Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Massachusetts: No, we won't share mental health info with the FBI gun check system

Rick emails to point out the big middle finger that Massachusetts is giving to the national background check system:
WASHINGTON — Despite its reputation as a state with strong gun-control laws, Massachusetts for more than a decade has not provided mental health records to an FBI database for gun background checks, the result of a 43-year-old state law prohibiting such sharing.
Massachusetts has submitted just one mental health record to the federal database since 1999 — apparently as a test — at the same time that the FBI has processed 1.6 million background checks of Bay State residents who seek to buy guns from federally licensed dealers. The situation has sparked concerns that firearms could fall into the hands of the mentally ill.
Governor Deval Patrick has twice tried unsuccessfully to get legislative approval for the sharing of mental health data. Both attempts failed to gain traction in the state Legislature amid opposition from gun-rights activists.
That last bit is simply wrong - gun owners have absolutely no political stroke in Massachusetts.  But the point is a good one - the Legislature simply refuses to change the law prohibiting cooperation with the FBI.

Quite an interesting data point.  You'd almost think that this is all a complex problem that foils simplistic solutions.


JD Rush said...

Prohibiting cooperation with the FBI? Sounds like the Kennedy protection act.

Lissa said...

I didn't think MA had reasonable laws. Does this fall under "stopped clock, twice a day" rules?