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    US Georgia Simplifies Gun Purchase for Mentally Ill

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    US Federal and State law forbids the purchase of guns by those who are mentally ill, however, a loophole in a Georgia law allows those who are involuntarily committed for mental health treatment to purchase firearms, according to a report.

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution revealed that over 500 names out of some 2000 mentally ill people have been removed from the National Instant background Check System this year. After five years pass, Georgian law states, names must be removed from the database without further review of their mental health.

    Georgia is the first state where automatic removal from a database is possible.

    "The public has massively overestimated the dangerousness of the mentally disordered," the Journal-Constitution quoted American Psychiatric Association head Dr. Steven Hoge as saying.

    Hoge believes that mental illness is cured within "weeks to months," and that a five-year waiting period is "reasonable."

    State Senator Renee Unterman echoed the professor's opinion, saying the law only adds to the stigma of mental disorder.

    "It's a tenuous position for someone to have had a mental illness," said Unterman. "Your mental health when you're 25 years old is different from when you're 55 years old. Why should you carry the baggage and stigma of mental illness?… If you stigmatize people, it makes people afraid to come out."

    Any state can send to the FBI the names of those remanded for hospitalization due to mental illness.

    The FBI doesn't determine which states contribute to background checks, but every state participates in the system, according to Lindsay Nichols, the Senior Attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

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    guns, gun control, mental illness, United States
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