Senate OKs bill to restore gun rights to formerly mentally ill
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Senators on Wednesday passed a bill that would give rehabilitated mentally ill individuals a chance to own firearms again by allowing them to petition to have their names removed from a federal registry.

Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, said those who have reestablished mental competency shouldn't have their Second Amendment rights denied to them — which is why he sponsored SB80.

"I would just say I believe this is an important step to adding due process that is inexplicably lacking in our state," Thatcher said.

It passed 23-3.

The measure came about after Thatcher said he wasn't comfortable with people not having a recourse to have their name removed from the National Instant Criminal Background Check system that keeps names on file preventing them from owning a gun.

Sen. Pat Jones, D-Holladay, had opposed the measure when passed out of committee — saying she wasn't comfortable with it. However, the measure was amended at her request to include a psychiatric evaluation rather than also include an option for a psychologist to review it.

"I think all of us would want to ensure those who have mental-health issues are in fact ready and able to have access to concealed weapons permit," Jones said.

The bill would require a person denied ownership of firearms due to mental illness be required to have a judge examine the case and would also allow prosecutors to review medical records and interview witnesses to determine the person could be removed from the list.

It now moves to the House for approval.

dmontero@sltrib.com

Twitter: @davemontero