Rick Scott just signed a law here in Florida.
This new law, no matter what you think of it, calls for allowing a court to prohibit a violent or mentally ill individual from purchasing or possessing a firearm or any other weapon. If a law enforcement officer believes that a person poses a danger to themselves or others by possessing a firearm, they can petition a court to have the individual immediately surrender the firearm and prohibit them from possessing or purchasing firearms. This law also allows law enforcement to seize firearms when a person has been detained under the “Baker Act.” Also prohibits a person who has been “adjudicated mentally defective” or who has been “committed to a mental institution” from owning or possessing a firearm.
That’s almost the exact language used in the press release on this law.
I’m not going to argue that people with mental illness should not have guns. Instead, I’m going to tell you, based on my knowledge of the psychiatric system, what people who are “locked up” in psychiatric hospitals are really like.
The majority of people I’ve come across who are in long-term care are not violent, criminal minds. We don’t need to worry about them not having guns. These are people who cannot speak, cannot eat on their own, cannot brush their hair.
Go volunteer at your local hospital, find the ones who are there long-term, and find out for yourself. Most of the time, they aren’t going to be people who you’d be worried about having a gun. They are people who need help being fed, staying alive and well, and many who are not even oriented to their surroundings.
In my experience, psychiatric hospitals need supplies for their patients. They need things like comfortable shirts, socks, bras, underware, and so forth. But call your local hospital and find out what they need. While people with mental illness are being demonized, it’s best to go find out for yourself and to provide some comfort and care.