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Returning With PTSD May Have Unforseen Consequences

Mental Disorders are classified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association. In May 2013, the fifth revision (DSM-5) is scheduled for release, and is projected to have some changes to the the diagnostic criteria for PTSD. According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the DSM-V will no longer have the A2 Criterion for PTSD (requiring fear, helplessness or horror to happen right after the trauma), and will be moved from an anxiety disorder to a new class of "trauma and stressor-related disorders". As diagnosis of PTSD as a disorder becomes more prevalent, limitations on people with mental disorders is being debated by Congress. Specifically, currently Congress is debating stricter gun control laws and stricter regulations on people with diagnosed mental disorders to own or otherwise obtain permits to own firearms. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 46 of the 50 states have statutory prohibitions on the gun ownership of people suffering from mental disorders. Furthermore, under 18 U.S.C. § 922(d), it is unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person “has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution." Unfortunately, as the gun control debate proceeds in Congress, proponents on both sides have not been clear on how to address Veterans with PTSD, who have fought for the right to bear arms.