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Mental Health Treatment And Gun Rights

By: Matt Horn Email
By: Matt Horn Email

By: Matt Horn
June 18, 2013

A bi-partisan gun bill has made its way to the Governor’s desk. If signed into law, it will prevent tens of thousands of Floridians from buying firearms.

Gun control legislation intended to save lives, may deny thousands of Floridians the right to buy a gun. The legislation is on the Governor’s desk “I would think it would be very difficult for the governor not to sign a bill that keeps guns out of the hands of dangerous people with mental illnesses,” said the National Riffle Association’s Marion Hammer.

The legislation requires people who volunteer for mental health treatment to give up their gun rights. Mental health professionals want Rick Scott to veto the legislation. ”We believe in a sense the federal standard is the sound standard and that is there needs to be an adjudication,” said Florida Council for Community Mental Health’s John Bryant.

Supporters say the bill will only cover people who would otherwise be committed under the Baker Act. Commitment requires a diagnosis of mental illness and is considered harmful to themselves or others. Opponents worry the new bill creates unreasonable time frames for doctors to make life altering diagnosis.

“I think the people who have to implement this bill will find out it’s a lot more complicated and difficult to implement than anyone envisioned,” said Bryant.

Hammer says after a person with mental illness is treated, they’ll be able to petition the court to get their gun rights back. “They will not be able to purchase a gun until they had been treated and a psychiatrist says they need relief from disability,” she said.

Scott has two weeks to decide if he will sign the legislation.

According to the Governor’s Office, 17,008 e-mail’s have been sent, urging Rick Scott to veto the bill. Just one email encourages him to sign the legislation.


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