Grant Co. prosecutor proposes gun restrictions for mentally ill | News
The Grant County prosecutor has proposed a law to the legislature in an effort to make it more difficult for the mentally ill to attain firearms.
Prosecutor D. Angus Lee wrote that he was looking to reduce “criminal misuse of firearms” and can do so by a “simple amendment” to the law that restores firearm rights to those involuntarily committed for mental health treatment.
Under the current law, people involuntarily committed can have their firearm rights restored “without sufficiently ensuring that their mental health is fully restored,” according to a news release.
In the letter addressed to Rep. Matt Manweller, Rep. Judy Warnick and Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry, Lee said that “under the current law the trial court must restore firearm rights even if the trial court feels that there is a 49.9 percent likelihood that the person who was once involuntarily committed has not successfully managed the condition related to the commitment, is likely to have a recurrence of the condition, and still presents a substantial danger to the public.”
To fix this problem, Lee proposes a minimum mandatory waiting period of 12 months after being released from an involuntary commitment. Lee also proposes a higher standard the person must prove a “higher degree of certainty that the person no longer represents a danger to the public before firearm rights are restored.”
Lee concluded his letter to the legislators by writing, “this issue is big and it is real, but this fix is small, cheap and easy. There really is no reason not to pass this amendment. Whether the action we take saves one life or many more, it matters … This legislation will reduce the criminal misuse of firearms by putting the focus of our laws where it belongs, and that is on keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill.”