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Will Gov. sign bill to ban mentally ill from buying guns

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Posted at 5:23 PM, Jun 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-21 17:23:00-04

CRAWFORDVILLE, Fla. (WTXL)--"We do not believe that people with a mental illness should be treated any differently than other people," said Susan Willis.

Susan Willis, the president of the Wakulla National Alliance on Mental illnesses says they pride their organization on equality.

She's hoping the governor will be fair when he decides whether or not to sign a bill that would prohibit mental illness patients from purchasing a firearm who have been diagnosed as dangerous or sent to a mental health facility

"We believe in their civil rights and we believe in their rights to bare arms," said Willis.

Its been a common topic on social media like twitter. Some members of the national rifle association support the legislation because they say those responsible for mass shootings have had a mental illness.

However; in a Facebook post Michelle Fontaine says in part: "I don't want government to intrude on our civil liberties even further by having access to our protected health information," said Fontaine.

In another post from Brian Wolfe, he says "I am in favor in the current proposed law which states that if you are baker acted or otherwise deemed to be a danger to yourself or others, that you should have restricted gun rights," said Wolfe.

But the bill seems to be garnering even more opposition than support. According to the governor's office they've received 3,845 emails from supporters but 21,656 from opponents.

While supporters say it will take the "dangerous" people off of the streets, Willis is encouraging them to get educated about mental illnesses instead.

"We're allowing others to see, that this is not something to be afraid of, its something to help, something to understand, something to treat," said Willis.

Willis says thousands of mentally ill patients are currently in jail or in prison, but they are working hard to keep that from happening like providing several programs. She says its all about family support to get them the treatment they need.

Governor Scott has until July 2 to sign, veto, or allow it to become law without his signature.

For more information on how to get help or receive treatment for an illness, visit nami.org or check out your local NAMI branch.