Apparently Marion Hammer is pushing a bill that would put people who voluntarily submit to mental health treatment to NICS.
The bill, HB 1355, would prohibit the sale of guns to people who voluntarily undergo outpatient mental health treatment after being given an involuntary examination under the Baker Act â€” but only if certain provisions are met.
The bill passed the state legislature with only one vote against it and now awaits Scottâ€™s signature before it becomes law.Â It has drawn attention from many, some urging Scott to veto the bill and others urging him to sign it.
â€œItâ€™s the right thing to do,â€ Hammer said. â€œKeeping the guns out of the hands of dangerous people with mental illnesses is what everybody should want to do.â€
From what it sounds like, this is roughly akin to pleading guilty in a criminal case. But if involuntary treatment would have been mandated, why not then proceed with the actual adjudication. If they revoke their voluntary status before treatment is completed, why not also go for an actual adjudication. If adjudication is difficult or impossible, I tend to think a better option would be revisiting the procedures.
Before gun ownership is restricted, an examining physician must first have found that the person is a threat to his- or herself or to others. The physician must also verify that if the person had not submitted to voluntary treatment, involuntary treatment would have been mandated.
Additionally, before agreeing to treatment, the person must have received notice that such treatment might restrict future gun ownership. That person must acknowledge receipt of such notice in writing.
Finally, a judge or magistrate must have reviewed the record classifying a person as a danger and ordered that the record be submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
If those four requirements are met, then gun ownership would be limited.
â€œ(The bill) does not cover people who voluntarily go to private counseling for help,â€ Hammer said.
I’m guessing involuntary examination under the Baker Act is roughly analogous to a 302 commitment in Pennsylvania, which counts for firearms disability for purposes of Pennsylvania law, but is not (as I understand it) considered to have enough due process for federal purposes. I’m concerned that NRA is pushing a law here that could have very bad consequences people’s Second Amendment rights without sufficient due process, but I am not an expert on how adjudications happen in Florida, or how difficult the process is.
Most firearms attorneys here in Pennsylvania will tell you that it’s routine for people in domestic situations to get taken in on a 302, triggering a sudden prohibition on firearms possession. Montco Firearms Attorney Jonathan Goldstein, who debated Ed Rendell on this topic recently, mentioned that it’s fairly common in domestic arguments. It takes no court, panel, or other kind of adjudication to get a 302, just the cops taking you in involuntarily (which is why if this happen, it’s advised that you go voluntarily). What’s being proposed in Florida would have a number of additional protections not available to Pennsylvanians, but I’m just curious why Marion Hammer is actively pushing this bill. It’s one thing to decide to go neutral on a bill, especially when there needs to be a sacrifice on the altar of “Something must be done!,” and you’ve whittled them down to something fairly innocuous. But quite another to be pushing it. I don’t think rights ought to be denied or disparaged without due process, and I’m very wary of setting a precent that voluntary treatment is grounds for a firearms disability. I think this will come back to bite us.