By STEPHANIE COLLINS
10:53 AM EST, January 30, 2013
While many people are scurrying around to buy guns in fear they’ll be banned soon, officials around Boyle County say there isn’t any reason to be paranoid about guns right now, but rather focused on safety.
Last week, police departments all over, including the Boyle County Sheriff’s Department, received an update of President Obama’s 23 actions by executive order.
While reviewing the document in his office Thursday, Sheriff Marty Elliott said he agreed with the president’s decisions and that nothing is mentioned in the document about restricting any assault weapons or high capacity magazines.
Elliott said the 23 directives will “assist us that guns do not end up in the wrong hands,” like people with serious mental disorders.
Several of the directives focused on mental health care and the barriers caused by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The second executive action states “Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information to the background-check system.”
Local psychiatrist John Allahham at 1000 E. Lexington Ave. said those barriers need to be eliminated. “We have enough law on the books to prevent individuals with mental health needs to purchase a gun,” Dr. Allahham said. “The problem is with self-disclosure.”
According to Allahham, there needs to be a law protecting physicians to report patients who should not have a weapon.
“I think that’s important and doable,” he said.
But before any person suffering from an average mental health problem gets worried, Allahham assures the discretion of the physician can be trusted.
“You’re not going to report someone with anxiety,” he said. It would not be necessary for people to become paranoid toward treatment, but a “risk we will have to take,” he said. “It goes to good faith that health professionals should be trusted,” Allahham said. “Somebody that is really troubled should be reported.”
Allahham thinks it is good that people are beginning to pay attention to mental health, the root of the problem behind all of the recent shootings. “All of those incidences were committed by people who have severe mental illness,” he said. “(Reporting patients) will not infringe on anybody that will buy a gun except those individuals.”
Allahham also said issues with health coverage need to be alleviated so people can be properly treated but that Obama’s proposals “look good.”
Elliott said the list of actions places “a greater responsibility on law enforcement,” and his department’s main priority is protecting the children in Boyle County. As the “forerunner” of school resource officers, Elliott said his office has plans to extend the number of officers available to Boyle County schools, something that was a priority to him long before the recent massacres.
The effort to increase SROs is also listed in the 23 directives. On Tuesday, the sheriff’s department joined Danville, Perryville and Junction City police departments as well as Kentucky State Police to participate in lockdown drills with Woodlawn Elementary, Boyle County Middle School and Boyle County High School.
The drills will be an ongoing event until all 19 educational institutions in Boyle County have participated, according to Danville Police Chief Tony Gray.
“Everybody is doing great,” Elliott said Tuesday before heading to the high schools to continue the drills. “We’ve seen a good response from the teachers and students so far.”
Students have been taught how to react when they hear “lockdown mode,” Elliott said.
“We’re just doing everything we can to keep the schools safe,” said Perryville Police Chief Charles Parks. Parks said he only observed a couple of mistakes during the drills. Some students, such as those in the band room, could not hear that a drill was taking place. Parks said the schools and officers are working to improve the drill.
As far as the city of Perryville, Parks said he doesn’t think there’s much cause for worry. He agrees with Elliott that Boyle County residents should not be paranoid about losing gun privileges, but he’s not sure if large ammo clips will continue to be sold.
“We have a lot of (residents) that have guns, but we don’t have a real big problem with them” he said. “I think the (residents) of Perryville will be fine.”
Parks said Perrville has a large number of concealed carry licenses, which Elliott says have doubled in Boyle County in recent weeks. Elliott said another perk of the directives is cracking down on people who should not have a CCL based on background checks.
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