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State Progress in Record Reporting for Firearm-Related Background Checks: Mental Health Submissions

NCJ Number
249793
Date Published
February 2016
Length
14 pages
Author(s)
Becki Goggins; Anne Gallegos
Agencies
BJS-Sponsored
Annotation
This report presents an overview of legislation and reporting mechanisms for mental health information used in background checks for firearm purchases; identifies the challenges States face in reporting; strategies that have been implemented to address the challenges; and data that illustrate the improvements in this area over the past decade.
Abstract
Over the past ten years, states have made vast progress in providing firearm prohibiting mental health information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Index. The passage of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act (NIAA) in 2008 was a turning point in reporting; in addition to the approximately 250,000 federally-submitted mental health records, the NICS Index went from holding just over 400,000 state-submitted mental health records to over 3.8 million state-submitted records in July of 2015. This report provides an overview of legislation and reporting mechanisms for mental health information, the challenges states face in reporting, strategies that have been implemented to overcome the challenges, and finally, data that illustrate the improvements that have been accomplished over the past decade in this area.

Date Created: March 14, 2016