New Florida Law Banning Mentally Ill From Buying Guns Still In Implementation Phase

Oct 10, 2013

Several Florida agencies recently gave Florida lawmakers an update on the rollout of a new law curbing the sale of guns to certain people with mental illnesses. The NRA-backed law went into effect months ago, and state officials are still looking into how to enforce it.

The new statute prohibits people from purchasing a gun if they’ve voluntary committed themselves to a mental institution and are deemed an imminent danger to themselves or others.  To implement it, the Florida Department of Children and Families, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Clerk of Courts must work together. Interim Assistant DCF Secretary Nevin Smith says a workgroup, headed by the FDLE, is now trying to figure out how to do that.

“Essentially, the Legislature funds the mental health facility through AHCA [Agency for Health Care Administration], but I think FDLE was wise in that they’re going to use DCF to reach out to the mental health facilities and ensure that the information they need—the 131 receiving facilities around the state that receive people under Baker Act conditions or involuntary conditions are in fact notified and they have adequate information,” said Smith.

The focus now is on doing formalized training across the state. There’ve been two meetings so far to look into how to do that. Another is scheduled for the workgroup on October 28th.

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