possession of a medical marijuana card.


That’s a different story and not a fair comparison . While medical marijuana may have good uses, at the federal level it schedule I and considered illegal to possess for any reason, again at the federal level.

You can’t compare that to Prozac or medications along those lines which are not controlled substances and only need a prescription.

When I fill out my form it ask if I am current user or addicted to illegal drugs. It does not ask about my prescribed maintenance medications.



Marijuana is federally illegal period. Full stop

Those who obtain a marijuana card from the state and purchase, possess, use, whatever, marijuana, are federal criminals. Full stop.

As others have said on this forum, if you break the law, you are a criminal (and in some opinions, have earned any punishments that come your way). Marijuana is just plain illegal.

It does, however, become extra super duper illegal with potentially stiff minimum sentencing if that marijuana use is combined with purchase/possession of a firearm. Just, goes from bad to worse


Question g on the form 4470 is:

"*Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?

Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside."

My reading of that is addicted to “ANY depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug or any other controlled substance” is pretty broad and could be interpreted to cover someone who is addicted to a prescribed drug, like oxycontin (which is essentially heroin with a fancy name) since it is (1) a narcotic drug and (2) a controlled substance. Now, it is an open question whether one can be considered addicted to an SSRI, which could be considered a stimulant, and certainly a controlled substance, just like oxycontin is a controlled substance.

I think the intent of the law is to target our “prescribe and forget” medical system since a substantial number of mass killers have been individuals known to the mental health community and often prescribed psychotropic drugs to change their dysfunctional personalities. And, the known side effects of some of these drugs is homicidal or suicidal thoughts.

But, in my view, banning possession of firearms for possession, use or addiction to drugs is simply being leveraged as a means of restricting firearms ownership and criminalizing otherwise law-abiding individuals. Said differently, Nixon’s failed war on drugs is being used as a gun control (restriction) mechanism. In a perfect world, question g would be eliminated from the form 4470, but that’s not the world we live in, is it?


" unlawful user of, or addicted to"

I suppose we need to define “addicted to”?


I know I’m an odd ball. However I took one of those listed for over 10 years. I was never so happy to get off of it in all my life.


The word “or” is a conjugation. It means either what’s before or after it have to be true. Lawful prescription is not covered in that statement. If your prescribed and using properly your neither an unlawful user or addicted to.

An antidepressant by definition is not a depressant. spoiler alert: it’s in the name. antidepressants are not controlled substances, they are not stimulants. They are legally prescribed medications approved by the FDA for their intended use. I’m getting the feeling your not clear on this particular issue. I used to take Ritalin which is is a stimulant and a controlled substance but I had a prescription and used as directed so it was not an issue.

If someone has a valid prescription for OxyContin and they are using it as prescribed and the advisement of a doctor then they are fine. If they are buying it off a dealer or abusing their prescription then they are not in compliance with question G. Some Narcotics are FDA approved at the federal level. Marijuana is not fda approved.

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And making those definitions is a power delegated by Congress to the ATF as part of its rulemaking authority. A politicized ATF, seeking to limit firearms ownership as directed by its political leadership could define “addicted to” very broadly as it did with marijuana possession and state-authorized medical marijuana cards.


Interpreting addicted to and the language of question g, is a power delegated by Congress to the ATF. I suspect we’ll see more in this area.


I don’t think it’s fair to say the ATF defined anything with marijuana…that’s straight up federally illegal and not because ATF said so