Bill won't stop mentally ill gun owners

SANTA FE(KRQE) — The New Mexico House Wednesday passed a bill that would require courts to make information about the mentally ill more accessible during background checks for gun buyers.However, not everyone who’s being treated for a mental disorder will be on that list.

Gunman in shootings at Virginia Tech, Tucson, Arizona, Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut were all said to have dealt with some sort of mental health issue.

On Wednesday, state representatives made it clear they want information about the mentally ill more accessible in background checks on gun buyers by passing a bill that address that issue.

The bill would require the courts to pass on information about those found to be mentally ill to the FBI to be put into a national database. Many state representatives said that was a good thing.

“Background checks are a good thing. Responsibility is a good thing. This is not about insulting gun owners,” Representative Bill McCamley said.

However, DA Rick Tedrow, President of the New Mexico District Attorneys Association said the courts only deal with a fraction of the state's mentally ill.

“If they're not brought to our attention there is no way we would have information on that,” Tedrow said.

Tedrow said the courts could send info on those deemed incompetent to stand trial in a criminal case or in civil cases where a judge orders someone to undergo treatment.

However, there are hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans who will suffer some sort of mental illness at some point in their lives and most of them will never step foot in court for it.

“I think there could be a lot of situations where someone could be mentally defective but there is no way it will get into a database unless doctors are required to report such deficiencies,” Tedrow said.

Tedrow said the bill could limit criminals, who are deemed mentally ill, from getting a gun if purchase the gun the legal route. However, he added that criminals become “creative” when they want to commit a crime and the bill would not stop them from getting guns entirely.

Republican State Representative Nate Gentry said he wanted the bill to require health professionals to report patients they felt were a danger straight to the national database. That was taken off the table.

Governor Susana Martinez, a gun owner herself, has said she will sign the bill if it reaches her desk in its current form.

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New Mexico (change)

New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.
Offices & Officials

Governor: Susana Martinez
Lieutenant Governor: John Sanchez
Attorney General: Gary King
Secretary of State: Dianna J. Durán

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