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Every day, hundreds of sick and injured patients walk into free and charitable clinics around the Tampa Bay area in need of a doctor.Many are suffering from chronic conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Some patients were referred to the clinics by staff at hospitals where they landed after years of neglecting to care for treatable conditions.The clinics allow the patients to pay what they can, or nothing at all. They are staffed by doctors and nurses who volunteer their time. They survive off donations and small grants.Many of the patients have jobs but they are living paycheck to paycheck. None have health insurance, either because they do not qualify for Medicaid or can’t afford private coverage. For these patients, the clinics are often their only option for primary care.

Mental Health Issues, Criminal Record For Teen Gunman

Even though laws in Florida prevented 18-year-old Benjamin Bishop from buying a gun, that didn’t stop him from getting one, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

The Oldsmar teen had a criminal record and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was taken into custody five times under the Baker Act. The mental illness diagnosis wasn’t enough to prevent him from buying a gun in Florida -- but the felony sentencing he got after he took a knife to school did, the Times reports.

Unable to purchase a gun himself, law enforcement officials say he got a friend to buy a shotgun for him, according to the Times.  Bishop has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, lawmakers are trying to figure out what to do about the connection between mental illness and violence. U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent R-Spring Hill and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn are working on a bill to improve mental health services in jails, the Times reports.

Meanwhile, PolitiFact sorted out the difference between evaluation under the Baker Act and commitment to a mental institution and how that affects the right to own a firearm.

Lottie Watts covers health and health policy for Health News Florida, now a part of WUSF Public Media. She also produces Florida Matters, WUSF's weekly public affairs show.