Controversial Gun Bill


Governor Scott passed a bill Friday that will make it more difficult for individuals seeking mental-health assistance to purchase a gun.

The key word in this bill is "voluntary." If an individual voluntarily seeks medical help for a mental-health issue, the State of Florida will block them from buying a gun while they are getting treated.

But, if their doctor deems that they are stable enough to bear firearms, then the individual can make the purchase.

Gun store owners say that they believe the new bill will enhance the background checks that are already in place. However, they are concerned about the unintended consequences, especially for veterans who might have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Will veterans be afraid to seek help for PTSD if they know they won't be able to purchase a gun?

Lawmakers say that was not one of the intentions of the bill. Its main purpose is to make sure that patients wishing to bear arms have been sufficiently treated to the point that they can responsibly do so.

Jim Arias, owner of Arias Artifacts, a gun store in Panama City Beach, says, "we're always supportive of anything that keeps firearms away from those who shouldn't have them. Almost every legitimate gun dealer will tell you that. What I'm worried about is the unintended consequences."

Rep. Jimmy Patronis (R) explains, "the law is voluntarily seeking help, voluntarily helping you get to the state in life where you can own a firearm again. And, if you haven't built a clear, certain threshold that only a medical professional can identify, then that's probably in the best interest of everybody, those in the public, and those that are seeking assistance themselves."

The bill passed unanimously except for one no-vote. It is also backed by the NRA, because it is designed not to profile individuals.

Watch the video above for more local response on the issue.


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