Mental health subject, guns reignited after shooting in Texas
WEST PALM BEACH, Florida – With the tragedy of 19 children and two teachers killed Inside a Texas school, the issue of mental health and guns in America is a topic that just won’t go away.
Contact 5 spoke to Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and State Senator Lori Berman, D-Delray Beach, earlier this year about this topic.
Berman crafted legislation as a state representative four months before the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The legislation was signed by the governor at the time. Rick Scott and gives law enforcement the power to go to court and ask a judge to order firearms removed from the possession and homes of Floridians who may pose a threat to themselves or for the community.
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“The governor prepared a package after Parkland, and he included that bill in the package,” Berman said.
But Berman believes the law doesn’t go far enough.
She wants to see it expanded to allow family members to petition a court to remove a relative’s firearms.
“I think there are a lot of family members who don’t want to have to go to the police and say, ‘Please take the guns off my family member’, but they would go to court. “, she said.
WPTV also spoke to Bradshaw earlier this year, who said PBSO handles about 3,500 mental health calls a year.
He wants to expand his mental health unit – which includes licensed clinical therapists – who are working to mitigate threats in the community.
“The system before RPOs (Risk Protection Orders) were created if we seized someone’s gun and they got out of jail, by law we had to give it back to them the next day,” said said the sheriff.
He is a proponent of risk protection orders as a tool to ensure public safety.
“I believe people should protect themselves, but I also believe we should take guns out of the hands of people who don’t have the capacity or the mental acumen to possess them,” Bradshaw said. “That’s why it matters.”
Berman told Contact 5 on Tuesday evening that she is considering filing legislation to expand the use of harm protection orders to family members.