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Old August 18th, 2009, 1:35 am
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PLIMPY  Female.gif PLIMPY is offline
Sixth Year
Join Date: 18th April 2004
Location: Florida
Age: 34
Posts: 1,238
Re: U.S. Second Amendment: post-Heller

Originally Posted by Rell View Post
Sorry if this has been discussed before, but I'm just curios:
Does anyone know how background checks are done to check if someone applying for a license has a mental disorder? How is it even possible to check as there aren't exactly databases keeping track of these things? And what disabilities are included in this?
Since I can't explain the intricacies of any systems I know about, I have found a couple of links that discuss mental illness and firearm restrictions. The first talks about state laws, the second discusses an FBI database that some local agencies (as listed on the fbi's website) are authorized to update with mental health information.

General Information
The laws differ in their definition of mental illness, type and duration of gun restriction, and reporting practices on the part of physicians caring for these patients, according to the report.[...]
[b]y the end of the review in 2005, 43 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico had laws prohibiting people with mental illness from obtaining firearm licensure, 36 states and Puerto Rico had similar prohibitions for those with substance use problems, and 31 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico had similar prohibitions for those with alcohol problems.

Twenty states and Washington, D.C., have databases containing information submitted by courts or mental health treatment facilities on people with mental illness. In California, for instance, people who have been admitted to a psychiatric hospital and ruled a danger to themselves or others must be reported to the local law enforcement agency by an attending health care professional, according to the report.
National Instant Criminal Background Check System
n November 1993, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 (Brady Act), Public Law 103-159, was signed into law requiring Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to request background checks on prospective firearm transferees. The permanent provisions of the Brady Act, which went into effect on November 30, 1998, required the U.S. Attorney General to establish the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) so that any FFL may contact by telephone, or by other electronic means, for information to be supplied immediately, on whether the transfer of a firearm would violate Section 922 (g) or (n) of Title 18, United States Code (U.S.C.) [...]
3) Persons who have been adjudicated as a mental defective or have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution: [...]
5) Persons who are unlawful users of or addicted to any controlled substance:
While it is perhaps difficult to understand the difference if you aren't familiar with the systems, a criminal history check doesn't really work like a library card. There is some leeway in searching criminal histories and then it is ultimately up to a law enforcement official to match the person and the criminal history. I can't think of any technology that I'm aware of that would tell a person that someone is or is not qualified to own a handgun (or is a person with a felony or mental illness with a disqualifying offense) without having a person there to review a selection of criminal history information. That doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't exist, but this is not common technology and ultimately each state would have to develop a system that would do this on their own.


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