Mental Health Reporting in Alabama

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Alabama requires judges who enter final orders for involuntary commitment for inpatient treatment to the Department of Mental Health or a Veterans’ Administration hospital to forward such orders to the state’s Criminal Justice Information Center (CJIC). Previously, this requirement applied only to commitment orders based on evidence that the person had a history of inappropriate use of firearms or posed a threat to use firearms inappropriately. However, in 2015, Alabama passed legislation to strengthen its reporting requirement so this law now applies to all final involuntary commitment orders.2 The same law also now requires judges to report records upon any finding that a defendant is insane, mentally incompetent, or not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect under state law. ((See 2015 AL H.B. 47, Section 2(a)(1).)) 

In both cases, the judge is required to immediately forward the order of the finding to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and the order must then be entered in the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s information systems.3 The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency shall then, as soon as possible, enter the order in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and the information shall be entered into the NICS Index Denied Persons File.4 The records may only be used for purposes of determining eligibility to purchase or transfer a firearm and shall not include confidential medical or treatment records.5

Alabama law also states: “To the extent possible, all information from any state or local government agency that is necessary to complete a NICS check shall be provided to the Criminal Justice Information Center.” The law also requires the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center Commission to promulgate rules and regulations necessary to implement a complete NICS Check. The commission must also ensure that all information received is used solely for the purposes of compliance with NICS and every effort is made to protect the privacy of this information.6

Restoration of rights: Any person who has been adjudicated mentally deficient or committed to a mental institution and who is subject to the federal firearm disabilities of 18 U.S.C. § 922 (d)(4) and (g)(4) and the Alabama state law firearm disabilities of Sections 13A-11-72 and 13A-11-75, because he or she has been determined by law or legal process to be of unsound mind, may petition the district court for a civil review of his or her mental capacity to purchase a firearm.7

The district attorney or the Attorney General who prosecuted the underlying case, if applicable, and victim or victim representative, if applicable, shall be served a copy of the petition by certified mail.8 The petitioner may present evidence and witnesses at the hearing on the petition.9 The district court must make written findings of fact and conclusions of law on the issues before it and issue a final order.10

The district court must grant the relief requested in the petition if the judge finds, based on a preponderance of the evidence presented with respect to the petitioner’s reputation, the petitioner’s mental health record and, if applicable, certified criminal history record from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the circumstances surrounding the petitioner’s firearm disability, and any other evidence in the record, that the petitioner will not be likely to act in a manner that is dangerous to public safety and that granting the relief would not be contrary to the public interest.11

If the final order grants relief, a copy of the order shall be forwarded to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency directing that the prior order be removed from its information systems.12 The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency must then, as soon as possible, redact the prior order from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) or request that the redaction be done and must notify the United States Attorney General that the basis for the record being made available no longer applies.13

The petitioner may appeal a final order denying relief within 42 days of the order to the circuit court for the county in which the commitment or adjudication was entered. The circuit court’s review shall be conducted de novo.14

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Alabama Background Checks section and the section entitled Alabama Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

 

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. 2015 AL H.B. 47, amending Ala. Code § 22-52-10.8(a). ⤴︎
  3. Ala. Code § 22-52-10.8(a), 2015 AL H.B. 47, Section 2(a)(1). ⤴︎
  4. Ala. Code § 22-52-10.8(a), 2015 AL H.B. 47, Section 2(a)(2). ⤴︎
  5. Ala. Code § 22-52-10.8(a), 2015 AL H.B. 47, Section 2(a)(3). ⤴︎
  6. Ala. Code § 41-9-649. ⤴︎
  7. Ala. Code § 22-52-10.8(b), 2015 AL H.B. 47, Section 2(b)(1). ⤴︎
  8. 2015 AL H.B. 47, Section 2(b). ⤴︎
  9. Ala. Code § 22-52-10.8(b), 2015 AL H.B. 47, Section 2(b). ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. Id. ⤴︎
  12. Id. ⤴︎
  13. Id. ⤴︎
  14. Id. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Alaska

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Until 2014, Alaska had no law requiring the reporting of mental health information to NICS.  That changed with the passage of H.B. 366, however.  Alaska law now requires that, upon issuing an order that a person be involuntarily committed, a superior court must immediately transmit specified identifying information about the individual, if known, to the Department of Public Safety.2 The court must also report the statutory authority for the involuntary commitment; report whether the person was offered an opportunity to be heard and represented by counsel in the involuntary commitment proceeding; and report any other information required by the Department of Public Safety or by the U.S. Department of Justice for inclusion in the NICS database.3 This reporting requirement does not apply to individuals released before the expiration of a 72-hour commitment period.4

Upon receiving this information, the Department of Public Safety must transmit the information to the U.S. Department of Justice for inclusion in the NICS database.5 Information obtained or retained pursuant to this reporting requirement is confidential and is not a public record, though it may be used by the Department of Public Safety to determine whether a person is qualified to receive and hold a permit to carry a concealed handgun.6

Alaska also established a process in 2014 for a person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law as a result of an involuntary commitment or an adjudication of mental illness or incompetence that occurred in Alaska to petition a court for relief from the firearm disability.7 In ruling on such a petition, Alaska law instructs the court to consider:

(A) the circumstances of the involuntary commitment or adjudication of mental illness or mental incompetence;

(B) the time that has elapsed since the involuntary commitment or adjudication of mental illness or mental incompetence;

(C) the person’s reputation and mental health and criminal history records;

(D) any conduct by the person that would constitute a “crime against a person” under Alaska law or a violation of Alaska’s firearm-related criminal statutes; and

(E) any changes in the person’s condition or circumstances relevant to the relief sought.8

The court shall grant the petitioner’s request if the court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the person is unlikely to act in a manner dangerous to self or to public safety; and granting the relief is not contrary to the public interest.9

If the court grants the petition, the court must immediately transmit specified information, if known, to the Department of Public Safety, which must then, in turn, transmit the information to the U.S. Department of Justice so the record will be removed from the NICS database.10

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Alaska Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

 

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Alaska Stat. § 47.30.907(a). ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Alaska Stat. § 47.30.907(b). ⤴︎
  5. Alaska Stat. § 44.41.045(a). ⤴︎
  6. Alaska Stat. §§ 44.41.045(c), (d). ⤴︎
  7. Alaska Stat. § 47.30.851(a). ⤴︎
  8. Alaska Stat. § 47.30.851(b)(1). ⤴︎
  9. Alaska Stat. § 47.30.851(b)(2). ⤴︎
  10. Alaska Stat. §§ 47.30.907, 44.41.045. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Arizona

See our Mental Health Reporting Policy Summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

In 2014, Arizona enacted a law requiring courts to transmit information to the Supreme Court of Arizona, which must transmit it to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), which must transmit it to NICS, whenever the court:

  • Finds a person incompetent, or subsequently competent, or guilty except insane;
  • Appoints a guardian for an adult, except when the appointment of a guardian is due solely to the person’s physical incapacity;
  • Terminates a guardianship; or
  • Finds a person to constitute a danger to self or others or to be persistently or acutely disabled or gravely disabled as a result of a mental disorder, and the court enters an order for inpatient or outpatient treatment.2

A 2011 Arizona law requires reporting to NICS when a formerly mentally ill person’s eligibility to possess firearms is restored. If a court grants a petition restoring a person’s eligibility to possess firearms, the court must promptly notify the Supreme Court of Arizona and DPS. As soon thereafter as practicable, DPS must update, correct, modify or remove the person’s record in any database that DPS “maintains and makes available to [NICS] consistent with the rules pertaining to the database.” Moreover, within ten business days after receiving the notification from the court, DPS must notify the United States Attorney General that the person no longer falls within the provisions of Arizona and federal law prohibiting possession of firearms.3

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Background Checks in Arizona section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Arizona.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. 2014 AZ H.B. 2322, codified as Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-609. ⤴︎
  3. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-925(h). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Arkansas

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Arkansas requires a court clerk, upon filing any of the orders specified below, to forward a copy of such order to the Arkansas Crime Information Center. The requirement applies to orders:

  • Finding that a defendant lacks “fitness to proceed” because he or she lacks the capacity to understand the proceeding against him or her or to assist effectively in his or her own defense as a result of mental disease or defect;2
  • Committing a person acquitted of a crime by reason of a mental disease or defect, who continues to be affected by the mental disease or defect, to the custody of the director of the Department of Health and Human Services for an examination by a psychiatrist or a licensed psychologist;3
  • Detaining a person for treatment for 45 days after determining that a person is a danger to self or others4; or
  • Detaining a person beyond 45 days because he or she continues to be a danger to self or others.5

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Arkansas Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-2-310(b)(2)(E), and see Ark. Code Ann. § 5-2-302. ⤴︎
  3. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-2-314(b)(2). ⤴︎
  4. Ark. Code Ann. § 20-47-214(e). ⤴︎
  5. Ark. Code Ann. § 20-47-215. See also Ark. Code Ann. § 12-12 209. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in California

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

As noted in the section entitled Mental Health-Related Prohibited Categories, persons with specific mental health issues are barred by California law from possessing, purchasing, receiving, attempting to purchase or receive, or having control or custody of any firearm.2 With certain limited exceptions, courts must submit an electronic report to the California Department of Justice (“DOJ”), within one court day, when they adjudicate someone to be a danger to others as a result of a mental disorder or mental illness, a mentally disordered sex offender, not guilty of a crime by reason of insanity, mentally incompetent to stand trial, or placed under conservatorship because the individual is gravely disabled due to a mental disorder.3

Mental health facilities must, within 24 hours, electronically submit a report to DOJ whenever, as a result of a mental health disorder, an individual is taken into custody and admitted to a designated facility upon an evaluation and determination that he or she is a danger to himself, herself, or others, or whenever an individual is certified for intensive treatment at a mental health facility based on a finding that he or she is gravely disabled due to a mental disorder or chronic alcoholism.4 This electronic report must at least include the identity of the person admitted to the facility or certified for intensive treatment, and the legal grounds upon which the person was admitted or certified for treatment.5 This requirement applies both to individuals taken into custody for 72 hours and to individuals detained for 14 days.

Licensed psychotherapists also are required to report to local law enforcement, within 24 hours, the identity of a person who communicates a serious threat of physical violence against a reasonably identifiable victim or victims.6 Within 24 hours, law enforcement must report this information to DOJ electronically.7 The State Department of State Hospitals must also make available to DOJ, and provide to DOJ in electronic format when requested, all records pertinent to whether a person is prohibited from possessing firearms under California law due to mental illness.8 Finally, public and private mental health facilities must, when requested by DOJ, submit information that DOJ deems necessary to identify those persons who are prohibited from possessing firearms because they pose a threat to self or others due to mental illness.9 The reports from mental health facilities, the State Department of State Hospitals, and psychotherapists must be kept confidential, separate, and apart from other records maintained by DOJ, and may only be used to determine a person’s eligibility to possess a firearm.10

Proposition 63, enacted by California voters in 2016, requires the state Department of Justice to report relevant prohibited person records to the FBI’s NICS system.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue nationwide.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 8100, 8103. ⤴︎
  3. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 8103(a)(2), (b)(2), (c)(2), (d)(2), (e)(2). ⤴︎
  4. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 8103(f)(2), (g)(2). ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 8100(b), 8105(c). ⤴︎
  7. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 8105(c). ⤴︎
  8. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 8104. ⤴︎
  9. Cal Welf. & Inst. Code § 8105(a), (b). ⤴︎
  10. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 8105(d). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Colorado

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue. Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

In 2013, Colorado clarified its mental health reporting requirements, as part of the same bill that requires background checks before unlicensed firearms sales.  The State Court Administrator must now send electronically to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI)  the name of each person determined by the court to be:

  • incapacitated by court order;
  • committed to the custody of the Colorado Department of Human Services that administers behavioral health programs including those related to mental health and substance abuse;
  • ordered for involuntary certification for short-term treatment of mental illness;
  • ordered for extended certification for treatment of mental illness; or
  • ordered for long-term care and treatment for mental illness.

The State Court Administrator must make such a report not more than 48 hours after receiving notification of a person who meets the above descriptions.  However, the State Court Administrator must take all necessary steps to cancel a record in the NICS system if:

  • The person to whom the record pertains makes a written request to the State Court Administrator; and
  • No less than three years before the date of the written request:
    • The period of commitment of the most recent order of commitment expired; or
    • A court entered an order terminating the person’s incapacity or discharging the person from commitment in the nature of habeas corpus, if the record in the NICS system is based on an order of commitment to the custody of the unit in the department of human services that administers behavioral health programs and services, including those related to mental health and substance abuse.2

The State Court Administrator must not cancel any record pertaining to a person with respect to whom two recommitment orders have been entered or who was discharged from treatment on the grounds that further treatment will not likely bring about significant improvement in the person’s condition.3 If a court becomes aware that the basis upon which a record reported by the State Court Administrator to CBI does not apply or no longer applies, the court must:

  • Update, correct, modify, or remove the record from any database that the federal or state government maintains and makes available to NICS, consistent with rules pertaining to the database; and
  • Notify the Attorney General that such basis does not apply or no longer applies.4

The 2013 law set forth a judicial procedure for restoring a person’s gun eligibility after being subject to the federal firearm prohibitions for the dangerously mentally ill, pursuant to the federal NICS Act of 2007.5

Colorado specifically authorizes the obtaining, accessing, use or disclosure of relevant medical records or medical information for firearm purchaser background checks purposes by CBI, the clerk of the court of any judicial district, the clerk of the probate court of the city and county of Denver, or by any of their employees, as well as accessing such records and information through the NICS system.6 For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Colorado Background Checks section and the section entitled Colorado Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-5-142(1)-(3); 13-9-123(1)-(3). ⤴︎
  3. Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-5-142(3)(b)(II); 13-9-123(3)(b)(II). ⤴︎
  4. Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-5-142(4); 13-9-123(4). ⤴︎
  5. See Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-5-142.5; 13-9-124. ⤴︎
  6. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-4-412(4). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Connecticut

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

In Connecticut, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) must report to the NICS Denied Persons File the name, date of birth and physical description of any person prohibited from possessing a firearm, pursuant to federal law.2 Connecticut requires DESPP, the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS)  and the state Judicial Department to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the FBI for the purpose of implementing NICS.3.

The Commissioner of DESPP is required to verify that a person who seeks a permit to sell at retail a pistol or revolver, a permit to carry a pistol or revolver, an eligibility certificate for a pistol or revolver, a certificate of possession for an assault weapon or a long gun eligibility certificate has not been confined in a hospital for persons with psychiatric disabilities within the preceding 60 months by order of a probate court, or has not been voluntarily admitted to a hospital for persons with psychiatric disabilities within the preceding six months for care and treatment (see below for more on voluntary admissions), by inquiring with DMHAS to receive a report limited to the commitment or admission status of the person.4

The Commissioner of DMHAS must maintain information on commitment orders by a probate court, as well as voluntary admissions, and provide such information to the Commissioner of DESPP in fulfillment of his or her obligations under Connecticut’s gun laws.5

In 2011, Connecticut enacted a law establishing a procedure for an individual prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law for mental health reasons to petition for relief from the federal prohibition. If the petition is granted, the Commissioner of DESPP must coordinate the removal or cancellation of the record in NICS, and notify the U.S. Attorney General that the basis of the record no longer applies.6

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Background Checks in Connecticut and Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Connecticut sections.

Reporting Voluntary Admissions to a Psychiatric Hospital

As of October 1, 2013, DMHAS must maintain information on voluntary admissions, and make that information available to the Commissioner of DESPP to carry out his or her obligations pertaining to gun credentials.7

The Commissioner of DESPP must verify from DMHAS that a person applying for a gun credential was not subject to such a voluntary admission, and DMHAS must report such information to DESPP.  If the Commissioner determines that an applicant is subject to voluntary admission, the Commissioner must report the status of the person’s application to DMHAS.8

The Commissioner of DMHAS must obtain from DESPP the status of any such applications for anyone who has been voluntarily admitted.  DMHAS must advise the psychiatric hospital to which a person has been voluntarily admitted of the status of a gun application, as reported by DESPP.  Finally, the DMHAS Commissioner and the hospital must maintain as confidential any such information they receive on the status of permit applications.9

Connecticut law requires psychiatric hospitals, without delay, to notify the Commissioner of DMHAS when a person is voluntarily admitted to the hospital for care and treatment of a psychiatric disability, other than admission solely for alcohol or drug treatment.10 The hospital must at least provide the person’s name, address, gender, date of birth, and date of admission. The Commissioner of DMHAS must maintain such identifying information on all voluntary admissions occurring on and after October 1, 2013.11

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-36l(d)(2). ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38b(a). ⤴︎
  5. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-500(b). ⤴︎
  6. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 45a-100. ⤴︎
  7. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-500(b). ⤴︎
  8. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-500(b), (c). ⤴︎
  9. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-500(c)(3), (4). ⤴︎
  10. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-499a. ⤴︎
  11. Id. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Delaware

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Delaware requires the Delaware Psychiatric Center and any other hospital for the care and treatment of mentally ill individuals2 to submit to SBI, and to NICS as required by federal law, the name, date of birth and Social Security number of any adult who is involuntarily committed to such facility.3

Another provision of Delaware law requires every person in “responsible charge” of an institution housing persons declared not guilty by reason of insanity, declared incompetent to stand trial for criminal offenses, or involuntarily committed for mental illness, to transmit to the Delaware State Bureau of Identification (SBI) the names, dates of birth and social security numbers of all such adults.4 The institutions must also submit to SBI the names and photographs of such persons who are to be discharged from these institutions.5 This provision of Delaware law also authorizes the same reporting to NICS.6

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Delaware Background Checks section and the section entitled Delaware Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. For the definition of “mental hospital,” see Del. Code Ann. tit. 16, § 5001(4). ⤴︎
  3. Del. Code Ann. tit. 16, § 5161(b)(13), (14). ⤴︎
  4. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 8509. ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Florida

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

State law requires the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to compile and maintain an automated database of persons who are prohibited from purchasing a firearm based on court records of adjudications of mental defectiveness or commitments to mental institutions.2 Clerks of court must submit these records to FDLE within one month after the rendition of the adjudication or commitment.3  Such reports must be submitted in an automated format. The reports must, at a minimum, include the name, along with any known alias or former name, the gender, and the date of birth of the subject.4

FDLE is authorized, but not required, to disclose the collected data to agencies of the federal government and other states for use “exclusively” in determining the lawfulness of a firearm sale or transfer. FDLE is also authorized to disclose any collected data to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the purpose of determining eligibility for a concealed weapons or concealed firearms license and for determining whether to revoke or suspend such a license.5

Florida law includes definitions of the terms “adjudicated mentally defective” and “committed to a mental institution.”6 Persons involuntarily committed for outpatient treatment are included within the definition of “committed to a mental institution.”7

In 2013, Florida enacted a law that includes a person voluntarily admitted to a mental institution for outpatient or inpatient treatment in the definition of  “committed to a mental institution” if:  (1) an examining physician has determined that the person poses an imminent danger to himself, herself, or others and has certified that he or she would have filed a petition for involuntary commitment if the person had not agreed to voluntary treatment; (2) the person has been given notice and an opportunity to contest this certification; and (3) a court has reviewed this certification and ordered the person’s record to be submitted.8

Restoration of Firearms Eligibility: A person who has been adjudicated mentally defective or “committed to a mental institution” as defined above may petition the Circuit Court that made the adjudication or commitment for relief from the firearm prohibition.9 A copy of the petition must be served on the state attorney for the county in which the person was adjudicated or committed. The state attorney may object.10 The court must grant the relief if it finds, based on evidence presented regarding the petitioner’s reputation, mental health record and criminal history record, the circumstances surrounding the firearm disability, and any other evidence, that the petitioner is not likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety and that granting the relief would not be contrary to the public interest. If the final order denies relief, the petitioner may not petition again for one year.11

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Florida Background Checks section and the section entitled Florida Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Fla. Stat. § 790.065(2)(a)(4). ⤴︎
  3. Fla. Stat. § 790.065(2)(a)(4)(c)(I).  However, if a  person was committed to a mental institution following voluntary admission where a subsequent involuntary examination found the person was an imminent danger to self or others, the administrator of the receiving or treatment facility must submit a record of that finding, with certain other certifications and notices, to the clerk of the court for the county in which the involuntary examination occurred within 24 hours of the person’s agreement to voluntary admission. Fla. Stat. § 790.065(2)(a)(4)(c)(II). The clerk must present these records to a judge or magistrate within 24 hours and the judge or magistrate must, upon determining that the record supports classifying the person as an imminent danger to self or others, submit such records to FDLE within 24 hours. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Fla. Stat. § 790.065(2)(a)(4)(c). ⤴︎
  5. Fla. Stat. § 790.065(2)(a)(4)(f). When a potential buyer or transferee appeals a nonapproval based on these records, the clerks of court and mental institutions must, upon request by FDLE, provide information to help determine whether the potential buyer or transferee is the same person as the subject of the record. Photographs and any other data that could confirm or negate identity must be made available to FDLE for such purposes, notwithstanding any other provision of state law to the contrary. Any such information that is made confidential or exempt from disclosure by law must otherwise remain confidential. Id. ⤴︎
  6. Fla. Stat. § 790.065(2)(a)(4)(a), (b). ⤴︎
  7. See Fla. Stat. § 790.065(2)(a)(4)(b)(I). ⤴︎
  8. See Fla. Stat. § 790.065(2)(a)(4)(b)(II). ⤴︎
  9. Fla. Stat. § 790.065(2)(a)(4)(d). ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. An order denying relief may be appealed to the District Court of Appeal. Id. Upon receipt of proper notice of relief from the firearm prohibition, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services must delete the mental health record from the automated database. Fla. Stat. § 790.065(2)(a)(4)(e). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Georgia

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Georgia law requires the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) to provide to NICS all necessary criminal history information and wanted person records and information concerning persons who have been involuntarily hospitalized for the purpose of completing a NICS check.2

More specifically, GCIC must provide to the FBI in conjunction with the NICS and in accordance with the federal Brady Act information regarding whether a person has been involuntarily hospitalized.3 The probate courts must provide GCIC with information from the involuntary hospitalization records for persons involuntarily hospitalized after March 22, 1995.4 The probate courts must provide such information and no other mental health information, to preserve the confidentiality of patient’s rights in all other respects.5 This information must be provided in a manner agreed upon by the Probate Judges Training Council and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).6

Further, the clerks of the superior courts must also provide information regarding whether a person has been adjudicated mentally incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity at the time of the crime, and has been involuntarily hospitalized, based on the clerks’ records for persons involuntarily hospitalized after March 22, 1995.7 This information must be provided in a manner agreed upon by the Council of Superior Court Clerks of Georgia and the GBI to preserve the confidentiality of patient’s rights in all other respects.8 Five years from the date that GCIC receives a person’s involuntary hospitalization information, GCIC must purge its records of such information as soon as practicable and, in any event, within 30 days of the expiration of such five-year period.9

The Council of the GCIC is empowered to adopt rules, regulations, and forms necessary to implement these requirements.10

If an individual is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm as a result of being involuntarily hospitalized within the preceding 5 years, Georgia requires the Crime Information Center to provide the individual or his or her attorney, upon request, with the person’s record of involuntary hospitalization, and to inform the person of his or her right to a court hearing regarding his or her eligibility to possess or transport a handgun.11

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Georgia Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-172(a) and (b). ⤴︎
  3. Ga. Code Ann. § 35-3-34(e)(2). ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. Id. See also Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 140-2-.17(2). ⤴︎
  7. Ga. Code Ann. § 35-3-34(e)(2). ⤴︎
  8. Id. ⤴︎
  9. Id. ⤴︎
  10. Ga. Code Ann. § 35-3-34(e). See Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 140-2-.17(2). ⤴︎
  11. Ga. Code Ann. § 35-3-37(r). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Hawaii

Federal law prohibits any person from selling or otherwise transferring a firearm or ammunition to any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Hawaii requires courts to report people involuntarily committed, as inpatients or outpatients, and, as of January 1, 2017, people appointed guardians due to mental incapacity,2 to the Hawaii criminal justice center, which must in turn transmit this information to NICS.  This information must also be available to law enforcement officers for the purposes of Hawaii’s firearms permitting and registration laws.3 The normal rules of confidentiality do not apply. 4  Hawaii also provides a procedure for people prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law due to mental illness to regain their gun eligibility.5

Health care providers and public health authorities in Hawaii must disclose mental health information of persons seeking to purchase or own a firearm to county chiefs of police in response to requests for such information.6 This information is to be used solely for evaluating a person’s fitness to acquire or own a firearm.7 Hawaii requires applicants for permits to purchase or acquire firearms to authorize disclosure of mental health information. Applicants must sign a waiver when completing the application that allows the Chief of Police of the county issuing a permit access to any records that have a bearing on the mental health of the applicant.8

The Department of Health is required to keep a medical record of each person committed to the custody of the department or hospitalized because the person is dangerous and there is no less restrictive alternative available, because he or she lacks fitness to proceed in a criminal case, or because he or she has been acquitted on grounds of mental disorder or defect, is dangerous and is not a proper subject for conditional release.9

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Hawaii Background Checks and Hawaii Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 560:5-311(d). ⤴︎
  3. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 334-60.5. ⤴︎
  4. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 334-5(7). ⤴︎
  5. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 134-6.5. ⤴︎
  6. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-3.5. ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 134-2(c), 134-3.5(2). ⤴︎
  9. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 334-2.5(c)(4), 704-406(1), 704-411(1). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Idaho

Federal law prohibits any person from selling or otherwise transferring a firearm or ammunition to any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

In 2010, Idaho enacted a law that requires mental health records to be sent electronically to NICS.2 A court making a determination as to an individual’s mental state must also determine whether the individual should be prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms under federal law when the court does any of the following:

  • Orders commitment of the individual to a mental health facility;3
  • Orders that the individual submit for mental health treatment;4
  • Appoints a guardian;5
  • Appoints a conservator;6 or
  • Finds a defendant incompetent to stand trial.7

The clerk of a court that determines that an individual should be prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms under federal law must forward a copy of the relevant order to the Idaho state police, which will in turn forward it to NICS.8 The individual subject to such an order, however, may submit a petition to the magistrate division of the court that issued the order asking to be removed from the NICS database.9 The petition will be granted if evidence reveals that the petitioner is not likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety or contrary to public interest.10 Whenever the court grants a petition for relief, the court’s clerk must immediately forward a copy of the order to the Idaho state police, which will in turn forward it to NICS for removal from the database.11

The following records are generally exempt from disclosure; however, this “shall not apply to the extent that such records or information contained in those records are necessary for a background check on an individual that is required by federal law regulating the sale of firearms, guns or ammunition:”

  • Records contained in court files of judicial proceedings, the disclosure of which is prohibited by or under rules adopted by the Idaho Supreme Court;
  • Records related to the provision of statutory services to the mentally handicapped;
  • Records of hospital care;
  • Medical records;
  • Records of psychiatric care or treatment; and
  • Professional counseling records.12

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Idaho Background Checks and Idaho Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Idaho Code Ann. §§ 67-3003(1)(i), 66-356. ⤴︎
  3. See Idaho Code Ann. § 66-329. ⤴︎
  4. See Idaho Code Ann. § 66-406. ⤴︎
  5. See Idaho Code Ann. §§ 66-322, 15-5-304, 15-5-407 ⤴︎
  6. See Idaho Code Ann. §§ 15-5-407(b), 15-5-407. ⤴︎
  7. Idaho Code Ann. § 66-356(1); see also Idaho Code Ann. § 16-212; 18 U.S.C. § 922 (d)(4), (g)(4). ⤴︎
  8. Idaho Code Ann. § 66-356. ⤴︎
  9. Idaho Code Ann. § 66-356. ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. Idaho Code §§ 66-356(3), 67-3003(1)(i). ⤴︎
  12. Idaho Code Ann. §§ 9-340A(2), 9-340C(6), (13). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Illinois

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Illinois requires the Illinois Department of State Police (“DSP”) and the Illinois Department of Human Services to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the FBI for the purpose of implementing NICS.2 The DSP must report the name, date of birth, and physical description of any person prohibited from possessing a firearm pursuant to Illinois or federal law to the NICS Denied Persons File.3 Court clerks, the Department of Human Services, and all public or private hospitals and mental health facilities are required to inform the DSP of any such individual.4 The information disclosed is deemed privileged and confidential, and must be provided in such a way as to guarantee that no information is released beyond what is necessary to determine the eligibility of the person to possess a firearm.5

When a person has been adjudicated as a “mentally disabled person” under state law, the court must notify the Department of State Police within seven days, and DSP must notify NICS.6 This includes adjudications made by a state probate court.7  Illinois enacted a law in 2016 that requires courts to notify DSP every six months if no person has been adjudicated as a person with a mental disability by the court or if no person has been involuntarily admitted to a mental institution.8

law adopted in 2013 requires certain school administrators and law enforcement officials to report to the Department of State Police within 24 hours when a person or student is determined to pose a “clear and present danger” to himself, herself, or to others.9  Similarly, if a physician, clinical psychologist, or qualified examiner determines that a person poses a clear and present danger to self or others, or to be “developmentally disabled,” the professional must report this person to the Department of Human Services within 24 hours, and this Department must transfer this information to DSP.10 If a law enforcement officer determines that any person poses a clear and present danger to self or others, the officer must report this person to DSP within 24 hours.  All this information remains confidential and must not be redisclosed beyond what is necessary to determine the eligibility of the person to possess a firearm. Those who report information in compliance with this law may not be held criminally, civilly, or professionally liable for making such reports, except for wanton or willful misconduct.11

Regarding the use of mental health-related information, Illinois requires that an applicant for a FOID card sign a release that waives confidentiality and authorizes disclosure of his or her mental health information for the sole purpose of determining whether the applicant is or was a patient in a mental health institution and thus disqualified on that basis from receiving a FOID card.12 No mental health care or treatment records may be requested, and this information must be destroyed within one year of receipt.13

Illinois law provides a procedure for individuals subject to the federal prohibition against firearm possession by the mentally ill to request the State Police for relief from that prohibition.  If relief is granted, the Director of the State Police must, as soon as practicable but in no case later than 15 business days, update, correct, modify, or remove the person’s record in any database that the Department of State Police makes available to NICS.14

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Background Checks in Illinois section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Illinois.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4). ⤴︎
  2. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/3.1(e)(2). ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. 740 Ill. Comp. Stat. 110/12(b); 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/8.1(b). ⤴︎
  5. 740 Ill. Comp. Stat. 110/12(b). ⤴︎
  6. 405 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/6-103.1. ⤴︎
  7. Id.; 755 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/11a-24. ⤴︎
  8. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/8.1(b-1) as added by 2015 Ill. S.B. 2213. ⤴︎
  9. 405 Ill. Comp. Stat. 6-103.3. ⤴︎
  10. 740 Ill. Comp. Stat. 110/12(b); 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/8.1(d); 405 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/6-103.2-103.3. ⤴︎
  11. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 66/105; 405 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/6-103.3; 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/8.1. ⤴︎
  12. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/4(a)(3). ⤴︎
  13. Id. ⤴︎
  14. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/10(f). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Indiana

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

In Indiana, the Division of State Court Administration is responsible for administering an electronic system for receiving information about individuals prohibited from possessing a firearm and transmitting this information to NICS.2  A court must transmit information to the Division for transmission to NICS whenever it finds that a person is:

  • “Mentally ill and either dangerous or gravely disabled” (necessitating either inpatient or outpatient treatment);3
  • Not responsible for a crime by reason of insanity;4
  • Guilty of a crime but mentally ill;5 or
  • Not competent to understand criminal proceedings against him- or herself.6

In addition, the Department of Corrections must transmit information to the Division for transmission to NICS whenever it “involuntarily transfers” a criminal to the Division of Mental Health and Addiction.7

Lastly,  the court or Department of Correction must transmit information to the Department of State Court Administration for transmission to NICS regarding previously-committed individuals whose firearms eligibility has been restored.8

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Ind. Code § 33-24-6-3(a)(8). ⤴︎
  3. Ind. Code §§ 12-26-6-8(g), 12-26-7-5(c). ⤴︎
  4. Ind. Code § 35-36-2-4(e). ⤴︎
  5. Ind. Code § 35-36-2-5(f). ⤴︎
  6. Ind. Code § 35-36-3-1(c). ⤴︎
  7. Ind. Code § 11-10-4-3(e). ⤴︎
  8. Ind. Code § 33-23-15-2(c). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Iowa

Federal law prohibits any person from selling or otherwise transferring a firearm or ammunition to any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, however, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Iowa enacted a law in 2011 requiring courts to forward identification records to NICS whenever issuing any order or judgment under Iowa law by which a person becomes subject to federal law’s mental health-related firearm prohibitions.2 In such cases, the law requires the clerk of the district court to forward only such information as is necessary to identify the person to the Department of Public Safety, which must then in turn forward the information to the FBI for the sole purpose of inclusion in the NICS database.3 The clerk of the district court is also required to notify the person that they are subject to the federal firearm prohibition.4  In addition, the warden of the Iowa Medical and Classification Center must forward to the Iowa Department of Public Safety fingerprint records and photographs of persons committed to that institution.5

Iowa law provides a procedure for a person subject to a firearms prohibition as a result of a mental health adjudication or commitment because of an order or judgment that occurred under Iowa law to petition the court that issued the order or judgment or the court in the county where the person resides for relief from that prohibition.6  A copy of the petition must  be served on the Director of Human Services and the county attorney at the county attorney’s office of the county in which the original order occurred, and the Director or the county attorney may appear, support, object to, and present evidence relevant to the relief sought by the petitioner.7 The court must receive and consider evidence in a closed proceeding, including evidence offered by the petitioner, concerning all of the following:

  •  The circumstances surrounding the original issuance of the order or judgment that resulted in the firearm prohibition;
  • The petitioner’s record, which shall include, at a minimum, the petitioner’s mental health records and criminal history records, if any;
  • The petitioner’s reputation, developed, at a minimum, through character witness statements, testimony, and other character evidence; and
  • Any changes in the petitioner’s condition or circumstances since the issuance of the original order or judgment that are relevant to the relief sought.

The court shall grant the petition for relief if the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the petitioner will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to the public safety and that the granting of the relief would not be contrary to the public interest.8 If the court issues an order granting the petition for relief, the clerk of the court must immediately notify the Department of Public Safety. The Department of Public Safety shall then, as soon thereafter as is practicable but not later than ten business days thereafter, update, correct, modify, or remove the petitioner’s record in any database that the Department of Public Safety makes available to the NICS database, and shall notify the United States Department of Justice that the basis for such record being made available no longer applies.9

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Iowa Background Checks and Iowa Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Iowa Code § 724.31(1). ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Iowa Code § 690.4. ⤴︎
  6. Iowa Code § 724.31(2). ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. Iowa Code § 724.31(4). ⤴︎
  9. Iowa Code § 724.31(5). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Kansas

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Kansas requires the reporting of certain persons involuntarily committed to mental institutions to NICS. More specifically, whenever a district court orders a person to receive treatment for mental illness or an alcohol or substance abuse problem under certain provisions, the clerk of the court must send a copy of the order to the Kansas bureau of investigation within five days. The Kansas bureau of investigation must then enter the order into NICS and other appropriate databases.2

The 2006 law that imposed this requirement also required every district court to review all files dated on or after July 1, 1998, concerning “mentally ill persons subject to involuntary commitment for care and treatment” and “persons with an alcohol or substance abuse problem subject to involuntary commitment for care and treatment.” If the court ordered treatment pursuant to the relevant provisions, the clerk of the court was required to report the patient to the Kansas bureau of investigation, which was required to immediately cause the person to be entered into the appropriate state and federal databases.3

Whenever a court orders a person involuntarily committed to a state psychiatric hospital to be released, and issues a certificate of restoration to that person, the court must order the clerk of the district court to report the release and certificate of restoration to the Kansas bureau of investigation within five days.4

In 2011, Kansas enacted a law creating a procedure for a person with a history of mental illness to obtain relief from both federal and state firearm disabilities.5 A court that grants a petition for relief must submit documentation to the Kansas bureau of investigation. The Kansas bureau of investigation must immediately cause such order to be entered into the appropriate state and federal databases.6

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Kansas Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 59-2966(a) (regarding involuntary commitment of mentally ill persons upon clear and convincing evidence for care and treatment for up to three months) and 59-29b66(a) (regarding commitment of a person with an alcohol or substance abuse problem upon clear and convincing evidence for care and treatment for up to three months). See Kan. Stat. Ann. § 59-2946(e), (f)(1) for the standard for involuntarily committing a mentally ill person. See Kan. Stat. Ann. § 59-29b46(f), (g)(1) for the standard for involuntarily committing a “person with an alcohol or substance abuse problem.” ⤴︎
  3. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 75-7c25. ⤴︎
  4. Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 59-2974 and 59-29b74. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 75-7c25(a) reiterates that, after July 1, 2007, all orders of involuntary commitment for care and treatment as specified above and any orders of “termination of discharge” must be immediately forwarded to the Kansas bureau of investigation for entry into the appropriate state and federal databases. ⤴︎
  5. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 75-7c26. ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Kentucky

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Kentucky passed a law in 2011 to require a court that adjudicates a person as a mental defective or commits a person to a mental institution to submit that person’s name, other specified identifying information (e.g., Social Security number , date of birth), and the order of commitment to the Department of Kentucky State Police.2 The State Police must forward the information to the FBI for inclusion in the NICS database. The law also establishes a process by which a person may petition for relief of a firearm prohibition due to a history of mental illness.3

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Background Checks in Kentucky section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Kentucky.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 237.108(1). ⤴︎
  3. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 237.108(2). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Louisiana

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

In 2013, Louisiana enacted a law to require that records of these individuals be sent to NICS. 2  The law requires each district clerk of court to report to the Louisiana Supreme Court the name and other identifying information of any adult who is prohibited from possessing a firearm pursuant to state or federal  law by reason of a criminal conviction or adjudication in a court of that district for any of the following:

(1) A conviction of a crime listed in La. Rev. Stat. 14:95.1(A);

(2) A verdict of an acquittal of a crime listed in La. Rev. Stat. 14:95.1(A) by reason of insanity;

(3) A court determination that a person does not have the mental capacity to proceed with a criminal trial for a crime listed in La. Rev. Stat. 14:95.1(A);

(4) A court order requiring that a person be involuntarily committed to an inpatient mental health treatment facility;

(5) A court order prohibiting a person from possessing a firearm or restricting a person in the use of a firearm; or

(6) A felony conviction of domestic abuse battery.3

Starting January 1, 2017, each district clerk of court must also report to the Louisiana Supreme Court the name and other identifying information of any adult who is prohibited from possessing a firearm pursuant to state or federal law by reason of a criminal conviction or adjudication in a court of that district for any of the following:

(1) A misdemeanor conviction of domestic abuse battery;

(2) A verdict of an acquittal of a misdemeanor crime by reason of insanity;

(3) A court determination that a person does not have the mental capacity to proceed with a criminal trial for a misdemeanor crime; or

(4) A court order prohibiting a person from possessing a firearm or restricting a person in the use of a firearm. 4

The clerk must submit the report to the Louisiana Supreme Court within ten business days of the date of conviction, adjudication, or order of involuntary commitment. 5 The Louisiana Supreme Court must then, within fifteen business days of receipt of the report, submit the information in the report to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System database.6

In 2016, Louisiana passed a law requiring the Department of Health and Hospitals or the office of elderly affairs to comply with requests by the Louisiana Supreme Court for case records concerning individuals who have been committed to a mental institution or are otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms, for purposes of transmitting those records to NICS. 7  The law specifies that providing the required information to the Louisiana Supreme Court for transmittal to NICS shall not be construed to violate any law regarding client confidentiality. 8

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Louisiana Background Checks section and the section entitled Louisiana Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

 

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. La. Rev. Stat. § 13:753. ⤴︎
  3. La. Rev. Stat. § 13:753(A). ⤴︎
  4. La. Rev. Stat. § 13:753(B). ⤴︎
  5. La. Rev. Stat. § 13:753(C). ⤴︎
  6. La. Rev. Stat. § 13:753(D). ⤴︎
  7. 2016 La. H.B. 135 (signed by the Governor June 9, 2016), creating La. R.S. § 46:56.1. ⤴︎
  8. Id. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Maine

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Maine requires courts to transmit to the Department of Public Safety, State Bureau of Identification an abstract of any order for involuntary commitment issued by the court. The abstract must include:

  • The person’s name, date of birth and gender;
  • The court’s ruling that the person has been involuntarily committed by a court after a hearing because the person was found to present a “likelihood of serious harm” (as Maine law defines the phrase); and
  • A notation that the person has been notified by the court about the firearm prohibition.2

The Bureau also must report to NICS as soon as it receives any abstract from a court finding that a person has been:

  • Committed involuntarily to a hospital pursuant to an order of the District Court after a hearing;
  • Found not criminally responsible by reason of insanity with respect to a criminal charge; or
  • Found not competent to stand trial with respect to a criminal charge.3

The abstract is confidential and not a public record; however, a copy of the abstract may also be provided by the Bureau to a criminal justice agency for legitimate law enforcement purposes or to an issuing authority for the purpose of processing concealed handgun permit applications.4

Note that these reporting requirements only apply if the person was judicially committed after a hearing (and is therefore subject to the Maine prohibition against firearm possession)5.  Maine does not require the reporting of individuals who have been committed through emergency procedures, but who have not yet been granted a hearing.6

Restoration of Firearm Rights for the Mentally Ill: Maine law allows a person subject to the federal prohibition against firearm possession as a result of being committed pursuant to Maine’s emergency procedures (but who is not subject to the Maine prohibition against firearm possession by persons judicially committed after a hearing) to, after the expiration of five years from the date of final discharge, apply to the Commissioner of Public Safety for relief from the disability.7 The burden of proof is on the applicant to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that the circumstances that led to the involuntary commitment have changed, that the applicant is not likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety, and that granting the application for relief will not be contrary to the public interest.8

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Maine Background Checks section and the section entitled Maine Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Other duties of mental health professionals: Mental health professionals must notify law enforcement if he or she has reason to believe a person committed to a mental institution has access to firearms9.  Additionally, mental health facilities, upon discharge of a patient, are required to make inquiries and documentation of those inquiries into access by the patient to firearms and to notify the patient, the patient’s family and any other caregivers that possession, ownership or control of a firearm by the person to be discharged is prohibited by Maine law10.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Me. Stat., 34-B, § 3864(12). ⤴︎
  3. Me. Stat., 25 § 1541(3)(C). ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Me. Stat., 34-B, § 3864(12); Me. Stat., 25 § 1541(3)(C). ⤴︎
  6. See Me. Stat., 15, § 393(4-A). ⤴︎
  7. Me. Stat., 15 § 393(4-A). The application must be accompanied by a report from an independent licensed psychologist or psychiatrist. The Commissioner must notify, and request relevant information from, local law enforcement. Id. ⤴︎
  8. Id. According to a Maine government website, Maine’s process under this statute was disapproved by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in letter of December 28, 2009, stating that Maine’s relief process will not end the federal prohibition from firearms possession. See Office of Adult Mental Health Services, Maine Dept. of Health and Human Services, Firearms and Psychiatric Hospitalization Laws Applicable in Maine (March 10, 2010), at https://maine.gov/dhhs/mh/rights-legal/firearms-laws.shtml. ⤴︎
  9. Me. Stat., 34-B § 1207(8). ⤴︎
  10. Me. Stat., 34-B § 3871(7). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Maryland

Federal law prohibits any person from selling or otherwise transferring a firearm or ammunition to any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Under Maryland law, when a person is admitted to a state facility providing mental health treatment for 30 consecutive days or more or has been involuntarily committed to a state facility, the following information must be reported to the NICS index:  1) the name and identifying information of the person admitted or committed; 2) the date the person was admitted or committed to the facility; and 3) the name of the facility to which the person was admitted or committed.2

A Maryland court must promptly report to the NICS database:  1) the name and identifying information of an individual; and 2) the date of a specific determination or finding, if that court:

  • Determines that a person is “not criminally responsible” (i.e. committed to the state Health Department);
  • Finds that a person is incompetent to stand trial; or
  • Finds that the person should be under protection of a guardian because he or she cannot manage his or her affairs for mental health-related reasons (except for cases in which the appointment of a guardian is solely a result of a physical disability).3

Maryland requires any facility that admits an individual with a mental disorder to submit a report to the State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene within 10 days after admission.4

In addition, the Secretary of the Maryland Department of State Police (DSP) requires, as part of the application to purchase, rent or transfer a handgun or assault weapon, the applicant’s written authorization to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, “or any other similar agency or department of another state,” to disclose to DSP whether the applicant: 1) suffers from a mental disorder and has a history of violent behavior against anyone; and 2) has been confined for more than 30 consecutive days to a mental health facility.5

Courts must notify the Criminal Justice Information System Central Repository of any commitment ordered upon a determination that a defendant is incompetent to stand trial, or a determination that a person is not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder or mental retardation.6 State law is unclear as to whether this information affects firearm transfers.

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Background Checks in Maryland and Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Maryland sections.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-133.2(c). ⤴︎
  3. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-133.2(b). ⤴︎
  4. Md. Code Ann., Health-Gen. § 10-605(a). ⤴︎
  5. Md. Code Regs. 29.03.01.03(A)(8). ⤴︎
  6. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. §§ 3-106(h), 3-112(d). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Massachusetts

See our Mental Health Reporting policy for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 Massachusetts law states that Firearm Identification Cards (“FID”) and licenses to carry handguns may not be issued to applicants who have been committed to any hospital or institution for mental illness, or appointed a guardian or conservator on the grounds that he or she lacks the mental capacity to manage his or her affairs.2 Upon issuing the commitment order, the court must notify the person that he or she is prohibited from obtaining a FID or license to carry.3

No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers. In 2014, Massachusetts enacted a law significantly improving the state’s reporting of mental health information to NICS. The law requires courts to transmit certain mental health records, such as records of involuntary commitments and the appointment of a guardian or conservator, to the state Department of Criminal Justice Information Services for inclusion in NICS.4

The Department of Mental Health must keep records of the admission, treatment, and periodic review of all persons admitted to facilities under its supervision.5 However, the records of the Department of Mental Health are “private and not open to public inspection” except for certain specified purposes.”6 The 2014 law allows the use of such information for the purposes of conducting background checks.7

In addition, the 2014 law requires the Department of Mental Health to transmit to the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services, within 180 days of the effective date of the law, identifying information about anyone known to the Department of Mental Health to have been, within the preceding 20 years, committed to facilities for mental illness or substance/alcohol abuse; or determined by a adjudicative body to “pose a serious risk of harm” as defined by the law.8

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 129B. ⤴︎
  3. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 123, § 35. ⤴︎
  4. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 6, § 167A; ch. 123, §§ 35; 36A; ch. 215, § 56C. ⤴︎
  5. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 123, § 36. ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎
  7. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 123, § 36A. ⤴︎
  8. Act of Aug. 13, 2014, Mass. Pub. L. No. 284-2014, Section 98. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Michigan

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

In Michigan, upon entry of a court order directing that an individual be involuntarily hospitalized or involuntarily undergo a program of alternative treatment or a program of combined hospitalization and alternative treatment, the court must immediately order the Michigan Department of State Police (DSP) to enter the court order into the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN).2 Findings of legal incapacity or not guilty by reason of insanity are treated in the same manner.3

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Michigan Background Checks and Michigan Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 330.1464a(1). DSP is required to remove the court order from the law enforcement information network only upon receipt of a subsequent court order for that removal. Id. Moreover, DSP must immediately enter an order into LEIN or remove an order from LEIN as ordered by the court. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 330.1464a(2). ⤴︎
  3. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. §§ 700.5107(1), 769.16b(1). DSP must immediately enter an order or disposition into LEIN, or remove an order of legal incapacity from LEIN, as ordered by the court. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. §§ 700.5107(3), 769.16b(2). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Minnesota

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

When a Minnesota court: 1) commits a person under state law as being mentally ill, developmentally disabled, mentally ill and dangerous, or chemically dependent; 2) determines in a criminal case that a person is incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of mental illness; or 3) restores a person’s ability to possess a firearm under state law, the court must ensure that this information is electronically transmitted within three business days to NICS.2

When a court commits a patient to a treatment program or facility other than a state-operated program or facility, the court shall report the commitment to the Commissioner through the supreme court information system for purposes of providing commitment information for firearm background checks.3

The Minnesota Commissioner of Human Services receives a copy of any commitment order through the state’s supreme court information system whenever a patient is committed to a state-operated mental health facility, or to a treatment program or facility other than a state-operated program or facility. The Commissioner must provide commitment information to local law enforcement agencies by means of electronic data transfer through the Minnesota Crime Information System when individually requested for the sole purpose of facilitating a background check for purchasers of handguns or assault weapons.4 A person seeking a transferee permit to purchase a handgun or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon must authorize the release of mental health information for this purpose.5

Minnesota passed a law in 2013 requiring courts to electronically enter into the NICS database information on all persons civilly committed during the period from January 1, 1994, to September 28, 2010, that had not already been entered in the system.6 The information provided must include civil commitment orders and orders restoring firearms eligibility.7

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see Background Checks in Minnesota and Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Minnesota.

 

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Minn. Stat. § 253B.24. ⤴︎
  3. Minn. Stat. § 253B.09, subd. 3a. ⤴︎
  4. Minn. Stat. § 245.041. ⤴︎
  5. Minn. Stat. § 624.7131, subd. 1(3). See also Minn. Stat. § 624.7132, subd. 1(3) for a seller’s duty to report to law enforcement the release of mental health information by a prospective purchaser of a handgun or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon. ⤴︎
  6. 2013 Minn. S.B. 671, Section 10. ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Mississippi

Federal law prohibits any person from selling or otherwise transferring a firearm or ammunition to any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Mississippi requires the Clerk of the Court to transmit to the Department of Public Safety identifying information about federally prohibited-persons no later than the 30th day after the court makes a determination. Federally prohibited-persons are defined as:

  • A person who has been judicially determined by a court as mentally ill, whether ordered for inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, day treatment, night treatment or home health services treatment;
  • A person acquitted in a criminal case by reason of insanity or on a ground of intellectual disability, without regard to whether the person is ordered by a court to receive inpatient treatment or residential care;
  • An adult individual for whom a court has appointed a guardian or conservator based on the determination that the person is incapable of managing his own estate due to mental weakness; or
  • A person determined to be incompetent to stand trial by a court.2

The Department of Public Safety must develop rules and procedures to forward the information received from the court about federally prohibited-persons to NICS.3 A person may petition the court for relief from a firearms disability.4

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Mississippi Background Checks and Mississippi Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Miss. Code Ann. §§ 9-1-49, 45-9-103. ⤴︎
  3. Miss. Code Ann. § 45-9-103. ⤴︎
  4. Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-5. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Missouri

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Missouri law authorizes, but does not require, the Missouri State Highway Patrol to submit mental health records to the NICS database.  In Missouri, all records required to be closed – that is, confidential – are generally inaccessible to the public.2 However, records and files concerning court proceedings for mental health and psychiatric issues are “available” to the Missouri State Highway Patrol for reporting to the FBI for inclusion in NICS.3

When a criminal defendant is acquitted on the ground of “mental disease or defect excluding culpability,” the judgment must state that fact along with the offense for which the defendant was acquitted.4 The clerk of court must furnish a copy of any judgment, or order of commitment to the Missouri Department of Mental Health, to the criminal records central repository.5

Missouri has also enacted a restoration of rights procedure by which a person who has been adjudged incapacitated or involuntarily committed, or who is otherwise subject to federal law’s mental health related firearm prohibitions as a result of an adjudication or commitment that occurred in Missouri, may petition for the removal of the disqualification to possess a firearm.6 The petition shall be filed in the circuit court with jurisdiction in the petitioner’s place of residence, or which entered the letters of guardianship, most recent order for involuntary commitment, or most recent disqualifying order, whichever is later.7 Upon receipt of the petition, the clerk shall schedule a hearing and provide notice of the hearing to the petitioner.8 The court is required to grant the petition if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that (1) the petitioner will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety; and (2) granting the relief is not contrary to the public interest.9 In order to determine whether to grant the petition, the court may request the local prosecuting attorney, circuit attorney, or attorney general to provide a written recommendation as to whether the petition should be granted. ((Mo. Rev. Stat. § 571.092.4.)) If the petition is granted, the court clerk must forward the order to the Missouri State Highway Patrol for updating of the petitioner’s record with NICS.10 The Highway Patrol must then contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation to effect this updating within 21 days of receiving the order.11 In the event that the petition is denied, the petitioner may appeal such denial after the expiration of one year from the date of such denial, and the review shall be de novo.12

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Missouri Background Checks and Missouri Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.120.1. ⤴︎
  3. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 630.140.5. ⤴︎
  4. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 552.030.7. ⤴︎
  5. Id. See Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 43.503.6-7. ⤴︎
  6. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 571.092. ⤴︎
  7. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 571.092.2). ⤴︎
  8. Id. ⤴︎
  9. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 571.092.3. ⤴︎
  10. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 571.092.7. ⤴︎
  11. Id. ⤴︎
  12. Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 571.092.8-9. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Montana

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Montana has no law requiring, or even explicitly authorizing, the reporting of mental health information to NICS.

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Montana Background Checks section and the section entitled Montana Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Nebraska

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Nebraska has no law requiring the submittal of mental health records to NICS. However, Nebraska does require that certain mental health records be furnished to the Nebraska State Patrol for the sole purpose of determining whether an individual is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a handgun.2 In addition, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) maintains a database of all persons ordered committed by the various courts or mental health boards after a determination that the person is or will be dangerous to himself, herself or others by reason of mental illness or defect.3 Court clerks are required to furnish such orders and related information to HHS and the Nebraska State Patrol within 30 days of the order of commitment.4 Nebraska law also provides that: “To ensure the accuracy of the data base, any information maintained or disclosed … shall be updated, corrected, modified, or removed, as appropriate, and as soon as practicable, from any data base that the state or federal government maintains and makes available to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.”5 The procedures for furnishing the information must guarantee that no information is released beyond what is necessary for these purposes.6

In 2011, Nebraska created a procedure for individuals formally prohibited from possessing firearms by federal law because of mental illness to obtain relief from this prohibition.7 The law also provided for the reporting of this information to HHS and the Nebraska State Patrol, according to the procedures described above.8

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Nebraska Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 69-2409.01. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎
  7. 2011 Neb. ALS 512, § 8. ⤴︎
  8. Id. at § 3 (amending Neb. Rev. Stat. § 69-2409.01). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Nevada

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Nevada requires that a court make a record and transmit the record to the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History (Central Repository), along with a statement that the record is being transmitted for inclusion in each appropriate NICS database, whenever a court or other trier of fact where applicable: 1) accepts a plea of guilty but mentally ill in a criminal case;2 2) finds a criminal defendant guilty but mentally ill;3 3) accepts a verdict acquitting a criminal defendant by reason of insanity;4 4) finds a criminal defendant incompetent;5 5) issues an order involuntarily admitting a person to a public or private mental health facility;6 or 6) finds that a proposed ward is a person with a mental defect.7 The court must transmit the record to the Central Repository within five business days of the plea or determination.8

The Central Repository, upon receiving any of these records, must take reasonable steps to ensure that the information reported in the record is included in each appropriate NICS database.9 Any record of a person’s mental health included in the Central Repository is confidential, not considered a public record, and may not be used for any purpose other than for inclusion in NICS.10

If a court issues an order involuntarily admitting a person to a public or private mental health facility or to a program of community-based outpatient services, the court must, within five business days, transmit a record of the order to each law enforcement agency of Nevada with which the court has entered into an agreement for such transmission, along with a statement indicating that the record is being transmitted for inclusion in each of Nevada’s appropriate databases of information related to crimes.11

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Nevada Background Checks section and the section entitled Nevada Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 174.035(8). ⤴︎
  3. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 175.533(3). ⤴︎
  4. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 175.539(4). ⤴︎
  5. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 178.425(6). ⤴︎
  6. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 433A.310(5). ⤴︎
  7. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159.0593(1). ⤴︎
  8. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 174.035. ⤴︎
  9. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 179A.163(1). ⤴︎
  10. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 179A.165(1). ⤴︎
  11. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 433A.310(5). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in New Hampshire

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

There is no law in New Hampshire requiring the reporting of mental health information to NICS. In 2016, the legislature enacted a Medicaid expansion bill that included a provision prohibiting a person, organization, department, or agency from submitting the name of any person to NICS on the basis that the person has been adjudicated a “mental defective” or has been committed to a mental institution, except pursuant to a court order issued following a hearing in which the person participated and was represented by an attorney.2 The 2016 law did not repeal an existing law that allows for the release of confidential patient information when provided for “by the need to protect the welfare of the individual or the public interest.”3

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the New Hampshire Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 126-A:5(XXX)(e). ⤴︎
  3. N.H. Rev. Stat. § 332-I:2(I)(e). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in New Jersey

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

A 2009 New Jersey law created an exception to the rule of confidentiality for inpatient records for when “disclosure is needed to comply with the data reporting provisions of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, Pub.L.110-180, and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, Pub.L.103-159.” 2

More significantly, a 2013 law states:

In compliance with the federal NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, Pub.L. 110-180 and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, Pub.L. 103-159, the Attorney General shall direct the Superintendent of the State Police to collect, in cooperation with the Administrative Office of the Courts, such data as may be required to make a determination as to whether a person is disqualified from possessing or receiving a firearm under 18 U.S.C. § 922 or applicable State law, and to transmit such data to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.3

Any person seeking to purchase or possess a firearm in New Jersey must obtain either a permit to purchase a handgun or a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC) following a background check, among other requirements.4 Applicants for a permit to purchase a handgun or FPIC must state:

whether he has ever been confined or committed to a mental institution or hospital for treatment or observation of a mental or psychiatric condition on a temporary, interim or permanent basis, giving the name and location of the institution or hospital and the dates of such confinement or commitment, whether he has been attended, treated or observed by any doctor or psychiatrist or at any hospital or mental institution on an inpatient or outpatient basis for any mental or psychiatric condition, giving the name and location of the doctor, psychiatrist, hospital or institution and the dates of such occurrence …5

The applicant must “waive any statutory or other right of confidentiality relating to institutional confinement.” 6

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the New Jersey Background Checks and New Jersey Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. N.J. Stat. § 30:4-24.3. ⤴︎
  3. N.J. Stat. § 30:4-24.3a. ⤴︎
  4. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3(c)(2), (3); N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-1.5. ⤴︎
  5. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3(e). ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in New Mexico

Some of the laws referenced on this page were enacted in 2016 and may not yet be in effect. 

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

In 2016, New Mexico enacted a law requiring the reporting of mental health information to NICS. Under the law, the administrative office of the courts must electronically transmit information about a court order, judgment or verdict to the FBI for entry into NICS regarding each person who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution2 and is therefore prohibited under federal law from receiving or possessing a firearm or ammunition.3

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the New Mexico Background Checks section and the section entitled New Mexico Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. The terms “adjudicated as a mental defective” and “committed to a mental institution” have the same meaning as those terms are defined in federal regulations at 27 C.F.R. Section 478.11. ⤴︎
  3. 2016 NM H 336. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in New York

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

New York requires the state Commissioner of Mental Health to collect, retain or modify mental health records and transmit those records to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services or to the Criminal Justice Information Service (CJIS) of the FBI to respond to queries to the NICS database.  Such records may also be disclosed to the State Division of Criminal Justice Services for the purpose of determining an individual’s firearms license should be denied, suspended, or revoked under state or federal law.  Such records may only include names and other non-clinical identifying information of persons who have been involuntarily committed to a hospital or to a secure treatment facility.  A person who is disqualified from having a firearms license because of involuntary commitment or civil confinement may petition the Commissioner of Mental Health for relief where the person’s record and reputation are such that the person is not likely to act in a manner contrary to public safety.2

To ensure that such mental health data is collected for background check purposes, New York requires that:

  • Operators of mental health facilities or programs licensed or funded by the state provide to the state Office of Mental Health any records pertaining to persons who may be disqualified from possessing a firearm due to mental illness;3 and
  • The Chief Administrator of the Courts in New York state adopt rules to require the transmission, to CJIS or the State Division of Criminal Justice Services, of the name and other identifying information of each person who has a guardian appointed to him or her because of marked subnormal intelligence, mental illness, incapacity, condition or disease, or who lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his or her own affairs.  Any such records transmitted to the FBI must also be transmitted to the State Division of Criminal Justice.4

New York law exempts from the provision stating that mental health data may not be released disclosure to the State Division of Criminal Justice Services for the sole purposes of providing information to the FBI to respond to queries to NICS regarding attempts to purchase firearms.5

In New York, local law enforcement may access the records of the Department of Mental Health to verify that an applicant for a license to purchase and possess a handgun is not prohibited because of a previous or present mental illness.6

Required Reporting by a Mental Health Professional

A “mental health professional” in New York (including physicians, psychologists, registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers) is required to report to the New York Director of Community Services if, in their exercise of reasonable professional judgment, they determine that a person they are treating is “likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others.”  That information, limited to names or other non-clinical identifying information, must then be given to the New York Department of Criminal Justice Services for the sole purpose of determining if the person is ineligible to possess firearms under state or federal law.  A mental health professional is not required to take any action if doing so would, in their reasonable professional judgment, endanger the professional or increase the danger to potential victims.  The decision to disclose information under this law cannot be the basis for civil or criminal liability for the mental health professional when made “reasonably and in good faith.”  The Division of Criminal Justice must destroy the information within five years of receipt or after a court determines that the individual is eligible for a New York firearms license.7

Effective January 15, 2014, a firearms license cannot be issued to anyone who has had a guardian appointed because the individual lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his  or her own affairs.  A license is also prohibited for individuals who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility or civilly confined in a secure mental health facility.8

Court-ordered Outpatient Treatment

In New York in situations where an individual is subject to a court order requiring ongoing assisted outpatient treatment, the director of community services in the county where the individual resides is responsible for determining, prior to expiration of the order, whether the individual needs continued treatment.  If the director determines that the individual needs continued treatment, or if the individual has been unwilling to cooperate, the director may, 30 days prior to expiration, petition the court to order continued treatment.  The director must notify the program coordinator in writing whether such a petition for continued treatment is warranted and whether such a petition was or will be filed.9

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see Background Checks in New York and Prohibited Purchasers Generally in New York.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. N.Y. Mental Hyg. Law §§ 7.09(j), 13.09(g); N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 14, § 542.2. ⤴︎
  3. N.Y. Mental Hyg. Law §§ 7.09(j), 31.11, 33.13(b). ⤴︎
  4. N.Y. Jud. Law § 212(2)(q). ⤴︎
  5. N.Y. Mental Hyg. Law § 33.13(c)(13)(ii). ⤴︎
  6. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(4). ⤴︎
  7. N.Y. Mental Hyg. Law §§ 9.46, 33.13(c)(12), 33.13(c)(15); N.Y. Exec. Law § 837(19). ⤴︎
  8. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(1). ⤴︎
  9. N.Y. Mental Hyg. Law § 9.60(k). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in North Carolina

Federal law prohibits any person from selling or otherwise transferring a firearm or ammunition to any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

After receiving notice of certain judicial determinations or findings, the clerk of superior court in the county where the determination or finding was made must work through the Administrative Office of the Courts to cause a record of that determination or finding to be transmitted to NICS within 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays).2  The judicial determinations or findings that trigger the NICS reporting requirement are:

  • (1)  A determination that an individual shall be involuntarily committed to a facility for inpatient mental health treatment upon a finding that the individual is mentally ill and a danger to self or others.
  • (2)  A determination that an individual shall be involuntarily committed to a facility for outpatient mental health treatment upon a finding that the individual is mentally ill and, based on the individual’s treatment history, in need of treatment in order to prevent further disability or deterioration that would predictably result in a danger to self or others.
  • (3)  A determination that an individual shall be involuntarily committed to a facility for substance abuse treatment upon a finding that the individual is a substance abuser and a danger to self or others.
  • (4)  A finding that an individual is not guilty by reason of insanity.
  • (5)  A finding that an individual is mentally incompetent to proceed to criminal trial.
  • (6)  A finding that an individual lacks the capacity to manage the individual’s own affairs due to marked subnormal intelligence or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease.
  • (7)  A determination to grant a petition to an individual for the removal of firearm prohibitions pursuant to North Carolina or federal law.3

Records of involuntary commitment are accessible only by the sheriff or the sheriff’s designee for the purposes of conducting background checks and are otherwise confidential.4

State law allows a person involuntarily committed for mental health treatment to petition a court for a restoration of his or her eligibility to possess a firearm.5 If the court grants the petition, it must forward the order to NICS for updating of the record.6 State law requires that the clerk, upon receipt of documentation that an affected individual has received a relief from disabilities pursuant to state or applicable federal law, forward the order to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for updating of the respondent’s record.7

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the North Carolina Background Checks and North Carolina Prohibited Persons sections.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14‑409.43 (recodified from § 122C-54(d1) ). ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 122C-54(d2). ⤴︎
  5. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-409.42 (recodified from § 122C-54.1). ⤴︎
  6. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-409.42. ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in North Dakota

Federal law prohibits any person from selling or otherwise transferring a firearm or ammunition to any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Courts in North Dakota are required, after certain mental health-related proceedings, to make a finding as to whether the subject of the proceeding is prohibited by federal law from firearm possession.2 If the subject is determined to be prohibited, the court must forward the individual’s name and nonclinical identifying information to the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation to be forwarded to NICS.3 The court must also notify the prohibited individual of any relevant firearms prohibitions.4

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers/possessors, see the North Dakota Background Checks section.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-02-01.2(1). ⤴︎
  3. N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-02-01.2(2). ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Ohio

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Ohio has no laws requiring the reporting of mental health information to NICS. Ohio requires a probate judge who finds an individual to be a mentally ill person subject to hospitalization by court order to notify the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (“BCII”) of the identity of the individual.2 Similarly, the chief clinical officer of a hospital, agency, or facility must notify BCII if a person becomes an involuntary patient other than one who is a patient only for purposes of observation.3 The officer or judge must use the form prescribed by the attorney general for the notification. The notification must be transmitted by the judge or the officer no later than seven days after the adjudication or commitment.4

State law requires this information to be used for incompetency records checks for concealed weapons permits, and states that this information is confidential.5

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see Background Checks in Ohio and the Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Ohio.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Ohio Rev. Code § 5122.311. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Oklahoma

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Since 2014, Oklahoma has required court clerks to report the identities of these individuals to both the NICS database and to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation whenever a court adjudicates a person mentally incompetent or orders the person to be involuntarily committed due to a mental illness, condition, or disorder.2 The clerk of the court must also notify the individual  of the relevant prohibitions contained within state and federal law concerning possession of a firearm or ammunition by such persons.3

Oklahoma law also provides a procedure for such persons to petition the court in which his or her adjudication or commitment proceedings occurred, or the district court of the county in which the person currently resides, to remove his or her mental health-related firearm disability.4 On filing of the petition, a copy of the petition for relief must be served upon the district attorney for that county.  The court then receives and considers evidence in a closed hearing considering:

  • Psychological or psychiatric evidence from the petitioner and in support of the petition;
  • The circumstances that resulted in the firearm disabilities;
  • The petitioner’s criminal history records provided by the state, if any;
  • The petitioner’s mental health records;
  • The reputation of the petitioner based on character witness statements, testimony or other character evidence;
  • Whether the petitioner is a danger to self or others;
  • Changes in the condition or circumstances of the petitioner since the original adjudication of mental incompetency or involuntary commitment for a mental illness, condition or disorder relevant to the relief sought; and
  • Any other evidence deemed admissible by the court.5

The court must grant the petitioner relief if the petitioner proves by clear and convincing evidence that (1) he or she is not likely to act in a manner that is dangerous to the public safety, and that (2) granting the relief requested is not contrary to the public interest.6 The petitioner may appeal a denial of the requested relief, and review on appeal is de novo.7

If the court grants the petition for relief, the original adjudication of mental incompetency or order of involuntary commitment is deemed not to have occurred for purposes of applying the federal firearm prohibition.8 In such a case, the clerk of the court must promptly forward a certified copy of the order granting relief to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the sole purpose of inclusion in the NICS database and the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.9 The Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation shall then, as soon as is practicable but in no case later than 10 business days, update, correct, modify, or remove the record of the person in any databases that these agencies use or refer to for the purposes of handgun licensing, or make available to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and they must notify the United States Attorney that the basis for such record being made available no longer applies.10

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Oklahoma Background Checks section and the section entitled Oklahoma Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.27(A). ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.27(B). ⤴︎
  5. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.27(D). ⤴︎
  6. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.27(E). ⤴︎
  7. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.27(F). ⤴︎
  8. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.27(G). ⤴︎
  9. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.27(H). ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Oregon

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

In 2009, Oregon enacted a law requiring the Oregon Department of Human Services, the Oregon Health Authority, the Oregon Psychiatric Security Review Board and the Oregon Judicial Department to provide the Department of State Police (“DSP”) with the minimum information necessary to identify persons who:

  • Have been committed by a court to the Oregon Health Authority or Department of Human Services based on a finding that the person is dangerous to self or others;
  • Are subject to a court order finding the person mentally ill and prohibiting the person from purchasing or possessing a firearm;
  • Have been found by a court to lack fitness to proceed during a criminal trial as a result of mental disease or defect;
  • Have been found “guilty except for insanity” of criminal conduct;
  • Have been found “responsible except for insanity” for an act under the Juvenile Code;
  • Have been placed under the jurisdiction of the Psychiatric Security Review Board or the Oregon Health Authority under certain provisions of Oregon law; or
  • Have been committed to a state hospital or facility under certain provisions of Oregon law.2

Upon receipt of this information, DSP must “access and maintain the information and transmit the information to the federal government as required under federal law.”3 The agencies listed above must enter into agreements describing the access to this information.4 DSP must adopt rules describing the type of information to be transmitted and the method and manner of maintaining this information and transmitting this information to the federal government.5

Oregon law specifically exempts information about these mental commitments from privacy rules so that the court is required to transmit the minimum information necessary, as defined above, to DSP for the individuals described above to enable DSP to “maintain the information and transmit the information to the federal government as required under federal law.”6

In Oregon, if a court finds that there is a reasonable likelihood that a mentally ill person would constitute a danger to himself or herself or others or to the community at large as a result of the person’s mental or psychological state, the court must order that the person be prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms.7 In such cases, Oregon requires courts to report such individuals to the sheriff of the county, who is required to enter the information into the Oregon Law Enforcement Data System.8

Oregon allows the persons listed above to petition for restoration of their eligibility to possess firearms under federal and state law, and provides for the reporting of individuals whose eligibility has been restored.9

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Oregon Background Checks section and the section entitled Oregon Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Or. Rev. Stat. § 181.740. ⤴︎
  3. Or. Rev. Stat. § 181.740. ⤴︎
  4. Or. Rev. Stat. § 181.740. ⤴︎
  5. Or. Rev. Stat. § 181.740. “Minimum information necessary” means data elements or nominal information that is necessary or required under federal law to accurately identify the person and includes the person’s name, date of birth, gender and reference information that identifies the originating agency or court and enables the originating agency or court to locate an underlying record or file of a person described in this section. “Minimum information necessary” does not include any medical, psychiatric or psychological information, case histories or files of a person described in this section or any record or file of an originating agency or court. Id. For DSP’s rules regarding mental health reporting, see Or. Admin. R. 257-010-0010 et seq. ⤴︎
  6. Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 426.160, 427.293. ⤴︎
  7. Or. Rev. Stat. § 426.130(1)(b)(D). ⤴︎
  8. Id. ⤴︎
  9. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.274. See also 2009 Ore. ALS 826. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Pennsylvania

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Pennsylvania law requires the reporting of mental health information to NICS by the Pennsylvania State Police (“PSP”), stating:

Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the Pennsylvania State Police shall, within 72 hours of receipt, disclose, electronically or otherwise, to the United States Attorney General or a designee, any record relevant to a determination of whether a person is disqualified from possessing or receiving a firearm under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3) or (4) [prohibiting possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance or who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or involuntarily committed to any mental institution] or an applicable state statute and any record relevant to a determination of whether a person is not disqualified or is no longer disqualified from possessing or receiving a firearm under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3) or (4) or an applicable state statute.2

Pennsylvania law also requires judges of the courts of common pleas to notify PSP, on a form developed by PSP, of:

  • The identity of any individual who has been adjudicated as an incompetent or as a mental defective or who has been involuntarily committed to a mental institution or who has been involuntarily treated as an inpatient or outpatient as described or federal or Pennsylvania law relating to firearms; and
  • Any finding of fact or court order related to any person prohibited by federal law from possessing a firearm or ammunition as an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance.3

The notification must be transmitted by the judge to PSP within seven days of the adjudication, commitment or treatment.4

The Pennsylvania law that governs the confidentiality of mental health records states that it does not restrict judges of the courts of common pleas, mental health review officers and county mental health and mental retardation administrators from disclosing information to PSP or PSP from disclosing information to any person, in accordance with these provisions.5

If a court grants relief from the Pennsylvania prohibition on firearm possession by persons adjudicated to be incompetent or involuntarily committed to a mental institution, a copy of the order must be sent to PSP within ten days. The order must include the name, date of birth and social security number of the individual.6

As of November 2013, Pennsylvania is a leader in the number of people identified in NICS because of mental illness.7

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Pennsylvania Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111.1(f)(3). ⤴︎
  3. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111.1(f). See also 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6109(i.1)(2), which requires “the judge of the court of common pleas, mental health review officer or county mental health and mental retardation administrator” to report to PSP persons adjudicated incompetent, or involuntarily committed for inpatient care and treatment, or upon involuntary treatment of a person as described in 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6105(c)(4). See also 50 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 7109(d) (same). ⤴︎
  4. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 6109(i.1)(2), 6111.1(f)(2); 50 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 7109(d). ⤴︎
  5. 50 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 7111. ⤴︎
  6. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6105(j). For PSP’s regulations regarding the reporting of mental health information, see 37 Pa. Code §§ 33.103(e), 33.120. ⤴︎
  7. Everytown for Gun Safety, Closing the Gaps:  Strengthening the Background Check System to Keep Guns Away from the Dangerously Mentally Ill (May 2014), at http://everytown.org/article/closing-the-gaps/?source=fbno_closingthegaps&utm_source=fb_n_&utm_medium=_o&utm_campaign=closingthegaps. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Rhode Island

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

In 2014, Rhode Island enacted a law requiring courts to report people who are involuntarily committed to mental institutions as inpatients to NICS, and provides an exception to the rules of confidentiality for this disclosure.2 The district court must submit the name, date of birth, gender, race or ethnicity, and date of civil commitment to the NICS database of all persons subject to a civil commitment order within 48 hours of “certification,” or issuance of the order.3

The 2014 law also established a program for people prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law’s mental health prohibitions, or under Rhode Island law because of an adjudication commitment, to petition the “Relief From Disqualifiers Board” for relief from that prohibition.4 The Board is comprised of law enforcement and mental health professionals appointed by the state’s Governor.5

In determining whether to grant relief, the Board must consider evidence regarding the following: (1) the circumstances regarding the firearms prohibition; (2) the petitioner’s record, which must include, at a minimum, the petitioner’s mental health record, including a certificate of a medical doctor or psychiatrist licensed in this state certifying that the person is no longer suffering from a mental disorder which interferes or handicaps the person from handling deadly weapons; (3) all records pertaining to the petitioner’s criminal history; and (4) evidence of the petitioner’s reputation through character witness statements, testimony, or other character evidence.6 The Board also has the authority to require that the petitioner undergo a clinical evaluation and risk assessment, the results of which may  be considered as evidence in determining whether to approve or deny the petition for relief.7

After a hearing on the record, the Board shall grant relief if it finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that (1) the petitioner is not likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety; and (2) granting the relief will not be contrary to the public interest.8 Upon notice that a petition for relief has been granted, the district court shall, as soon as practicable, (1) cause the petitioner’s record to be updated, corrected, modified, or removed from any database maintained and made available to the NICS database and reflect that the petitioner is no longer subject the the federal firearms prohibition pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 922(d)(4) and 18 U.S.C. 922 (g)(4); and (2) notify the Attorney General of the United States that the petitioner is no longer subject to a federal firearms prohibition pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 922(d)(4) and 18 U.S.C. 922 (g)(4).9

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Rhode Island Background Checks section and the section entitled Rhode Island Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. 2013 RI H.B. 7939, enacting R.I. Gen. Laws § 40.1-5-8(l). ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. 2013 RI H.B. 7939, enacting R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-63. Persons prohibited under state law due to an adjudication commitment may petition the Disqualifiers Board after three years have elapsed from the date the civil commitment order is terminated. ⤴︎
  5. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-63(a). ⤴︎
  6. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-63(c). ⤴︎
  7. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-63(d). ⤴︎
  8. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-63(e). ⤴︎
  9. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-63(h). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in South Carolina

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

South Carolina enacted a law in 2013 requiring the reporting of mental health-related information to the NICS system.2  The law mirrors federal law regarding the definitions of “adjudicated as a mental defective” and “committed to a mental institution.”  The law requires courts to transmit information about adjudications and commitments to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (“SLED”) within five days.  SLED must then transmit this information to NICS.  This information must otherwise remain confidential.

The 2013 law also provided one year for courts to submit retroactive information on such individuals going back a minimum of ten years or, if records are not available as far back as ten years, as far back as records exist.

Finally the law provides a process for a person who has been adjudicated or committed as described above to petition to regain his or her federal firearms eligibility.

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the South Carolina Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. 2013 S.C. H.B. 3560. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in South Dakota

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

South Dakota requires the board of mental illness to report within seven working days any person involuntarily committed because he or she is a danger to self or others to the Attorney General for reporting to NICS.2 It also requires a prosecuting attorney to report within seven working days any person who is acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity or determined to be incompetent to stand trial to the Attorney General for reporting to NICS.3 The Attorney General must transmit this information to NICS.4 South Dakota law also provides a procedure for a person prohibited from possessing guns under federal law due to mental illness to regain his or her gun eligibility.5

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the South Dakota Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. S.D. Codified Laws § 27A-10-24. ⤴︎
  3. S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-47. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-49. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Tennessee

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

A 2009 Tennessee law requires submission of mental health records to NICS. The state’s circuit courts, criminal courts, general sessions courts, county/probate courts and chancery courts that have ordered a commitment to a mental institution or that have adjudicated a person as mentally defective are required to report this fact to NICS and the Tennessee Department of Safety.2

This reporting must include the:

  • Complete name and all aliases of the individual judicially committed or adjudicated as a mental defective, including any names that the individual may have had or currently has by reason of marriage or otherwise;
  • Case or docket number of the judicial commitment or adjudication as a mental defective;
  • Date judicial commitment was ordered or adjudication as a mental defective was made;
  • Private or state hospital or treatment resource to which the individual was judicially committed; and
  • Date of birth of the individual judicially committed or adjudicated as a mental defective, if such information has been provided to the clerk.3

The aforementioned information is confidential and not subject to public inspection except if necessary for any proceedings for the suspension or revocation of handgun carry permits.4

Tennessee enacted a law in 2013 that requires clerks of court to confirm with the administrative office of the courts when these reports are made to NICS.  The law also requires these reports to be made as soon as practicable, but no later than the third business day following the date of such an order or adjudication.  If a clerk of court is unable to make a report to NICS, he or she must provide the administrative office of the courts with sufficient information so the office can make the report.  The law also details the results of noncompliance.5

In 2015, Tennessee also enacted a law establishing procedures for an individual prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law for mental health reasons to petition for relief from the federal prohibition.6 A person who is subject to federal law’s mental health-related firearm prohibition because the person has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution may petition the court that entered the commitment or adjudication order once three years have elapsed from the person’s date of release from commitment or the date of the adjudication order, whichever is later.7

The court must receive and consider evidence in an open proceeding concerning:

(1) The circumstances that led to the imposition of the federal firearms disability;

(2) The petitioner’s mental health records;

(3) The petitioner’s criminal history;

(4) The petitioner’s reputation; and

(5) Changes in the petitioner’s condition or circumstances relevant to the relief sought.8

The court shall grant the petition for relief if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that (1) the petitioner is no longer likely to act in a manner that is dangerous to public safety; and (2) granting the relief would not be contrary to the public interest.9 When the court issues an order granting a petition of relief, the court clerk must, as soon as practicable and within 30 days, forward a copy of the order to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).10 Upon receipt of the order, the TBI must then immediately forward a copy of the order to the Department of Safety; update the NICS database and transmit the corrected records to the FBI; and remove and destroy all records relating to the petition for relief from any database over which the TBI exercises control.11 If denied, the petitioner may also appeal a final order, or file one new petition for relief every two years.12

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Tennessee Background Checks and Tennessee Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 16-10-213(b), (c), 16-11-206(b), (c), 16-15-303(g)(2), 16-16-120(b). The documentation and reporting requirements of mental health adjudications and judicial commitments to mental institutions discussed in this section apply to any clerk of court that maintains such records. Tenn. Code Ann. § 33-3-115. ⤴︎
  3. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 16-10-213(c), 16-11-206(c), 16-15-303(g)(3), 16-16-120(c). ⤴︎
  4. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 16-10-213(d), 16-11-206(d), 16-15-303(g)(4), 16-16-120(d). ⤴︎
  5. 2013 TN S.B. 789. ⤴︎
  6. 2015 TN S.B. 886, enacting Tenn. Code Ann. § 16-10-205. ⤴︎
  7. Id. A copy of the petition for relief shall also be served on the district attorney general of the judicial district in which the original commitment or adjudication occurred. The district attorney general may appear, support, object to, or present evidence relevant to the relief sought by the petitioner. ⤴︎
  8. Id. ⤴︎
  9. Id. ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. Id. ⤴︎
  12. Id. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Texas

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

A law adopted in Texas in 2009 requires the Department of Public Safety (“Department”) to establish a rule for the submission of information to the FBI for use in NICS. The law requires the clerk of a court to prepare and submit information to the Department within 30 days whenever the court:

  • Orders a person to receive inpatient mental health services;
  • Acquits a person in a criminal case by reason of insanity or lack of mental responsibility;
  • Commits a person determined to have mental retardation for long-term placement in a residential care facility;
  • Appoints a guardian of the incapacitated adult individual, based on the determination that the person lacks the mental capacity to manage the person’s affairs;
  • Determines a person is incompetent to stand trial; or
  • Finds a person is entitled to relief from disabilities.2

The information that must be submitted is:

  • The complete name, race, and gender of the person;
  • Any known identifying number of the person, including social security number, driver’s license number, or state identification number;
  • The person’s date of birth; and
  • The information that causes the person to be prohibited from possessing firearms.3

If an order previously reported to the Department is reversed by an appellate court, it is the duty of the clerk of the court to notify the Department of the reversal.4

The law requires the clerk of the court to forward this information to the Department in an electronic format as prescribed by the Department, if practicable.5 The law requires the Department to establish a procedure, by a rule, for submission of this information to NICS.6

This information is “confidential,” and the Department may disseminate this information only to the extent necessary to allow the FBI to collect and maintain a list of persons prohibited from possessing firearms.7 However, the Department must grant access to this information to the person who is the subject of the information.8

The 2009 law also provides a process by which a person who has been discharged from court ordered mental health services may obtain relief from the federal firearms disability,9 and requires the Department to establish a rule for submission of this information to NICS.10

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Texas Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.0521(a). ⤴︎
  3. Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.0521(b). ⤴︎
  4. Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.0521(d). ⤴︎
  5. Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.0521(c). ⤴︎
  6. Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.052 (b). See 37 Tex. Admin. Code § 27.141 for the relevant rule. ⤴︎
  7. Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.052(b), (d). ⤴︎
  8. Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.052(c). ⤴︎
  9. Tex. Health & Safety Code § 574.088. ⤴︎
  10. Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.052(e). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in the District of Columbia

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

The District of Columbia has no law requiring the reporting of mental health information to NICS.

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the District of Columbia Background Checks section and the section entitled District of Columbia Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Utah

Federal law prohibits any person from selling or otherwise transferring a firearm or ammunition to any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

There is no law in Utah requiring the reporting of mental health information to NICS.

In Utah, every magistrate or court clerk responsible for court records must, within 30 days of a disposition, furnish the Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division within the Department of Public Safety with certain records, including information pertaining to any:

  • Judgment of not guilty by reason of insanity, or finding of mental incompetence to stand trial for a felony or a violation of Utah Code Ann. Title 76, Chapter 5 (Offenses Against the Person) or Chapter 10, Part 5 (Weapons);
  • Judgment of guilty but mentally ill; and
  • Order of civil commitment of the mentally ill.2

However, there is no law requiring the Department of Public Safety to then make these records available to NICS.

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers/possessors, see the Utah Background Checks and Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.

In 2013, Utah enacted procedures for a person who is subject to state or federal law firearm prohibitions based on a commitment, finding, or adjudication that occurred in Utah to petition the district court in the county in which the commitment, finding, or adjudication occurred to remove the firearm disability.3 The petition must include, among other things, a copy of the petitioner’s criminal history report and a verified report of a mental health evaluation conducted by a licensed psychiatrist occurring within 30 days prior to the filing of the petition.4 The report must include a statement regarding:

(i) the nature of the commitment, finding, or adjudication that resulted in the restriction on the petitioner’s ability to purchase or possess a dangerous weapon;

(ii) the petitioner’s previous and current mental health treatment;

(iii) the petitioner’s previous violent behavior, if any;

(iv) the petitioner’s current mental health medications and medication management;

(v) the length of time the petitioner has been stable;

(vi) external factors that may influence the petitioner’s stability;

(vii) the ability of the petitioner to maintain stability with or without medication; and

(viii) whether the petitioner is dangerous to public safety.5

The court must consider (a) the facts and circumstances that resulted in the commitment, finding, or adjudication and (b) the person’s mental health and criminal history records, and (c) the person’s reputation, including the testimony of character witnesses.6 The court must then grant the relief if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that:

(a) the person is not a danger to the person or to others;

(b) the person is not likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety; and

(c) the requested relief would not be contrary to the public interest.7

The court shall issue an order with its findings and send a copy to the Bureau of Criminal Identification, which must, upon receiving a court order removing a person’s firearm disability, send a copy of the court order to NICS requesting removal of the person’s name from the database.8 Though the petitioner may appeal a denied petition, he or she may not petition again for relief until at least two years after the date of the court’s final order.9

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Utah Code Ann. § 53-10-208.1; see also Utah Code Ann. § 62A-15-631 (regarding involuntary civil commitments). ⤴︎
  3. 2013 UT S.B. 80, enacting Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-532. ⤴︎
  4. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-532(2). ⤴︎
  5. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-532(2)(c). ⤴︎
  6. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-532(5). ⤴︎
  7. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-532(6). ⤴︎
  8. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-532(7), (8). ⤴︎
  9. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-532(9), (10). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Vermont

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Before 2015, Vermont had no laws requiring the reporting of mental health information to NICS, and Vermont still has no law requiring the reporting of mental health information to NICS regarding individuals adjudicated as mentally defective or incompetent.

However, in 2015, Vermont enacted a law requiring the Court Administrator to report to NICS the identities of individuals subject to a court ordered mental health commitment, hospitalization, or treatment within 48 hours after the court order.2 The report shall include only information sufficient to identify the person, the reason for the report, and a statement that the report is made in accordance with federal law, 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(4).3 Such reports are confidential and generally exempt from public inspection and may not be used for any purpose other than for submission to NICS.4 A copy of the report must also be provided to the person who is the subject of the report, with a written notice to the person who is the subject of the report that he or she is not thereafter permitted to possess a firearm.5

The law also requires the state Department of Mental Health to report to the Court Administrator, on or before October 1, 2015, the names of all persons under the custody of the Department who are currently subject to such court orders and requires the Court Administrator to report those names to the NICS database. 6.

The law also enacted a procedure for persons prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms due to mental illness to petition the Family Division of the Superior Court for relief from the federal firearm prohibition.7 The petition must be filed in the county where the offense or the adjudication occurred.8 When the petition is filed, the petitioner must provide notice and a copy of the petition to the State’s Attorney or the Attorney General, who shall be the respondent in the matter.9 The Court is required to grant the petition without a hearing if neither the State’s Attorney nor the Attorney General files an objection within six months after receiving notice of the petition, or if the respondent and petitioner stipulate to the granting of the petition.10

If the Court does not grant the petition without a hearing, as outlined above, the Court shall consider:

  •  the circumstances regarding the firearms disabilities imposed on the person by 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4);
  • the petitioner’s record, including his or her mental health and criminal history records; and
  • the petitioner’s reputation, as demonstrated by character witness statements, testimony, or other character evidence.11

The Court shall grant the petition if it finds that the petitioner has demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that her or she is no longer a person in need of treatment.12 A “person in need of treatment” means “a person who has a mental illness and, as a result of that mental illness, his or her capacity to exercise self-control, judgment, or discretion in the conduct of his or her affairs and social relations is so lessened that he or she poses a danger of harm to himself, to herself, or to others.”13

If the petition is granted, the Court is required to enter an order declaring that the basis under which the person was prohibited from possessing firearms by 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4) no longer applies. The Court shall then inform the FBI, NICS, and the U.S. Attorney General, of its decision.14 If the Court denies the petition, the petitioner may then appeal the denial to the Vermont Supreme Court for a de novo review on the record.15 The person may also re-file a petition at least one year after the order of the trial court, or of the Supreme Court if an appeal is taken, becomes final.16

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Vermont Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Vermont.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. See 2015 VT S.B. 141, enacting Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4824 and tit. 18, § 7617a. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. See 2015 VT S.B. 141, Sect. 8 ⤴︎
  7. See 2015 VT S.B. 141, enacting Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4825. ⤴︎
  8. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4825(a)(1). ⤴︎
  9. Id. At the time a petition is filed, the respondent must give notice of the petition to a victim of the offense, if any, who is known to the respondent. The victim shall have the right to offer the respondent a statement prior to any stipulation or to offer the Court a statement. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4825(g). ⤴︎
  10. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4825(a)(2)(A), (B). ⤴︎
  11. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4825(b). ⤴︎
  12. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4825(c). ⤴︎
  13. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 18, § 7101(17). ⤴︎
  14. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4825(d). ⤴︎
  15. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4825(e). ⤴︎
  16. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4825(f). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Virginia

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Pursuant to a 2008 Virginia law, clerks of court must certify and forward “forthwith” to the Central Criminal Records Exchange (“Exchange”) a copy of any order for treatment issued upon a finding that a defendant, including a juvenile, is incompetent. Such treatment includes both inpatient treatment in a hospital and outpatient treatment.2

The 2008 Virginia law also requires clerks of court to certify and forward to the Exchange a copy of any order from a commitment hearing for: 1) involuntary admission to a mental health facility, as soon as practicable but no later than the close of business on the next business day; or 2) mandatory outpatient treatment, prior to the close of that business day.3 Clerks of court must also forward to the Exchange, as soon as practicable but no later than the close of business on the next business day, certification of any person who has agreed to voluntary admission in a mental health facility after being the subject of a temporary detention.4 Copies of the orders sent to the Exchange must be kept confidential in a separate file and used only to determine firearms eligibility. The Department of State Police (“DSP”) may forward “only a person’s eligibility to possess, purchase, or transfer a firearm to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.”5 Clerks of court must certify and forward “forthwith” to the Exchange copies of any order adjudicating a person incapacitated as well as an order restoring a person’s capacity. The order and the accompanying forms must be kept confidential and in a separate file and may be used only to determine firearm eligibility.6

The chief law enforcement officer of a county or city must ensure that any acquittal by reason of insanity is reported to the Exchange immediately following the acquittal.7 In addition, court clerks and/or law enforcement (depending on the type of charge) are required to submit reports to the Exchange regarding certain criminal charges that remain pending due to mental incompetency or incapacity of the defendant. Court clerks must submit these reports electronically.8

Court clerks must certify and forward to the Exchange copies of any order granting a petition to restore the right to purchase, possess or transport a firearm to a person previously ineligible due to any of the conditions mentioned above.9 Such petitions must be granted if a court determines that the circumstances regarding the firearms prohibition and the person’s criminal history, treatment record, and reputation are such that the person will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety and that the granting of the relief would not be contrary to the public interest.10

In response to the Virginia Tech tragedy, Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine issued an Executive Order on April 30, 2007 directing all executive branch employees and law enforcement officials to consider court-ordered outpatient treatment as involuntary admission to a mental health facility, and to report it to the State Police and NICS.11 In 2008, this order was partially codified by several of the provisions described above.

In 2014, Virginia enacted a law requires judges and special justices to forward the information above to the clerk of the court “as soon as practicable, but no later than the close of business on the next business day.”12

Note that a 2002 Virginia Attorney General Opinion determined that the Department of State Police is authorized to provide mental health information to the FBI so long as the information is kept confidential and used only to determine a person’s eligibility to possess, purchase or transfer a firearm.13

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Virginia Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-169.2. ⤴︎
  3. Va. Code Ann. § 37.2-819. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. Va. Code Ann. § 64.2-1014. ⤴︎
  7. Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-390. ⤴︎
  8. Id. ⤴︎
  9. Va. Code Ann. §§ 18.2-308.1:1, 18.2-308.1:2, 18.2-308.1:3. ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. Va. Exec. Order No. 50 (April 30, 2007). ⤴︎
  12. Va. Code Ann. § 37.2-819. ⤴︎
  13. Va. Att’y Gen. Op. No. 01-062, 2002 Va. AG LEXIS 72 (April 4, 2002). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Washington

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Washington requires that, at the time any person convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity for a crime that results in the prohibition of possession of a firearm2, or is committed by a court order for mental health treatment, the convicting or committing court must:

  • Notify the person, orally and in writing, that he or she must immediately surrender any concealed pistol license and may not possess a firearm unless his or her right to do so is restored by a court of record;
  • Within three days after conviction or entry of commitment order, forward a copy of the person’s driver’s license or identification card and the date of conviction or commitment to the state Department of Licensing; and
  • If the person is committed by court order under Washington Rev. Code Ann. §§ 71.05.240 (involuntary or alternative treatment for 14 days), 71.05.320 (treatment for an adult for 90 or 180 days), 71.34.740 (involuntary commitment hearing for a minor), 71.34.750 (treatment a minor for 180 days) or Chapter 10.77 (treatment when found not guilty by reason of insanity or incompetent to stand trial), the committing court shall forward a copy of the person’s driver’s license, or comparable information, along with date of commitment, to the NICS database.3

The Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) must, upon request of a court or law enforcement agency, supply such relevant information as is necessary to determine the person’s eligibility to possess or purchase a handgun or be issued a concealed pistol license.4

Information and records regarding involuntary commitments of the mentally ill may only be disclosed for specified purposes, including to law enforcement officers as necessary for the purpose of carrying out the responsibilities of their office.5 Only the fact, place and date of involuntary commitment, an official copy of any order or orders of commitment, and an official copy of any written or oral notice of ineligibility to possess a firearm shall be disclosed upon request.6 Identical provisions govern disclosure of involuntary commitments of minors.7

An application to purchase a handgun constitutes a waiver of confidentiality and a written request that the DSHS, mental health institutions, and other health care facilities release information relevant to the applicant’s eligibility to purchase a handgun to an inquiring court or law enforcement agency.8 Similarly, a signed application for a concealed pistol license constitutes a waiver of confidentiality and a written request that the DSHS, mental health institutions, and other health care facilities release information relevant to the applicant’s eligibility for a concealed pistol license to an inquiring court or law enforcement agency.9

Mental health information received by the following entities may not be disclosed except in limited instances:10

  • An authority that previously issued a concealed pistol license and receives information from the Department of Licensing that the person is no longer eligible pursuant to Washington Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.047;
  • A chief of police or sheriff performing a background check prior to transfer of a handgun;
  • A court or law enforcement agency to determine the person’s eligibility to possess a handgun or be issued a concealed pistol license or to purchase a handgun under state law.11

Dispositions are reported to the identification section of the Washington State Patrol.12 Dispositions include findings of not guilty by reason of insanity, and dismissals by reason of incompetency.13

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Washington Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. See Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.040 and the Washington Prohibited Purchasers Generally section for these prohibited categories. ⤴︎
  3. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.047(1). ⤴︎
  4. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.097(1). For information on concealed pistol licenses, see Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.070 and the Washington Concealed Weapons Permitting section. ⤴︎
  5. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 70.02.260. ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎
  7. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 71.34.340(16). ⤴︎
  8. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.094. ⤴︎
  9. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.070(4). An application for an alien firearm license also acts as a waiver of confidentiality and written request of this kind, with respect to the person’s eligibility for an alien firearm license. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.173(4). ⤴︎
  10. See Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 42.56.240(4), which prohibits public disclosure except for concealed pistol license applications and related information only to law enforcement. ⤴︎
  11. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.097(2). ⤴︎
  12. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 10.97.045; see also Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 43.43.745(3). ⤴︎
  13. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 10.97.030(4). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in West Virginia

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Although West Virginia does not require the reporting of mental health information to NICS, such reporting is specifically authorized. The state maintains a registry of information pertaining to all persons who have been adjudicated to be mentally defective or who have been committed for treatment of a mental illness pursuant to West Virginia law.2 The Secretary of Department of Health and Human Resources and the circuit clerk of each county are required to provide updated information to the registry on an ongoing basis.3

Information in the registry “may be transmitted” to NICS, as well as to county sheriffs.4 The registry must provide only such information about a person as is necessary to identify registrants.5 The Superintendent, the Secretary, the circuit clerks and the Administrator may provide notice to the registry and NICS that a person:

  • Has been involuntarily committed pursuant to West Virginia law;
  • Has been adjudicated mentally incompetent in a proceeding under Article 6A of Chapter 61 of the West Virginia Code; or
  • Has regained the ability to possess a firearm by order of a circuit court in a proceeding under section 61-7A-5 of the West Virginia Code.6

In 2016, West Virginia passed a law that eliminated from the definition of “mental institution,” a facility used for treatment of persons committed for addiction. Because of this law, records of individuals who have been involuntarily committed for addiction will no longer be reported to the registry or NICS.

Documents filed with a circuit court, mental hygiene commissioner or designated magistrate for the involuntary hospitalization of an individual are generally not open to inspection and may not be published. Under a 2012 law, disclosure of these records may, however, be made by the clerk, circuit court, mental hygiene commissioner or designated magistrate to provide notice to NICS and the central state mental health registry, in accordance with the provisions described above.7

The circuit clerk must provide the Superintendent or his or her designee with a certified copy of any order entered pursuant to state law8 restoring a person’s eligibility to possess a firearm, and the petitioner’s name must be promptly removed from the central state mental health registry and the Superintendent must inform the FBI or other federal entity operating NICS of the court action.9

Communications and information obtained in the course of treatment or evaluation of any client or patient are confidential information that may not be disclosed.10 An exception allows notice to NICS in accordance with state law.11

Any person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm by West Virginia or federal law by virtue solely of having previously been adjudicated to be mentally defective or to having a prior involuntary commitment to a mental institution may petition the circuit court of the county of his or her residence to regain the ability to lawfully possess a firearm.12 The court may only consider petitions for relief due to mental health adjudications or commitments that occurred in this state and only give the relief specifically requested in the petition.13 The petitioner must provide a verified certificate of mental health examination by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, occurring within thirty days prior to filing of the petition, which supports that the petitioner is competent and not likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety.14 

In determining whether to grant the petition, the court must receive and consider, at a minimum:

  • Evidence concerning the circumstances regarding the firearms disabilities imposed by federal law;
  • The petitioner’s record, which must include the petitioner’s mental health and criminal history records; and
  • The petitioner’s reputation developed through character witness statements, testimony or other character evidence. ((W. Va. Code § 61-7A-5(b).))  

The court may enter an order allowing the petitioner to possess a firearm if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that (1) The person is competent and capable of exercising the responsibilities concomitant with the possession of a firearm; (2) The person will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety; and (3) Granting the relief will not be contrary to public interest.15

The circuit clerk of each county shall provide the Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police and the Administrator of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals with a certified copy of any order which removes a petitioner’s prohibition to possess firearms.16 If the order restores the petitioner’s ability to possess a firearm, his or her name shall be promptly removed from the central state mental health registry and the Superintendent or Administrator shall forthwith inform the federal entity operating NICS of the court action.17

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers/possessors, see the West Virginia Background Checks and West Virginia Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-3. ⤴︎
  3. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-3(c). ⤴︎
  4. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-3(b). ⤴︎
  5. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-3(e). ⤴︎
  6. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-4. ⤴︎
  7. W. Va. Code § 27-5-4(c)(3). ⤴︎
  8. See W. Va. Code § 61-7A-5. ⤴︎
  9. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-5(b). ⤴︎
  10. W. Va. Code § 27-3-1. ⤴︎
  11. W. Va. Code § 27-3-1(b)(4). See W. Va. Code § 61-7A-1 et seq. ⤴︎
  12. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-5. ⤴︎
  13. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-5(b). ⤴︎
  14. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-5(a)(3). ⤴︎
  15. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-5(c). ⤴︎
  16. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-5(h). ⤴︎
  17. Id. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Wisconsin

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice (“DOJ”) is required to promulgate rules to convey information in a timely manner to the NICS database regarding individuals ordered not to possess a firearm under:

  • Wis. Stat. § 51.20(13)(cv)(1) (mental health commitments where the individual is found to be a danger to self or public safety);
  • § 51.45(13)(i)(1) (treatment for and commitment of an individual incapacitated by alcohol or suffering from alcoholism);
  • § 54.10(3)(f)(1) (individuals who have a guardian appointed for them); or
  • § 55.12(10)(a) (order of protective services or protective placement).2

DOJ is also required to promulgate rules to convey information to the NICS database for cancellations of court orders for these mental health-related issues.3

Court clerks are required to notify DOJ when a court determines an individual is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms because of any of the circumstances listed above, or subsequently restores the person’s eligibility to possess firearms.4 The clerk and DOJ may only disclose the information necessary to permit an accurate firearms restrictions record search.5 A 2014 law clarifies that this information may also be used in determining whether to issue or deny a concealed carry permit and in certain law enforcement investigations.

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Wisconsin Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Wis. Stat. § 175.35(2g)(d)(1). Wisconsin law allows individuals in any of these categories to petition a court for an order restoring the person’s eligibility to possess firearms. ⤴︎
  3. Wis. Stat. § 175.35(2g)(d)(2). See Wis. Stat. §§ 51.20(13)(cv)(2), 51.45(13)(i)(2)(c), 54.10(3)(f)(2)(c) and 55.12(10)(b)(3). ⤴︎
  4. Wis. Stat. §§ 51.20(13)(cv)(4), 51.45(13)(i)(4), 54.10(3)(f)(4), 55.12(10)(d). ⤴︎
  5. Id. See also Wis. Stat. § 51.30(4)(b)(28). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Wyoming

Federal law prohibits any person from selling or otherwise transferring a firearm or ammunition to any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

There is no law in Wyoming requiring the reporting of mental health information to NICS.
For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers/possessors, see the Wyoming Background Checks section and the section entitled Wyoming Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎