Webdale Family Reacts to New York Gun Law

1:01 AM, Jan 17, 2013   |    comments
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FREDONIA, N.Y. -- One part of New York's new gun law extends and expands a law that's meant to help keep track of and help treat people with mental illness.

Kendra's Law is a state law that permits a mentally ill person who is deemed to be a threat to themselves of others to be sent to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation.

As part of the gun control package, Kendra's Law was expanded and extended until 2017.  It's named after a Fredonia woman, Kendra Webdale, and the changes were something her parents had been pushing for.

Webdale was pushed to her death in front of a New York City subway train in 1999, by a schizophrenic who was off his medication.  Kendra's Law forces patients to comply with treatment, or they will be forced to go into a hospital.

The law comes up for renewal every few years.  It was included in the gun legislation passed this week by the state legislature and Governor Cuomo.  Kendra's mother, Pat Webdale, says she's pleased with some of the changes.

"They are things that we've wanted changed for a long time, such as when you leave the county, Kendra's law will follow you, and when you're in prison, and mentally ill, someone will evaluate you," said Webdale.

"At first, I felt a little sad that Kendra's Law was hooked up with the gun law, because I felt like it was stigmatizing the mentally ill, because there are so many people who are mentally ill who do not become violent.  Yet almost always when there is a violent shooting, the person has been known to be diagnosed with a mental illness."

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