BRADENTON – State legislation to restrict the purchase of firearms by mentally ill individuals has been signed into law. House Bill 1355, which enjoys the backing of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, an affiliate of the National Rifle Association, closes a gap which previously allowed Floridians faced with commitment for psychiatric treatment to purchase guns.
While gun buyers already have had to state that they have not been adjudicated as "mentally incompetent," some patients have agreed to voluntary commitment and then withdrawn that agreement, meaning they have not been adjudicated "dangerous to themselves or others" and have been able to access guns.
The law took effect on Monday, when it was signed by Governor Rick Scott. The bill was sponsored by state Rep. Barbara Watson (D-Miami), making it the only Democratic-sponsored gun measure to pass in the Republican-controlled Legislature this year.
“I am proud to have been the House sponsor of this measure to enhance Florida’s ability to keep persons with mental illnesses who are known to be a danger to themselves or others from purchasing firearms,” said Representative Watson. “This new law will give needed protection for Floridians.”
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