Yes, it does matter for involuntary commitment. 72 hour holds are not typically a problem. Longer holds are generally indicative of treatment, not simply observation, and that is the crux of the issue.
The BATF does not consider commitment for observation or self commitment to be a disqualifying factor---as far as the feds are concerned---for the ownership of a firearm.
You essentially have to now show that despite the prior hospitalization, that you are not presently afflicted by mental illness. This is most often done by obtaining a recent medical report from a licensed psychiatrist, and submitting it to the licensing agency in your state when you apply for your permit.
If you are still denied based on the commitment issue, you will have an appeals process that will be available to you.
I wish you the best in 2010.
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