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Survey of State Records Included in Presale Firearm Background Checks: Mental Health Records, Domestic Violence Misdemeanor Records, and Restraining Orders, 2003

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2004
15 pages
Peter Brien
Publication Type
Findings are presented from a U.S. Department of Justice survey of repository directors on the quality and availability of State records for presale firearm background checks, specifically mental health records, domestic violence misdemeanor records, and restraining orders for 2003.
Highlights of the survey of State Records included in presale background checks include: 1) 14 States do not have the ability to access mental health records for purposes of background check at the time of a firearm purchase; 2) in most States, court records are the primary source for data on those found guilty by reason of insanity or incompetent to stand trial; 3) 14 States and the District of Columbia do not have the ability to check records for misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence; 4) 8 additional States indicated that flags are needed on the conviction transactions to identify the conviction as a domestic violence incident; 5) 15 States indicated that their records of protection orders are either incomplete or not fully automated and 18 States indicated that they do not forward all their protection order information to the FBI for inclusion in the National Protection Order file; and 6) 27 States indicated that court record systems were the primary location for obtaining information on the imposition of protection orders. Federal law prohibits the transfer of a firearm to several categories of individuals: those committed to a mental institution, those having been adjudicated as mentally ill, those that are the subject of a domestic violence restraining order, or those having been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor. This report presents findings from a special survey of repository directors, conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) examining the quality and availability of State records in these categories of individuals. 13 tables
Date Created: December 16, 2009