The National Rifle Association is making enemies out of its usual close friends — other pro-gun groups — by supporting a Florida House Bill that would bar individuals from buying guns if they voluntarily seek mental health treatment and are then diagnosed as imminent dangers.
The National Association for Gun Rights and Gun Owners of America have vigorously protested the Florida bill, HB 1355, and rallied Florida gun proponents to send Florida Gov. Rick Scott more than 20,000 messages in recent weeks and calling on him to veto the bill, according to the Herald-Tribune.
The distinction between the new firearm bill and the current gun legislation in Florida hinges on the right of an individual who is voluntarily committed instead of involuntarily committed after being detained to purchase firearms.
Under the Baker Act, which lets law enforcement officials and physicians propose the involuntary mental health examination of an individual, about 115,000 people were detained for mental health reasons last year, according to Guns.com.
Of those 115,000 people, 99 percent voluntarily decided to get treatment and were legally able to obtain guns. With the new bill, those individuals who voluntarily committed and then were diagnosed as imminent dangers to themselves or others would be barred from purchasing guns. Individuals would have to satisfy both criteria for the bill to affect them.
Those deemed as threats to themselves and others would also be entered into a database so firearms dealers could conduct better background checks on gun buyers.
The bill passed the Senate and House easily having only one vote cast in opposition to it out of 160 total votes. Scott has yet to disclose what will be his response to the bill.
The bill is the only law addressing gun control to pass in the two months after mass shootings at an elementary school in Newtown killed 26 people — 20 of them children — more than half a year ago.