Pennsylvania State Trooper Michael Keyes can carry a firearm while on duty but when he clocks out, he must surrender his firearm(s) or be in violation of federal law. How is this possible?
Seven years ago the good Trooper tried repeatedly to kill himself by overdosing with drugs. Eventually he was involuntarily committed to a mental health institution for treatment. This all happened in 2006 while he was employed by the Pennsylvania State Police.
He remained in treatment for a year and upon completion he began to fight for his job back, according to The Patriot-News. The State Police fought against his reinstatement however an arbitrator disagreed and ordered his return to duty. A Commonwealth Court upheld that decision. The State Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the lower courts ruling and he was placed back on duty in 2010. In addition to being given his old job back, the Commonwealth Court also saw fit to award him nearly $16,000 in back pay.
In 2008 Keyes began his battle to have his rights reinstated so he could legally own and carry firearms while off duty. Federal gun control laws prohibit any person who has been subject to involuntary mental health commitments from possessing firearms. The fact of the matter is, you don’t need to be committed to a mental health facility to lose your rights. If you are adjudged mentally defective by the state, you can kiss your 2nd Amendment rights good-bye for life.
On December 24th, a Commonwealth Superior Court ruled that Keyes would not have his right to own firearms reinstated and that this was not a violation of his 2nd Amendment rights. The judge found that banning the mentally defective from possessing firearms only applies to an “extremely small” class of citizens and has a solid public safety basis.
Surprisingly, the judge also found that Keyes could remain employed as a State Trooper and carry a firearm while acting in such a capacity because he would be under the supervision and observation of superior officers and his fellow Troopers. The judge went on to say, “Were Keyes to again fall into a depressive state with suicidal ideation, it would be much more likely to be discovered while he is on duty and his supervisors could then restrict his access to state police firearms”.
Seriously? The court found that officer Keyes isn’t to be trusted with a gun because he’s mentally unstable, but it’s ok for him to be in possession of a state issued firearm as long as he’s wearing a uniform and policing others. Yeah, that makes perfect sense.
Read more: State Trooper can carry a gun, just not off duty | The Bang Switch