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.