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. ⤴︎