The Dekalb County sheriff wants lawmakers to consider allowing a person's mental health status to be include in background checks needed to buy guns.
Sheriff Tom Brown made his case at the capitol on Thursday during a forum discussion.
Sheriff Brown said he believes that allowing a person's mental status to be included in a background check will keep guns out of the hands of potentially unstable people, like those accused in the Newtown, CT, and Aurora CO, mass shootings.
"If you look (at) mass killings that have taken place, it has always been the subject matter that this person had some kind of serious mental health challenge," Brown said. "Somebody knew they had these serious mental health challenges and knew that they never should have had a weapon in the first place."
Brown participated in a panel assembled by Georgia Sen. Donzella James to discuss assault weapons and gun control.
The discussion came a day after President Barack Obama challenge congress during his State of the Union speech to vote on universal background checks.
NRA-certified gun instructor Osiris Carter disagreed with just about every position panelists supported where new gun restriction were concerned.
But Carter did cautiously support Brown's push for mental health screenings before guns can be purchased.
"That is a great thing, but again, that's going to come with a price, too, and we have to sit down and delve deep into (it) to see if it's a price we are willing to pay," Carter said.
Nearly 20 gun bills have been introduced in the Georgia legislature, but none contain provisions for mental health screenings in background checks.
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