Californians suffering from severe mental problems may be barred from possessing firearms for life under a bill proposed by a state legislator in an attempt to reduce the number of suicides. The bill – AB-1968 – introduced by Assemblyman Evan Low on Jan. 31, 2018, would apply to those individuals deemed by the courts to be a danger to themselves as well as others and those who have been placed on a 5150 hold for mental health treatment.
Under current laws, people in these categories have their guns confiscated for five years. However, they may get their firearms once psychiatric facilities submit a petition for the same. But the proposed bill would permanently take away the firearms of anyone who has been placed on a 5150 hold twice in a given year without the possibility of intervention by any psychiatric facility. “People at risk of harming themselves or others should not have easy access to firearms,” Low said in a statement. “Research shows that suicide with a firearm is the most common and by far the most lethal suicide method. Just having a firearm in the home is a strong predictor for gun suicide,” the 34-year-old Democrat said.
The California District Attorneys Association (CDAA) has come forward to support the proposed legislation. According to Amador County District Attorney Todd Riebe, who is also the CDAA president, AB-1968 allows prosecutors sufficient time to scrutinize petitions submitted by individuals who may pose a risk to society, based on the available information.
On the flipside, mental health advocates blame the media for reinforcing the impression that chronic mental ailments lead to violence, as research suggests otherwise. According to a study, less than 3 to 5 percent of all shootings involve people with mental illness. The truth is people with poor mental health fail to receive professional help and treatment to recover from their condition.
Studies show most incidents of violence involving firearms in the recent years were carried out by people who should have been prohibited from using guns in the first place. Majority of Americans, including those who possess guns, believe that the government needs to take adequate preventive measures to avert such potential threats to society in the future. There is no doubt that an effective legislation can fix the loopholes in America’s gun laws, but there are also many other pressing factors that can be addressed only by providing access to life-saving mental and behavioral health treatments to those who are afflicted by this deplorable disease of the mind.
Mental health problems are treatable
Failing mental health is an ugly reality across the U.S. with more and more Americans suffering from different psychiatric disorders than one can even imagine. Around 20 percent adults in the country experience mental illness in a given year, reports the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). However, it is regrettable that just less than half of them receive treatment for their condition.
Sadly, for some reason or the other, society has made it immensely tough for individuals affected by mental conditions to speak out openly about their plight without the fear of being ridiculed or discriminated. Such people fear that expressing themselves would isolate them from the mainstream society and brand them as “lunatics,” multiplying their existing misery. However, the good thing is that mental disorders can be treated with timely professional treatment.
Sovereign Health of San Clemente, one of the leading mental health facilities in California, offers a variety of customized therapies to treat people with psychiatric disorders. Clinicians at our world-class mental health inpatient treatment centers are trained to identify the underlying causes and prescribe customized treatments as well as group psychotherapy based on a patient’s requirements. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives for more information about our evidence-based treatments.
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