About a week ago, the Georgia House took a vote in relation to the state’s gun laws. The vote focused on those who had voluntarily checked themselves into inpatient care for mental illness or substance abuse. Passing 117-56, the legislature agreed to issue these people gun permits, as long as all other requirements were met. Permits for those who were involuntarily committed within the past five years, would still be up to the discretion of a county judge.*
It’s widely known that Georgia is a pretty gun friendly state, but since the Connecticut school shooting, most states have been tightening, rather than relaxing gun laws. While I have said, that GA’s gun laws make it a little too easy to get a firearm, I actually appreciate this recent change.
Receiving a firearms permit in the state of Georgia, does not guarantee a person the ability to purchase a gun, it just makes the process smoother. Similarly, a person who does not have a license may still buy a firearm. However, if one has been turned down for a permit, they are likely to be turned down for a gun sale as well. Due to this system, laws regarding those who may receive permits in Georgia, may have almost no bearing on an individual firearms sale.
The easing the permit rules for those who have voluntarily sought help for a mental illness, helps to de-stigmatize psychiatric illness. It has been assumed that tending to one’s mental health is a sign of weakness. However, it should be viewed as a sign of strength. Asking for help, when it comes to illness, shows that a person has the desire to get healthy. This is a huge part of the process when dealing with psychiatric diseases.
But that’s just my opinion.
*Source: Associated Press report on March 7th, 2013 by Ray Henry