VA Governor May Expand Mental Health Info For Gun Buys


Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine may issue an executive order to make sure that gun sellers have more information about the mental health of potential buyers, reports the Washington Post. Such a policy would have kept Seung Hui Cho from buying guns he used to kill 32 people at Virginia Tech last week. A court had declared Cho dangerously mentally ill, but that information was not in the computer systems used by the outlets that sold Cho the guns. Kaine would ensure that such mental health information be in the database.

Even lawmakers traditionally reluctant to restrict gun ownership said that providing additional information would help keep guns out of the hands of the dangerously mentally ill. In 2003, Virginia began voluntarily reporting mental health records to the FBI’s national instant background check system. Only 22 states provide such records. Since then, Virginia has reported more than 80,000 mental health records to the FBI, more than any other state. Most of the records are generated by involuntary civil commitments to state hospitals, criminal judgments in which a person has been found not guilty by reason of insanity, or court proceedings that determine a person “legally incompetent” or “mentally incapacitated” — unable to function in society.


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