Ohio bartender charged with threatening to kill Boehner

A mentally deranged bartender who worked at a country club where Speaker of the House John Boehner was a member, has been charged with threatening to murder the congressman last fall.

Michael R. Hoyt, a resident of Cincinnati, is currently having his mental state evaluated. He claims to be Jesus Christ and believes Boehner is responsible for the Ebola virus.

Fox News:

According to the criminal complaint, Hoyt said he had a loaded Beretta .380 automatic pistol and he was going to shoot Boehner. Hoyt volunteered to be taken to a psychiatric hospital, and police took his weapon.

He is currently being held under a court order for mental evaluation and treatment, and U.S. Capitol Police and the FBI believe he "poses a current and ongoing credible threat" to Boehner, the complaint added.

The complaint says Hoyt was treated for a previous psychotic episode about two years ago. He was prescribed medication "which he voluntarily stopped taking" about six months ago, it added.

A senior congressional source told Fox News that Hoyt was committed to a mental institution from October through the end of December but then was released. Once he was out, law enforcement felt strongly enough to move to indict him to get him off the street because of the potential threat posed to Boehner.

“He said some things that really spooked us,” said one senior congressional source who is familiar with the case but asked not to be identified.

As speaker of the House, Boehner is second in line for the presidency in the event of a vacancy. His congressional district includes part of western Ohio.

A spokesman for Boehner, Michael Steel, said the speaker is "aware of the situation and sincerely thanks the FBI, the Capitol Police and the local authorities in Ohio for their efforts."

Immediate question that comes to mind; how did this guy get a gun? It points up the difficulty that many states experience in judging the mental state of those applying for a handgun license. Mental health advocates believe that a previous incarceration for mental disease should not disqualify someone from getting a handgun license. Ineed, we've seen abuse of this law in a number of cases - including a recent incident involving a New York state retired cop whose guns were confiscated because his psychiatrist informed authorities he was suffering from insomnia.

Can you deny a gun license to someone who voluntarily stops taking medication that treats a mental condition? You would think so, except it's very difficult to discover whether someone isn't taking their meds.

The bottom line is that some people should not be able to purchase or own a firearm because their mental state makes them a danger to themselves or others. But finding a happy medium that would protect society while also protecting the individual's right to own a gun is going to be an evolving process that requires thoughtful application of the law.

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