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Friday, March 8, 2013 - 11:52am

What Changes In Gun Law Could Mean

The State House has approved legislation allowing people who have voluntarily sought inpatient treatment for mental illness or substance abuse to get gun licenses.

Andrew Johnson with the state Department of Behavioral Health, says his agency hasn’t taken a stand on the bill. But he says the proposal would require a judge to review cases where someone has been ordered into out-patient treatment.

“This law as amended looks at involuntary treatment. So that could be in-patient or out-patient. So there are some respects where this law actually expands who it covers. Because there are some areas where there is court-ordered out-patient treatment, which wouldn’t require hospitalization.”he says.

Johnson says current law only covers court-ordered in-patient treatment.

He says another thing that would be different under the bill would be how judges look at hospitalization. Currently, even if doctors say you pose no danger to yourself or others, if you have admitted yourself, you have been considered hospitalized.

Johnson says “ They don’t consider what the outcome of the evaluation was, it’s just whether you’ve been hospitalized.”

Under the proposed bill, judges could refuse a gun permit if you had been found to be a danger to yourself or others. That could include involuntary commitment, or court ordered outpatient services.

The bill now heads to the state Senate.

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