Monday, May 26, 2014

Do Background Checks Work to Keep Disturbed People From Getting Guns?

mental health guns laws

Mother Jones

It's a question at the heart of the gun debate. Most Americans think the answer is yes (an overwhelming majority continues to support comprehensive background checks for gun buyers), while the National Rifle Association emphatically believes the opposite (its leadership opposes new firearm regulations of virtually any kind). Now, a new report from the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety crunches  some actual data: Citing figures from the FBI, the gun-reform group reports that the numberof mental health records collected from states in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (known as "NICS") has tripled to nearly three and a half million since 2011—and that as a result, a growing number of mentally ill people have been stopped from purchasing firearms through licensed dealers.
The change owes to increased federal funding for the system and a wave of more stringent state laws put in place. As we documented at the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, 2013 saw a barrage of new state laws from coast to coast, both easing and tightening gun restrictions. Among them were laws in 15 states intended to keep firearms away from the seriously mentally ill.


  1. This article took some digging to look into since they didn't give a whole lot of detailed information. The article didn't provide a link to the study. Minnesota in my opinion has pretty reasonable gun laws.
    Last year they passed a law requiring submission of names adjucated as mentally ill to NICS. And the law weakening gun safety was one prohibiting the formation of a database of gun owners. And while Minnesota only earns a C grade from the group, it seems to rank better than California in regards to gun crime.

    "In 2010, Minnesota had the seventh lowest number of gun deaths per capita among the states. In 2009, Minnesota supplied the sixth lowest number of crime guns to other states per capita, and was a net importer of crime guns — guns originally purchased in another state that were recovered after being used in a crime in Minnesota."

    1. And again, one State is not representative and cannot be cited as conclusive evidence.
      Three years shows evidence of making a difference. Check again in 5 and 10 years and lest see what it shows.

  2. It only works if the ill person is reported into the system.