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FBI Gun Background Check Database Missing Millions Of Records On Mentally Ill

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gunsFederal safeguards meant to keep guns out of the hands of potentially violent individuals have a huge shortcoming: the database used for background checks may be missing millions of records about people with mental illnesses who are forbidden to own firearms.

Despite improvements in recent years, state governments are failing to submit records to the Federal Bureau of Investigations of people with mental illnesses who have been institutionalized or otherwise deemed by authorities to be dangerous to themselves or others, The New York Times reported Friday. The Times cited a 2011 study by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of more than 700 city officials that is co-chaired by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), an outspoken proponent of stricter gun control laws.

The database is incomplete because many states have not provided federal authorities with comprehensive records of people involuntarily committed or otherwise ruled mentally ill. Records are also spotty for several other categories of prohibited buyers, including those who have tested positive for illegal drugs or have a history of domestic violence.

The firearms used to murder 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Conn., last week were legally purchased by one of the victims, Nancy Lanza, 52. Lanza was the mother of the shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who committed suicide at the scene of the massacre.


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