PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A Rhode Island legislative commission began looking at ways Thursday to balance the Second Amendment with a desire to keep guns out of the hands of the severely mentally ill.

The Firearms Safety Task Force was created to review laws and study policies on the use of mental health records in gun background checks. Rhode Island does not share mental health records with the national background check system.

The commission includes lawmakers, mental health professionals, law enforcement officers and gun rights advocates. After the panel’s first meeting Thursday, members said they hope to strike a careful balance between gun rights and public safety.

Rep. Michael Chippendale, R-Foster, said that while some people with severe mental illnesses could be a danger to themselves or others, he doesn’t want the state to go too far by denying Second Amendment rights to people who struggle with more common illnesses like depression or anxiety.

The panel will report its findings to the General Assembly in January.

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