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Suicidal man had guns taken before

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Updated: 11/26/2013 11:46 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- A local couple is dead in a murder-suicide, police said.

Police said Stephen Harford killed his girlfriend Michelle R. Simpson and then himself Tuesday morning in Arlington. Simpson's 11-year-old daughter was a witness.

Now there are new questions over whether Harford should have had a gun at all.

"We did seize firearms that he had and he was 'Baker Acted,'" said Assistant Chief Chris Butler of JSO.

That was in Jacksonville in 2012. Harford was sent for a mental evaluation and his guns taken. Police said he made threats of harming himself and family members.

A year and a half later, a local mom is dead. Now we want to know question why Harford was legally allowed to keep his permit to carry weapons, despite his mental evaluation just last year.

We called the Department of Agriculture, the agency that issues those weapons permits. We were told, "If an individual is transported to a baker act Baker Act receiving facility, it does not automatically disqualify them from possessing a CWL."

Local attorney Curtis Fallgatter said there's a fine line in the state law. Being does not mean you're mentally incompetent. "Baker acted "'Baker Acted' means they're a danger to themselves or someone else," said Fallgatter.

We also found out you can be back out on the streets within 72 hours, and in this case, able to purchase another gun. "It's frightening these folks can come back and get a gun three days later," said Fallgatter.

The Department of Agriculture also told Action News a person would lose their license if they are committed to a mental institution after the evaluation.

The 11-year-old who witnessed her mother's murder is staying with other family members.
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MsLitigious - 11/26/2013 10:34 PM
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This was a neighbor and a friend. It's sad, maddening, frustrating, and altogether tragic. I pray peace for those mourning Steve and his girlfriend, and for her now severely traumatized daughter.
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