Illinois legislators moved swiftly after last year’s massacre at Virginia Tech to make it harder for anyone with a history of mental illness to buy guns, but the measure does not take effect until June and it is not clear whether it would have prevented last week’s bloodbath at Northern Illinois University, reports the Associated Press. Steven Kazmierczak, the 27-year-old graduate student who bought an arsenal of guns in recent months and used them to kill five people and commit suicide, had been on medication and was said to have spent time in a psychiatric center as a teen in the late 1990s.
The Illinois measure will require health professionals to inform state authorities about patients who display violent, suicidal or. threatening behavior. Now, such information is reported only about people who have been institutionalized, not on those who receive only outpatient treatment. Virginia lawmakers are considering bills to change that state’s mental health system. One bill would enact into law an order by Gov. Timothy Kaine that requires names of people ordered into outpatient treatment to be reported to state authorities.