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House Committee Discusses Guns & Mental Health
Under a federal court order, the Illinois general assembly has until June to pass a concealed carry law. Today, a number of organizations testified about what they think should be included with respect to mental health.
This is another in a series of informational hearings a House committee is holding on gun control. Representatives from the Illinois State Police, Alliance on Mental Illness, and National Rifle Association provided their input on how to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them.
Lawmakers want to make sure the state takes away Firearm Owner's Identification (FOID) cards from those who are not mentally fit. One of the questions they're discussing is which mental health cases should be reported to the state, and how.
"We look at their treatment, we get a statement from their treating physician or clinician or therapist," Jessica Trame of the Illinois State Police FOID Bureau said. "We get police reports if the police are involved. We talk to the local authorities to see if they have any reason that individual shouldn't be provided relief."
Under current law, the name of anyone committed to a mental institution is sent to the state. State police check that database before issuing a FOID card. There's an appeals process, but the agency is understaffed. The executive director of the Alliance for Mental Illness in Illinois urged lawmakers to be careful about stigmatizing the condition, for fear it may drive people away from getting treatment.
Quinn proposed increasing funding for mental health services and new Illinois State Police cadet classes during his budget address Wednesday.
The House committee has heard testimony about concealed carry and assault weapons for the last week and a half.