The Obama administration, trying to advance new gun-control measures amid resistance from Congress, proposed a rule making it easier to submit names of the mentally ill to a U.S. database of people prohibited from buying guns.
Federal law already bans mentally ill individuals from purchasing guns, including those involuntarily committed to psychiatric hospitals or found not guilty by reason of insanity in trials. State authorities that decide whether people should be committed or found insane would gain an exemption to federal health privacy rules under the new regulation, allowing them to report those names to the federal database, according to a notice posted on the Federal Register’s website.
“In order to protect our children and communities, we must ensure that information on potentially dangerous individuals who are prohibited from possessing firearms is available to the background check system,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.
Records of patients’ treatment and diagnoses wouldn’t be allowed to be disclosed, the administration said.
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