PROVIDENCE, RI- 22–year–old Elliott Roger legally purchased three 9mm handguns and had more than 400 rounds of ammunition when he went on a killing spree at UC Santa Barbra and surrounding areas. His parents and health officials were aware of his mental health issues.
Outraged over the killings, Congressman David Cicilline is seeking bi–partisan support for his "End the Purchase of Firearms by Dangerous Individuals Act".
"In those instances where somebody is seriously mentally ill such that their possession of a firearm would be dangerous to themselves or others, we ought to have a system that doesn't allow those individuals to go into a gun store and buy a gun," said Cicilline.
The bill allows mental health professionals to report patients deemed to be a danger to the FBI background check system, in order to prevent them from lawfully purchasing firearms.
Cicilline's uncle and clinical psychologist, J. Clement Cicilline says there are only a small number of people who would be considered dangerous with a gun.
"Bi–polar disorder; they could have schizophrenia or major depression, things of this sort where their capacity to reason is considerably diminished. So, as a consequence they feel like they have to act on it," said Cicilline.
Marc Ardizzone lives in Barrington. He said, "It's not a right. It's a privilege to have a firearm. I believe that there should be a list. If you have a mental illness you shouldn't have access to firearms period."
"It's kind of hard to single out a single group of people and put them on a list. That seems very targeted and I’m not sure I would be comfortable with that," said Providence resident, Ann Wang Ryan.
Only individuals involuntarily committed with strict criteria can go on the list.
States would set up their own reporting system and individuals recommended for the list, can appeal the decision.
This bill would not make it mandatory for health professionals to report patients, it's only an option for them to use.