Bill: Those who commit selves to mental health facility can't own gun

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A bill that stops mentally ill people from owning guns is waiting for Gov. Rick Scott's signature. But some are campaigning for Scott to veto it.

The law would not allow people who voluntarily commit themselves to a mental health facility to own a gun. But there is a lot of confusion surrounding the details of the bill.

This week, customers at Green Acres Sporting Goods in Jacksonville have been discussing House Bill 1355. Eddie Farhat, who works at the store, has heard customer concerns about the bill.

"They're concerned their gun rights are going to be taken away and that this will cause other laws to come about to further take away their rights," he said.

Jacksonville state Sen. Audrey Gibson sponsored the bill. The law already prevents people who were involuntarily Baker Acted from buying a gun.

Gibson said this law is including all people who are committed to a mental health facility. It does not stop those going to a counselor, doctor or clinic for mental help from buying a gun.

"This is not an anti-mental health bill. It's a pro-safety bill, not only for the individual, but for our community at large," Gibson said.

The nation's largest gun group, the National Rifle Association, supports this bill. But a smaller group called the Gun Owners of America is asking Scott to veto it, calling it a slippery slope.

"Every day we get letters from people saying, 'You know, I went to see a shrink, had a bad experience in Baghdad. Lo and behold, I've lost my guns. I've called back,'" said Mike Hammond, of Gun Owners of America. "'If I want to get them back, I have to go hire a lawyer. I went to see a lawyer and they say that will be a $30,000 retainer, and I, having just come back from Iraq, don't have any money.'"

Farhat and his customers are now waiting on the governor to see if the bill becomes law.

"We're always paying attention to the laws. We're always keeping the TV on the news," he said. "We're always paying attention to what's going to pass."

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