Fixing the Mental Health Data Base

By: Mike Vasilinda Email
By: Mike Vasilinda Email

Gun buyers must fill out this form when purchasing. One question asks specifically if the buyer if they have ever been committed to a mental institution. But records in Florida miss thousands of people who voluntarily checked themselves in for treatment. A measure to close that loophole is supported by the NRA.

“This is a good bill. It is essential to being able to follow the law to keep people with mental illnesses from purchasing firearms.”, says Marion Hammer, National Rifle Association/Unified Sportsmen of Florida.

Under the legislation, anyone voluntarily checking themselves in for mental health treatment would have to sign a form. The form acknowledges they had been ordered to seek help and if they do not go voluntarily, they would be committed. When they sign the form they also give up their right to gun ownership.

“If it’s just one and it saves one life it is a significant bill. I believe we can say that some of those issues had they been in place across the nation, would have prevented maybe Sandy Hooks.”, says bill’s sponsor Rep. Barbara Watson, D-Miami.

No one has any real hard numbers in how many people slipped through the loophole, but it’s widely believed more people commit themselves voluntarily than are actually forced to seek treatment.

Legally, those who commit themselves voluntarily are supposed to check the “yes” box on the gun purchase form. “This just puts a mechanism in place so that we can better follow the law.”, says Marion Hammer.

More than 90 thousand people are on the Florida database of those adjudicated mentally ill.

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