Editorial: Preventing Mental Health Patients with No Criminal History from Obtaining Guns

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By: Steven Hatfield

I’ve sent this message to the governor’s email address twice as a suggestion for a way to help stop some of the wrong people from getting their hands on guns. It won’t stop hatred, religious extremists but hopefully, it will stop the mentally ill.

Below is the text of that message.

We know that most shootings are committed by a person with some type of mental health issues or history. My suggestion is very simple, Any person wishing to buy a gun or ammunition must sign a HIPAA law waiver allowing a check into medical records, medical history and a look at a person’s medications.

This would allow us to prevent mental health patients with no criminal history from obtaining guns and ammunition. Our current system allows for these people to obtain guns and ammunition, mental stability isn’t looked at. I would also suggest strengthening the Baker Act by lowering the threshold for a police officer to place a person in custody and indemnify the officers from any legal action.

My suggestion is: If law enforcement receives a credible complaint or concern that a person wants to do harm to himself or others that they are given the authority to act, no matter what the suspect says.

Under the current system if a suspect simply denies making statements that they would commit suicide or homicide or harm others the responding officers would not have the authority to move forward and place that person in custody.

I’m asking anyone who knows a politician that can use this information to change our system, please do.

Steven Hatfield lives in Tamarac and is a retired police officer from Massachusetts. All opinions are welcome.  Please submit yours to Tamarac Talk

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