TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that will close a loophole that allowed dangerously mentally ill people to admit themselves for treatment, then quickly check out and buy a gun.
The legislation was one of the most significant gun bills to pass this year's legislative session and was supported by Democrats, Republicans and the National Rifle Association. The measure was one of 47 bills Scott signed, including bills that will outlaw the dyeing of bunnies and chicks, and give citizens the right to speak at government meetings.
The gun bill addresses people who doctors say pose a danger to themselves or others. Their names will be put into databases to prevent them from buying guns.
If the patient doesn't agree to be voluntarily admitted for treatment, an involuntary commitment petition would be filed. Patients who voluntarily committed themselves would do so with the understanding that they would be barred from purchasing firearms.
If patients refused to give up their gun-purchasing rights, the involuntary commitment process would proceed.
The bill includes a pathway for people to petition the court to regain their gun-purchasing rights after they are treated. A doctor would have to agree that the person should regain the right.
Among other bills Scott signed is a measure that will guarantee citizens' rights to speak at government meetings. The bill allows governments to set time limits on public comment and exempts some meetings of an emergency or purely ceremonial nature.
Another bill creates a public records exemption for the names of law enforcement officers' spouses and children.
He also signed a bill that prohibits the sale or giving away of artificially colored bunnies, chicks and ducklings. Scott last year signed a bill to rescind a 45-year-old animal dyeing ban last year after groomers told lawmakers they wanted to dye their show dogs.
The ban had been put into place to prevent people from buying the colored animals during Easter. The animals often would be released afterward and die.
Violators could face a year in jail. It will be a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison to possess personal information from more than five people.