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.