Of the agencies contacted by PolitiFact Florida, we found most required a court order before returning guns, at least in some cases.
Miami-Dade requires a court order if the person used the gun to breach the peace but not if the medically cleared person didnt use it to breach the peace, Det. Javier Baez said.
In Broward, gun owners must fill out paperwork and pay a filing fee that generally ranges between $55 and $300 depending on the cost of their gun. It usually takes 30 to 45 days to get a hearing. If the law enforcement agency doesnt object, then a mediator signs off and the judge grants the order. Donna Johnson, manager of county civil court, estimated Broward has about six to 10 such hearings a year.
Statewide, few law enforcement agencies simply hand back guns, said Jon Gutmacher, an Orlando defense attorney and former Broward County prosecutor who specializes in firearm cases.
You are supposed to get your gun back automatically, but rarely does that happen because they are in the hands of the police department, he said.
And even if someone is committed for longer treatment, he or she may petition the court to restore their gun rights. The court must rule in their favor if it determines the person is not a threat to public safety.
As for background checks, any person who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution is prohibited under federal law from possessing any firearm.
Lenderman said the state needs more clear public policy on when to take and when to give back guns in Baker Act cases.
Simply having a diagnosis of a medical disorder, which it is, should not deprive you of constitutional rights unless certain criteria have been met, she said.
In ruling on Ryans statement, we found he is right that those who are released after a Baker Act evaluation are entitled to get their guns back, according to an attorney generals opinion. But we also found that many law enforcement agencies require a court order, a process than can take several weeks.
He is also correct that people committed under the Baker Act are not included in databases for background checks on gun purchases. An evaluation under the Baker Act is not commitment or evidence of mental illness, and therefore the law stating that a commitment would preclude someone from having a weapon doesnt apply.
Overall, we rate this claim Half True.