As the White House eyes new gun-controls following the Sandy Hook school massacre and firearms dealers are seeing guns sales spike, a handful of recent investigative reports suggest that the nation’s state-run system of screening gun buyers for mental illness is mostly a mirage—except in a dozen states where governors want the system to work.
Federal prohibits gun sales to anyone who was declared mentally unfit
by a court. In Bill Clinton’s first term, Congress passed a law
requiring states to report these mental health records to the FBI. But
in 1997, the Supreme Court threw out that requirement, saying states
could share whatever information they wanted to—or more likely not share
Fast-forward to 2012, and as the Wall Street Journal reported,
only 12 states account for the majority of mental health records in the
FBI database. Mayors Against Illegal Guns, co-chaired by New York City
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, reported that 19 states have each submitted less than 100 mental health records to the FBI database.