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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane County sheriff ‘dumbfounded’ by repeal of rule barring mentally ill from buying guns

News that the U.S. House of Representatives had repealed a rule banning mentally ill people from buying guns left Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich confused Thursday afternoon.

“It kind of flies in the face of everything we’ve been hearing and seeing,” he said. “I’m a little dumbfounded.”

If someone is a threat to themselves or others they shouldn’t have access to weapons, he said. As an example, Knezovich referred to a case last March of a man taken into protective custody after neighbors reported he was behaving erratically and shooting at hallucinations.

“He thought there were people outside dressed in ghillie suits and he was actually shooting at them,” he said.

Knezovich said he plans to research the rule change further. “I’d like to know what they’ve done and how they want us to deal with people who are clearly mentally ill and in possession of weapons,” he said.

He also wants to know if the change applies to people previously committed to a mental hospital.

“I need to know much more about what they’ve done to see how it affects our response to these issues,” Knezovich said.

Nina Culver