Covering Louisiana

Jan 16, 2013 11:46 PM by Steven Albritton

Jindal Proposes Legislation to Keep Mentally Ill From Getting Guns


Here at home there is mixed reaction to the President's proposals on gun control. Governor Bobby Jindal is making plans of his own to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. Under his proposed legislation, an individual's mental health records would be submitted to the national database used for background checks for buying guns. With the Newtown tragedy fresh on so many minds and the debate over gun control heating up, supporters of Jindal's proposal argue his plan addresses at least one part of the problem.

"By changing our law to allow that it gets at the heart of what we're trying to accomplish. The bottom line is were trying to keep our convicted felons from purchasing or having handguns and the same thing with our mentally ill," Colonel Mike Edmonson said.

Not everyone agrees. Psychiatrist Dr. Bob Winston is a gun owner himself. He works daily with the mentally ill and would like to see a more sound definition of mental illness used. He believes right now it leaves a gray area.

"I'm just really not comfortable with the idea of using mental illness quote unquote, as a category to refuse someone the right to buy a gun," he said.

Under the proposed legislation, if someone is put in the database and prohibited from being sold guns the state would have the authority to request removal of that person pending evaluation from a health care professional.

"Most of those people are not a danger to themselves. Really. and they're not a danger to the public. but they would be labeled as such and would be put on the list. I imagine it would be very hard to get off," Dr. Winston said.

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