Obama Proposes New Rules To Aid Gun Background Checks On Mentally Ill


The Obama administration announced two executive actions to strengthen federal background checks and prevent guns from ending up in the hands of mentally ill people who pose a danger to others, the Washington Post reports. The Justice Department proposed a regulation to clarify who is prohibited from possessing a firearm for mental health reasons. Officials believe it will help states determine what information can be shared with the background-check system to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people who are considered potentially violent.

The Department of Health and Human Services proposed a regulation to loosen legal barriers that may prevent states from submitting information on the mentally ill to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The system is used to check backgrounds of those who buy guns from a federally licensed dealer in order to ensure they are not prohibited from owning a gun. Several mass shootings have been linked to gunmen with a history of mental illness, including Adam Lanza in Newtown, Ct., and Jared Loughner, who killed six and injured 13 others, including ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ.), in Tucson. Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ), who was shot in Tucson, praised Obama for “going a long way to make the system better,” but said congressional action is still needed to prevent felons and certain people with mental illness from getting guns.

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