Gun permit protections from mental illness rely on self-reportin - WNEM TV 5

Gun permit protections from mental illness rely on self-reporting

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The right to bear arms is in the U.S. Constitution.

"I believe the population is a much safer place when folks have weapons," said Dave Laansma.

Yet, tragedies like the one in Louisiana yesterday make people question their safety in all public spaces, which opens the door to discussions about gun regulations.

 "No law is going to protect us, guns are too rampant – everywhere now," said Michael England.

And after this most recent mass shooting, the attention focuses not only guns but those with mental illness and their ability to get one.

The Genesee County clerk doesn’t believe that’s the right approach.

"It's not working, we need to get off the discussion about background checks and three day waiting periods," said Clerk John Gleason.

Right now a person who wishes to carry a weapon fills out this concealed pistol permit application.

The application asks the person to declare any mental health issues, by checking yes or no.

A three-person gun board then reviews the application, does a background check, and either grants or denies the permit.

"The biggest hurdle is self-policing. The individual signs the certificates. The application is signed by the individual," Gleason said.

By law, anyone with a history of mental illness would be denied. But if they don't volunteer that information, and there's no documentation to state otherwise, there's nothing stopping them from owning a gun.

"If America wants to get serious about mass shootings, then they have to make not the necessary the mass shootings the priority, but mental health coverage,” Gleason said. “We must get these folks taken care of that are doing the shooting."

Gleason said getting people the mental health care they need should be on the agenda, not necessarily gun control.

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