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Task force submits opinion to Assembly

January 28, 2014

PROVIDENCE— After months of hearing testimony from various experts on the issue, the Joint Behavioral Health and Firearms Safety Task Force submitted their report to the General Assembly regarding mental health and firearms.

The 20 member task force that was created in September looked into recommendations about whether or not the state should submit information about mental health and substance abuse problems to the National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS).

Currently, health care agencies are banned by federal and state privacy laws from disclosing mental health records, the task force researched ways to change the law to allow the court system to submit limited information to NICS.

Doing this may prevent individuals with mental health or substance abuse issues from purchasing firearms, since all firearms purchases are submitted to NICS.

The gun task force recommended in their report that the state adopt a new law allowing the court to forward to NICS the names of individuals committed to mental health care facilities if they are “also deemed to pose a rick of violence to themselves or others so they can be included in the database of those who may not buy guns.”

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