Tallahassee, we’ve got a problem, and it’s called HB 1355. According to a Herald-Tribune blog post, Florida rep files bill to bar mentally ill from buying guns, State Representative Barbara Watson D-Tallahasse has just introduced a bill to deprive a segment of the citizenry of their constitutionally guaranteed right to own a firearm. There is now this piece of, legislation is not the word I had in mind, to be debated.
Under HB 1355, a person could be prohibited from purchasing a firearm if the examining physician finds the person imminently dangerous to himself or others and files a special certificate that if the person doesn’t agree to voluntary commitment for treatment, an involuntary commitment petition will be filed.
Alright. If that sounds like gun prohibition for a person who has been involuntarily committed. Think again.
At the time the person is diagnosed as dangerous, the person would receive written notice of the certification and agrees to accept voluntary commitment with a full understanding that he or she will be prohibited from purchasing a firearm or applying for a concealed weapons or firearms license or retaining one.
We’re talking about a plea bargain deal of the sort they offer in Virginia, the state with more National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) entrees than any other state in the union. You don’t get a reward for signing into the hospital voluntarily, instead you lose your gun ownership rights.
Were this bill law then, anybody who went into the hospital after being Baker Acted, that is, hospitalized after a 3 day hold for evaluation purposes, would then be listed in the NICS database.
If the person refused to sign, he or she would be involuntarily hospitalized, in which case he or she can kiss his or her 2nd amendment rights goodbye anyway.
Not a good bill. This bill would prejudice law enforcement against people on the basis of psychiatric history. It would also send their names to the top of the list of suspects anytime a violent crime occurred in their locality.