Investigation: Mentally Ill Receiving Gun Permits In Fla.


Mad Man
February 12, 2003, 10:38 AM

Investigation: Mentally Ill Receiving Gun Permits In Fla.
Posted: 3:20 p.m. EST February 11, 2003

The state of Florida has issued concealed weapons permits to applicants found mentally ill or institutionalized for drug or alcohol abuse, according to an exclusive Problem Solvers investigation.

The state's Division of Licensing spends more than $2 million a year administering the concealed weapons permit program, Local 6 News reported.

The licensing department does screen potential gun holder's criminal backgrounds "but when it comes to checking mental fitness, the state is blind," Problem Solver Tony Pipitone reported.

A database, created by the Problem Solvers, was used to identify people who were committed against their will. The findings were then compared to a list of Florida's 310,000 concealed weapon permit holders.

The comparison found 12 local concealed weapons permit holders who are ineligible because local judges comitted them to mental institutions or drug or alcohol treatment centers.

The report focused on one of the ineligible applicants, Dexter Thomas.

Thomas was diagnosed with acute psychotic disorder.

He reportedly carries a gun on Florida streets and believes he is a member of law enforcement.

"That particular individual (Thomas) is rather scary," John Russi of the Florida Division of Licensing said when Pipitone presented Thomas' case.

Pipitone asked, "Why is the state of Florida letting someone who is mentally ill carry a concealed weapon."

"Well, we wouldn't normally do that if we were aware of his mental history," Russi said.

Pipitone asked, "If we were able to find these (people), why couldn't the state of Florida find these."

"Clearly, we don't have the resources to do a complete background check of everybody to that extent," Russi said.

Local 6 News reported that Russi is now addressing how the state can develop a database like the one used in the story to identify ineligible applicants before they receive permits.

Also, the state is trying to pull the concealed weapons permits of people identified in the report.


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February 12, 2003, 11:15 AM
I'm just going to have to call Bravo Sierra to local 6 problem solvers. This stinks to high heavens of made up "investigative" reporting. If someone is ordered by a judge-ie Baker acted IT IS recorded in the FDLE data base, and will kick out in the CCW process. Maybe the problem solvers will also talk about the hundreds of permits that are denied,and crimes actually solved, by the state running the fingerprints and background of every CCW applicant. They also forgot to report if the 12 people had their permit before or after the judge ordered them into an institution, or once instututionlized if their permits were revoked. This is just bad made up reporting, and I guess I should get use to it.And I did talk to a friend of mine that works in the General Councils office of Dept of State, and he hasn't heard of the Problem Solvers, and he sorta doubts the validity of this story.

The whole red herring of this story is "a data base created by the Problem Solvers".

February 12, 2003, 11:22 AM
These must be the same people who voted in 2000.

February 12, 2003, 04:00 PM
The state of Florida issued 310000 concealed weapons permits and, of that number, 12 were issued to the people described in the article. Now, I know that everybody in the media is absolutely perfect and I do not want to see folks issued permits who should not have them BUT !!!! That means that the error rate on those variables is something like 0.00038% ! Quite frankly, that seems to me to be quite good. Particulary for a state agency. Am I missing something? Good shooting;)

El Tejon
February 12, 2003, 04:08 PM
How many mentally ill people have firearms or carry firearms without having a license?

If the state po-po or whoever does the admin process down there does revoke the license of these 12 people, will the mentally ill stop carrying? Are they aware enough to know what this means?

BTW, anyone else notice that the mall ninja has a name, Dexter Thomas? And, apparently is retired in Florida! :D

Matthew Courtney
February 12, 2003, 08:02 PM
If Florida could do that well keeping up with children in foster care, it would be considered a huge improvement.

Matthew Courtney
February 12, 2003, 08:05 PM
Figuring that Folrida takes in annually over 6 million dollars in license fees, 2 million in expenses leaves a lot of money available.

February 12, 2003, 08:17 PM
Well hell. You all beat me to it. I was going to do the math and point out what a small percentage of dummies got guns and etc, and etc.... You guys take all the fun out of this! :D

February 12, 2003, 08:24 PM
Bahhhhhhh, that's nothing. I know at least a dozen cops on my dept of over 1000, that are insane and shouldn't have guns.
What's the big deal.:neener:

Art Eatman
February 12, 2003, 08:25 PM
I don't know if it's federal or state law, but by and large the records of mental illness are sealed. Not available to nobody, nohow, at least not legally without a court order.

Whoever provided the info was breaking the law.

The reason for the law being that way has to do with "Right to Privacy". Most records do not differentiate between voluntary and involuntary psychiatric treatment. A person who seeks help for a problem, and that problem is solved via counseling or chemical-imbalance treatment, still might well face a stigma which affects employability or social life.


El Tejon
February 12, 2003, 08:43 PM
Art, unless the ajudication proceeding is public record under Florida law.

O.K., class, which bloated toad from Massachusetts is responsible for the federal law Mr. Eatman cites? Bueller? Here's a hint his Oldsmobile has killed far more people than our guns. . . .

Standing Wolf
February 12, 2003, 08:57 PM
Smells like a fake to me.

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