Exclusive: 2 million mentally ill people missing from national gun check system

By Brad Jacobson
Thursday, February 10, 2011 9:13 EDT
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The issue of gun control leapt back into the national discourse in the wake of January’s Tucson massacre.

But one of the most shocking gaps in the effort to prevent people prohibited by law from purchasing firearms continues to fly beneath the radar. Records of at least two million dangerously mentally ill individuals whose names should already be in the nation’s criminal background check system remain missing.

Tens of thousands of people’s records that would fall into other legally disqualifying categories in the background check system are also missing, with convicted felons high on the list. Yet Raw Story confirmed with experts on gun control that records of those whose mental illness has been legally determined to be a danger to themselves or others far outnumber the unreported information of individuals in other prohibiting categories.

In a statement released to Raw Story, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) – one of the most vocal advocates of gun control in the nation who introduced the bill that was passed in 2007 to strengthen the reporting of such disqualifying information – said, “This illustrates just how severely government is failing Americans who expect to be safe from dangerous weapons in the wrong hands, and just how important it is that we face this problem comprehensively and openly as a nation.”

Through interviews with leading experts on gun control, an examination of existing gun laws and the inherent politics involved, Raw Story has found that the implementation of the law created to induce states to report such records to the federal government has faced a wall of bureaucracy.

This Kafkaesque maze includes insufficient funding, voluntary reporting, complexities in coordinating between agencies, and what some experts see as a deft bait and switch from the controversial gun lobbying group the National Rifle Association — which supported the bill’s passage — and its friends in Congress.

Virginia Tech Massacre and Effort to Tighten Brady Bill

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the nation’s largest, non-partisan gun control group, noted last month – the day before the Tucson massacre — that a report conducted by the National Center for State Courts and SEARCH, the National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics “estimated that more than 2 million disqualifying mental illness records” have yet to be entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.

The press release, however, focused most prominently on the accomplishment that one million mental health records have been entered into the system since the NICS Improvement Amendments Act was signed into law in 2008.

This amendment to the 1993 Brady Bill, which first established the national criminal background check system, sought to strengthen the original law by compelling states to submit records of prohibited persons to the federal government’s computerized tracking system, which in turn could be used by any licensed dealer prior to a prospective gun sale.

Under the grisly glare of the Virginia Tech massacre, which left 32 people dead, Congress shortly thereafter passed the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007. Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at the university and the shooter in the deadly rampage, had been able to purchase two handguns used for the attacks — even though he had previously been declared mentally incompetent by a judge.

Cho should have been prevented from buying the firearms, but he had passed two Brady background checks because the state of Virginia had failed to submit his prohibitive mental health record to the national background check system.

Experts also made clear to Raw Story that the alleged assailant in the Tucson shooting rampage, Jared Loughner, however mentally disturbed he might be, did not meet the required adjudication standard for mental illness that would prevent him from legally purchasing a firearm. This standard was set in the Gun Control Act of 1968 and remains the guideline today.

Red tape or red meat?

While gun control groups and politicians agree that the absence of at least two million mentally ill disqualifying records from the federal background check system is troubling, they differ on the factors that have led to this breakdown.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a national organization of over 500 mayors working to stop the flow of firearms into cities, addressed the issue of insufficient funding after the Tucson tragedy.

In a January press release, the group said, “Many states have made little or no progress reporting largely because Congress failed to follow through with funding. Federal appropriators have granted only 5.3% of the authorized amount from FY 2009 through FY 2011.” (It did also note that FY 2011 appropriations legislation has yet to be enacted.)

Raw Story recently contacted Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office — Bloomberg is the co-founder and co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns — and asked the group why it believes Congress has so underfunded this legislation.

Bloomberg spokesman Jason Post declined to provide a reason, responding via email, “Mayors Against Illegal Guns can’t answer this question – it is a question best posed to Congress.”

In an MSNBC interview with Rachel Maddow last week, however, Mayor Bloomberg, representing Mayors Against Illegal Guns, said that members of Congress are intentionally withholding the necessary funding while purporting to support this gun law.

“They pass a law showing they’re tough on the bad guys, and then they don’t give you the wherewithal to support it,” Bloomberg told Maddow. “Congress only appropriated five percent of the money needed, for example, to put all the data of who has mental problems, who is a drug dealer, who is a convicted felon in a database.”

“So they can say to both sides, ‘See, I passed the law that you wanted,’” he said. “And they say to the other side, ‘Wink, wink, I kept her from getting the money so she can’t do anything with it.’ That happens all the time.”

While the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence was a staunch proponent for the passage of the NICS Improvement Act, other gun control groups were much less sanguine about the legislation and opposed it at the time.

One such prominent group, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, did not support the bill because, as its executive director Josh Horwitz told Raw Story, “It was so obvious this wasn’t going to be funded.”

What especially troubled Horwitz and others leery of the bill was a particular concession made to the NRA.

“The NRA has always wanted what is called ‘relief from disability,’” Horwitz said.

Prior to the NICS Improvement Act, he explained, if individuals had been either involuntarily committed to mental institutions or adjudicated mental incompetents and their names were entered into the NICS system, they remained there permanently. But a provision was added to the bill that allowed such previously prohibited people, if a new psychiatric evaluation deemed them mentally competent, to get their names removed from the background check system.

“So the trade-off,” Horwitz noted, “was that funding for the states, and the states that accept money, also have to do this relief from disability,” which “made the deal sweeter for [the NRA].”

Yet there was no guarantee that, in return, the funding would actually materialize, which, as it turns out, is largely the case to date.

The NRA did not respond to a request for comment on this article.

But the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the congresswoman who sponsored the NICS Improvement Act, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), argue that the lack of funding and sluggish implementation of the legislation have more to do with bureaucracy than with an intent by the gun lobby to smother its funding.

In an interview with Raw Story, Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, called it a “complicated” law and said there are two general issues in states sending in disqualifying records to the federal background check system. Congress making the money available to them is one thing, but the ability of the states to take advantage it is another entirely.

Helmke said that it’s been an “education process” for the states in which they’ve had to figure out everything from which state or local agencies are in charge of mental health records, to how to facilitate the transfer of those records into a centralized location, to the need to alter privacy laws in order to gain their release.

He also noted that after the gun lobby challenged the original Brady Bill, the courts declared that while it was constitutional for the federal government to require federally licensed dealers to ask questions and perform a background check using the NICS system, it was unconstitutional for the federal government to require states to send in the records of individuals disqualified from purchasing firearms for which licensed dealers would be checking.

In other words, it was up to the states whether they wanted to voluntarily send in these records, which is still the case today.

After the tragedy at Virginia Tech, the NICS Improvement Amendments Act to the Brady Bill – since it couldn’t change the constitutional finding by the courts and require states to send this information – instead created a system of financial incentives and disincentives to compel the states to act.

Helmke explained, “They said, ‘If you do this, we’ll give you more criminal justice money. If you end up not doing it eventually, we’ll cut some of the criminal justice funds we give you.’”

He added, “That’s the same way the federal government gets states to lower the drunk driving threshold or set speed limits. They say, ‘We can’t force you to do it, but if you don’t do it we’re going to cut off your highway funds or something.’”

Helmke acknowledged that politics may be at play in underfunding the legislation at the federal level, but he believes much more so the politics driving fiscal conservatism since the economic crash rather than any concerted effort to make a stand against this gun issue.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s spokesman Shams Tarek agrees.

“Rather than seeing [Congressional] members explicitly fighting funding, you instead see members and others fighting harder for other budget items, which end up overshadowing NICS,” he wrote in an email.

Both Helmke and McCarthy’s office said that they have seen no evidence of the NRA outwardly opposing the funding.

“In fact,” Tarek added, “the NRA has been consistent in calling for full NICS funding.”

Brady Center communications director Caroline Brewer underscored the point.

“You know, this law is part of the Brady Bill and it’s very, very important to us,” she told Raw Story. “So if we had any indication, we would not be shy about letting everybody know that the NRA was standing in the way of this bill being fully funded and effective.”

Other experts, though, such as Mayor Bloomberg, had a hard time believing that the NRA’s support of this Act was not merely an act.

Brad Jacobson is a contributing investigative reporter for Raw Story. You can follow his Twitter feed at twitter.com/bradpjacobson.

Photos: Ken Stewart, Wikimedia Commons; Virginia Tech shooter Seung Hui Cho, alleged Tucson shooter Jared Loughner, Columbine High School shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.

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  • Guest

    I’m assuming the 2 Million mentally ill are all right-wing rethugs. Just using logic.

  • Anonymous

    They will be easy to find: just get a warrant and go thru Sam Clubs membership files and the NRA.

  • Anonymous


  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/5OQFBZ26C3VQ5ONGZGDBDY4BUU Mark A

    If a person is diagnosed as mentally ill and is getting treatment for it, it is highly unlikely they will go out and shoot someone, even if you handed a gun to all two million of them not on the list. For the psycho who wants to shoot someone, we have enough guns in this country that he will have no problem getting a gun whether he is on the list or not. The list is better served for keeping drug dealers from buying guns, but again, they will have no trouble obtaining a gun even if they are on the list.

    The answer is simple. Make guns illegal and make drugs legal.

  • Anonymous

    Guns are used to stir your coffee with. They are also used as flower pots but not a very good one. Given that fact don’t see how guns kill – Right winger.

  • Anonymous

    And two of them ended up in a shoot out on one of our busiest streets yesterday because of a stupid fender bender. Left a 21 year old man dead from a bullet to the head. STUPID.

  • Anonymous

    What is the definition of mentally ill? Are patriots who know 9/11 was an inside job considered delusional? Are anti-war protesters considered mental cases?

  • Anonymous

    Soon, most of us will be on that list.

  • Taleisin

    Waiting until a mentally ill person is in front of a judge, to decide whether this person can safely own a gun or not, is sometimes a bit late.
    Perhaps there needs to be cooperation with medical staff in dealing with this.

    And closing the gun show loophole might be a good idea.

  • DesertWren

    And a state legislature that thinks a gun massacre in their state is no reason to even delay legislation to allow guns on college campuses is sane? The gun nuts are so insane that they are using mass murders by gun as a reason to lessen gun regulation. At this point they might as well call for the elimination of the NTSB. After all, trying to make cars and planes safer is just stupid, we should all just accept people will die in car and plane crashes. It’s the same argument used by the gun nuts when it comes to gun crime. Why restrict gun sales? We should just accept that people will kill others with guns.

    This is all pointless anyway. Effectively there is no gun laws in the U.S. Anybody, even someone just out of prison for murder, can legally by a gun from a gun show.

  • Anonymous

    It is impossible to track and police guns for 300,000,000 citizens. Eventually, not only manufacture and sale, but ownership of guns is going to have to be outlawed. That may seem insane to today’s populace, but long, long from now, when it finally happens, people are going to scratch their heads and wonder why people of our era were so dumb.

    As a gun is a tool for killing people, it is absolutely crazy to allow a person to manufacture a gun, sell it to virtually any person who’ll buy it, and then have no accountability if that other person uses it to murder someone.

  • Walt

    Lets understand, first and foremost, the NRA is, as pointed out in the article, a gun lobbyist for the very profitable gun manufacturers. The NRA is a cover organization that uses “FEAR” (a key ingredient to submission) by subverting and making a mockery of the true intention of the 2nd Amendment. Do you really think our gun manufacturers gives a rats ass where or how, or who the guns are sold to? It is about profit. Every time a Democrat is elected to the presidency or there is a gun shooting tragedy that effects the nation the NRA starts lying to their members they are going to have their guns or bullets taken away. And the scared gun owner rushes out and throws their money away buying up more guns and ammo. It is an ongoing pattern that continually works. Simply put, greed trumps rationality, morality, and common sense. So ultimately, members or the NRA are actually throwing their money at a criminal organization (where the president of the NRA is paid like a corporate CEO) that poses as a non-profit organization standing for something other than the truth. Just pull back the covers and see whats below the surface is all that it takes… oh, and not succumbing to irrational fear.

    Now before any gun owners start fuming in irrational anger understand that no where in my comment did I ever suggest taking your right to own a gun away from you. I just want you to think and not just react. That’s all.

  • trank

    that’s a lot of GOP votes

  • trank

    that’s a lot of GOP votes

  • https://me.yahoo.com/a/K_CaOvViioLZynx.lwriWv6C_QxA3bg-#ffb59 WillyTee

    according to big pharma we are all mentally ill, from your 5 year old who doesn’t like to sit at his/her school desk for 8 hrs to your average adult who has been stuck doing the same job for x number of years at the same pay.

  • Anonymous

    Which is probably why most “mentally ill” adults want to walk into a crowd and open fire…

  • Anonymous

    Don’t forget that lots of mentally sick people use illegal drugs to self medicate.
    You can buy a gun, turn around and sell it to some organized thug, and get your dope money.

  • Anonymous

    If you counted the people in the tory communities like Billy Milligan, with 24 personalities in their brain, that could grow to 10 to 40 million.

  • Anonymous

    ………..if everyone was armed none of this would matter…………..

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UM75UT6SBQFK2O6OFTHZMZIGTM Corey Sittig

    Right because if someone randomly snaps and starts shooting people, shooting him will prevent any shooting deaths…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UM75UT6SBQFK2O6OFTHZMZIGTM Corey Sittig


    Lazy ass parents would rather drug up their children then to take the time our of their day to actually engage and foster creativity.

  • Anonymous

    Check the GOP voter registry.

  • Anonymous

    You’ve got it! And, how about the blind people who own guns. YES, we have people in the uS who are legally blind, and they own guns.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, Lets just make a new rule to all the crazy shooters, no shooting until I can get my gun out.

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ Stumptownhero

    Is there something you want to share Howie? Let’s talk it out BEFORE you go Postal!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_W7ZROMS7GRVQ4JSWNWLP5R5CAA Ross
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_W7ZROMS7GRVQ4JSWNWLP5R5CAA Ross
  • http://www.rawstory.com/ Stumptownhero

    Having a bad day Disquss?

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ Stumptownhero

    Talei old friend I think the POINT of the story is that even if we could close the Gun Show loop hole it wouldn’t matter!

  • shinyorbs

    how could they miss all those teabaggers?

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ Stumptownhero

    Okay RAW readers here is your home work assignment for the day. Call your STATE Rep and Senator and tell them you think it would be a good idea to find the funding to get the whackos in the registry so that one of them who SHOULD be on “the list” doesn’t buy a gun and attend one of their town halls!

    If legislative self interest can’t get this funded then nothing can!

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ Stumptownhero

    I think the Mayors are missing an opportunity to show the Baggers that Government employees are up to the task of performing public service. I know that there is enough lost productivity in public work to squeeze in the registration work.

    After all how much public employee time is consumed AFTER a shooting? The Mayors need to get in front of the curve and allocate resources to PROTECT the public. If that means using POLICE resources to do data entry I think they might not mind either since they might not have to kill so many people like they do in Portland Oregon or have to attend funerals of their fellow officers!

    It all boils down to priorities!

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ Stumptownhero

    Your moniker is so appropriate!

  • Anonymous

    Maybe carrying a gun around like some kind of cowboy thinking you’re going to be some kind of hero, is in itself — insane… Most guns “accidentally” kill people that are acquaintances, close friends or significant others… Oh, I forgot, guns don’t kill people, the NRA does, or how does that go…?

  • Anonymous

    Just think if we arm all republicans they could really thin out their membership!

  • Anonymous

    You do realize I was being facetious?

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been a pretty pro gun liberal, to each their own, and 99.9% of even assault weapon owners are responsible, but this gap allowing mentally ill to get a gun cannot continue.

    Background checks should include mental health records, period. Sorry, if you want a gun you should have to surrender your medical records. It’s the LEAST the ATF could do for public safety.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UM75UT6SBQFK2O6OFTHZMZIGTM Corey Sittig

    Old people with comprised visual abilities still drive cars. Do you advocate for stricter driver license laws? Cars kill people too, and more people than guns do every year!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UM75UT6SBQFK2O6OFTHZMZIGTM Corey Sittig

    Lol you buy the bullshit that calling or contacting a representative will do anything positive? I’m sorry, you’ve probably wasted a lot of time in your life (unless you’re a millionaire business owner).

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J4R2P2BMMM5JTCYWGEU4YW6UWQ Dago T

    Is it 1984?

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ Stumptownhero

    My apologies. That sentiment has been posted here recently and I couldn’t tell from the context of your post

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ Stumptownhero

    Kathy are you or should you be on the list?

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ Stumptownhero

    STATE reps are very responsive. If yours are not I’m sorry but I have always been able to communicate with my LOCAL elected officials and if the subject had merit and there was sufficient public support things moved forward.

    Try it you might be surprised, especially if they are getting 100 other calls just like yours!

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ Stumptownhero

    Most try 90%. According to the FBI 9 out of 10 hand guns purchased for “protection” will kill or injury a loved one rather than scare off or shoot an attacker or other criminal.

    Now those who favor culling the herd, particularly of Wingnuts and baggers we should not be too concerned. For those who really do value human life we should be doing what we can to EDUCATE the masses who have been SOLD this steaming pile of bovine excrement by the gun manufacturers

  • Anonymous

    I am not scared of two million nuts missing,but I am scared of 298 million who are doing fuck all.

  • Anonymous

    I am pro-gun and this gap needs to be closed immediately. It won’t stop someone who shouldn’t have a gun from getting one but it will at least slow them down.

  • Guest

    I would posit that we give some parents the benefit of the doubt. Why? Because many young parents are barely making it in this economy which creates high stress.

    We have become a nation of “Depression” as well as mentally ill, which I translate as a higher degree of depression being acted out. If the economy were better for us “down here”, struggling wasn’t an everyday norm, and TIME for the kids was ample and parents STILL didn’t do the best for their children, THEN I would call them “lazy asses”.

    Here again we can look at the argument for a moratorium on births or the number of births per couple. These aren’t the “farm years” anymore. In my opinion overpopulation is the number ONE cause of all problems because of more and more competition. If humans were treated like wildlife, there would be a hunting season to lower the population.

  • Anonymous

    Isn’t that roughly the number of wingnuts who watch Bill O’Lielly everyday? Interesting.

  • mjcc1987

    “…2 million mentally ill people missing from national gun check system…”

    Check the Teabagger membership lists. You’ll find’em

  • Anonymous

    “Ready of the left. Ready on the right. Ready on the firing line. Shooters, you may commence fire when your own dog target appears.”

  • valles

    Sounds like the Tea Party.

  • Anonymous

    They’re not missing. Just check the lists of satisfied customers for the most efficient assault weapons.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WE3JWKWUY2R62UY5JMETECQBHE Dimitri Sokolov

    Do you remember this document called the Constitution? I don’t see where it prohibits mentally ill people from owning a gun. Show me the text. The government can declare you mentally ill with the stroke of a pen. People that are truly mentally ill will get a gun or kill you in another way anyway.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Q7G2NHLD62L3CDU7VHFZ4QPVQM Unknown

    Just use the RNC mailing list as a substitute.

  • Anonymous

    “Most try 90%. According to the FBI 9 out of 10 hand guns purchased for “protection” will kill or injury a loved one rather than scare off or shoot an attacker or other criminal.”

    Please provide reference to the statistic to which you refer.

  • Anonymous

    ” Eventually, not only manufacture and sale, but ownership of guns is going to have to be outlawed.”

    I believe that you have confused an Unconstitutional and unreasonable proposal with a rational suggestion. The two concepts, however, are not logically equivalent.

  • http://twitter.com/aipfan aipfan

    The government does such a good job maintaining this database. I think they should be given more power to stop guns.

  • Anonymous

    What is an “assault weapon”, and why would purchasers of such items be relevant to the current discussion?

  • Anonymous

    “In fact,” Tarek added, “the NRA has been consistent in calling for full NICS funding.”

    Yes, this is fact, no matter what Bloomberg says. Responsible gun owners support this law 100%.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/KHUGSYMRDZ635QMFO5P6UA5MTM nunya

    Who are they kidding here? If they disqualified ALL of the mentally ill, the NRA would have about 5 members left.

  • http://twitter.com/btmfdrsheaven rebecca meritt

    How much does it cost to maintain this data base,let the gun owners pay for that. Making the list correct on mental illness tally only puts a bandaid on a corpse. The mentally ill can borrow daddy’s gun if they can’t buy one. Why should those who don’t own guns pay the taxes to maintain a police force,a court system, and all the added expense of gun crimes? Separate the system and let those who want that gun owner system pay for it.

  • Anonymous

    Do you remember this document called the Constitution? I don’t see where it prohibits mentally ill people from blowing up the world trade towers. Show me the text.

  • Anonymous

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in 1997, 2,514 children aged 0-14 were non-fatally injured by guns. In the same year, 30,225 young people aged 15-24 sustained nonfatal firearm injuries. These statistics include suicide attempts and both intentional and accidental shootings

    In 1999, 3,385 children and youth ages 0-19 years were killed with a gun. This includes homicides, suicides, and unintentional injuries.
    This is equivalent to about 9 deaths per day

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/42THFKXIPMJHQBIH6OPI4RVIDY Thebes

    The story is a LIE.
    There are not 2 million Americans who have been adjudicated mentally defective by a court.
    Rights can not be stripped from we the people without court proceedings. Its called due process and like the RIGHT to keep and bear arms it is also a part of the US Constitution.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/42THFKXIPMJHQBIH6OPI4RVIDY Thebes

    An assault weapon is any gun the gun grabbers think is scary. It is not an industry or military term and the gun grabber definition is largely arbitrary (eg, guards that keep you from burning your arm on the barrel make it an assault weapon).

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/42THFKXIPMJHQBIH6OPI4RVIDY Thebes

    The VAST majority of defensive firearms usage involves NO shots fired. The mere presense of the gun is enough to deter the violent criminal from continuing their attack.

    I AM ALIVE TODAY only because I had a 22 rifle next to my bed when an attacker tried to MURDER me with a sledge hammer. I did not shoot them.

    Figures don’t lie, but liars figure. Gun grabbers want the people of this nation disarmed and LIE to support their tyrannical agenda.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/42THFKXIPMJHQBIH6OPI4RVIDY Thebes

    And then 30 years later they will march to “the camps”, which only ever happens after a nation bans guns.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/42THFKXIPMJHQBIH6OPI4RVIDY Thebes

    You support people being stripped of their RIGHTS without even a judge’s order?

  • Phil E. Drifter

    Because you’re a retard, rebecca.

  • Phil E. Drifter

    Read the 2nd amendment, that’s why.

  • Phil E. Drifter

    “Durpa durrrrr i’m gonna take a cheap shot at the NRA…

    and 4 morons are going to artificially inflate my already overblown ego.”

  • ThatBostonMan

    Since everyone is mentally ill, whats the mental illnesses that would prevent 2 million people from passing a national gun check?

    If its a dangerous mental illness like a danger to self and others then I would agree with this but if it’s something like ADHD then I vehemently disagree.
    “We were horrified to find that Mr. LaPierre could actually justify his use of the phrase “mentally defective”: it is the language used in existing law. For example, in the Federal Firearms Transaction Record for over-the-counter purchases of guns, one of the questions is: “Have you ever been adjudicated mentally defective (which includes having been adjudicated incompetent to manage your own affairs) or have you ever been committed to a mental institution?” A “yes” answer to this question prohibits the person from purchasing or receiving a firearm.”


  • Phil E. Drifter

    Accidental overdose of prescription drugs kill more people than guns.

    Vehicular homicides kill more people than guns.

    Perhaps you would like to imprison doctors who write prescriptions for people who end up overdosing on their medications.

    Perhaps you’d like to revoke everyone’s license, lest they get into a car accident that regrettably kills someone.

  • Phil E. Drifter

    No you weren’t, whether or not you know it.

    An armed society is a polite society.

    Do you think Cho would have gotten half the 30+ kills he get at VT if there were others who were armed on campus?

  • ThatBostonMan

    what you never hear of is the level or type of metal illness. Mental illness is not a black box. Practically anybody who goes to see a psychiatrist will be diagnosed with something whether it’s depression, borderline personality disorder, bipolar, or the all too common schizophrenia.

    None of these have anything to do with a persons propensity for violence toward self or others. Now if a person has been institutionalized and has attempted suicide or something, this kind of person should never ever have access to a gun or any weapon.

    But if it were just these people I highly doubt it would be 2 million.

    Also what about psychopaths, sociopaths? Should they have access to guns? Isn’t that mental illness? The mental illness topic is a pandora’s box that we can thank the Democrats for opening.

  • ThatBostonMan

    What are you going to do when people start designing their own weapons which might just be more deadly than the guns sold in the store? You might want to start by outlawing lethal weapons, DUH.

  • ThatBostonMan

    It depends on what is classified as “mentally ill”, that phrase is too vague to have any meaning. If the sociopathic psychopathic sadistic individuals have access to guns, well they aren’t considered mentally ill. They just like to hunt deer with uzi.

  • ThatBostonMan

    Exactly. Only conspiracy theorists should be barred from having guns, and since practically every American who doesn’t know the truth or who doesn’t work for the government is a conspiracy theorist, that could be expanded to include all who post or who have posted at Rawstory.

  • ThatBostonMan

    There is a difference between mild depression, and sociopathy. But both are mental illnesses.

    So how do we decide which mentally ill cannot have a gun?

  • ThatBostonMan

    ” Yet Raw Story confirmed with experts on gun control that records of those whose mental illness has been legally determined to be a danger to themselves or others far outnumber the unreported information of individuals in other prohibiting categories.”

    And nobody could possibly disagree with this statement. Anyone who is legally determined to be a danger to themselves or others should not be able to have a gun period. I am just surprised that 2 million people fit into that category.

    And also the process for how the government determines this should be transparent when we have these debates. This way it doesn’t reach a point where reading and posting on Rawstory is enough evidence for the government to determine you can’t have a gun.

  • Anonymous

    That number is way too low. There are an estimated 20 million ditto heads that should be included.

  • Anonymous

    Neither the term gun nor firearm nor arms is even in the Constitution, it’s in the Bill of Rights as the 2nd Amendment, so amend it to keep guns out of the hands of nuts.

    It doesn’t say in the Constitution that a convicted felon can’t possess a firearm but I promise you it’s the fucking law and on Form 4470. Add the mentally ill to the list and add medical records to the background check. Done.

    Sorry, I don’t give a flying fuck if the mentally ill can’t get a weapon.

  • http://twitter.com/btmfdrsheaven rebecca meritt

    Put me on the list! My taxes already pay for the Army, the Navy, the Marines,the Air Force,the National Guard,and a gun for everyone of them, if that ain’t enough to cover the 2nd amendment too f’g bad.

  • Anonymous

    Hey we have lots of crazy people who make comments in this site who belong on that database.
    What’s the big deal?

  • Anonymous

    Hey we have lots of loonies who make comments here who belong on the No Gun Sale database.
    And they are in here shooting off their mouths all the time.

    I couldn’t resist that. Sorry

  • http://twitter.com/btmfdrsheaven rebecca meritt

    If you think your gun rights are going to stop the US military, the FBI, DHS,the police force,and any other sworn government official that comes after you when they want you,you’re the one who needs to be put on that list. Check the wind sock so you don’t get any blowback.

  • Guest

    “Other experts, though, such as Mayor Bloomberg…”

    Some expert, he couldn’t buy an election outside of New York City. Gun Control wins elections for Republicans because the majority of voters don’t want it. One can play with BS statistics but is is a death wish issue for Democrats. Gore lost his home state in 2000; if he had won it he wouldn’t have needed Florida. Kerry also fell victim.

    Calls from the left for “gun control” are seen by the electorate for what they really are: attempts to eventually disarm the public though gun confiscation.

    Obama is expected to make a speech on the subject soon. If it is interpreted as a sly attempt to move towards disarmament and confiscation it will drive many Democrats and many more independents away.

  • Anonymous

    The middle ground common sense solution, to this NRA member, is to fully fund the maintenance of the NICS databases and to enact TOUGH penalties for agencies’ failure to do so. If the rights of responsible citizens are to be retained, we MUST get guns out of the hands of those who have justifiably lost the right to own them.

  • Anonymous

    The statistics that you have referenced do not constitute an answer to my request.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AAVUCVI4BGQKTYK574JKUJO2G4 Sean

    ahh,…….don’t you just love it in the land of the free? unleashing the the lions on the lambs. the number one gift of america to the world. dont ya just love it.

  • Anonymous

    I think the news here should be not that there are 2 million nuts missing from the gun registry but, rather, that the US is a giant lunatic asylum. Today is turning out to be the day from the Twilight Zone at Raw Story.

  • Knot

    There is a logical disconnect about gun regulation that I have never quite understood, maybe someone can help me understand it.

    One of the arguments against gun regulation is the old cliche ‘If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns’ and I wonder if most people that believe that is a truism, also believe there is no point in regulating gun ownership for mentally ill people.

    Does the phrase ‘If you outlaw psychos from having guns, only outlaw psychos will have guns’ not hold just as true as the first statement? If someone thinks it does, do they believe in scrapping regulations against mentally ill (and even criminals) having guns, because if they want them, they’ll get them even if they have to break the law to do it.

  • Anonymous

    The Tea Party has 2 million members???

  • Anonymous

    They could make it illegal for me not to own a gun and I still wouldn’t have one.

    All you gun craving affectionados, if a bullet leaves your gun and it kills a human –or even injures a human–you better be damn sure you empty the clip, leave no witnesses and be able to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that you were in imminent fear for your life. Or your life could change drastically in 24 hours.

    Lawyers will come out of the woodwork to represent the victim both criminally and financially and they will will gladly do it on a contingency fee.

    There are thousands and thousands of people in jails who thought different.

  • Jaimie11

    “in the same year, 30,225 young people aged 15-24 sustained nonfatal firearm injuries”

    Please provide link to this statistic. I cannot find a figure anywhere near this 30,225.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/RepublicConstitution?feature=mhum TruthRegimes

    The definition of “mentally ill” is very broad. It includes people with only very minor mental situations. Foucault wrote lots about how mentally ill persons are heavily discriminated against by Western societies. The vitriol from the left directed at mentally ill persons is quite sad to see.

  • Anonymous

    They’re all teagaggers, right?

  • Guest

    Yeah, well, congress was 5 for 5 in missing mentally ill judges that can’t understand the 2nd ammendment when they read it, which didn’t stop congress from seating them on the Supreme Court, did it, after all, what’s a few guns in the hands of nut cases, it’s not like they’re going to go shooting up colleges, high schools, restaurants, and public events.

  • Anonymous

    I believe I know what I meant when I wrote that. You see in my world people are polite because they have respect for life in general. When people agree to be civil they don’t need to carry guns.

  • Anonymous

    Prescription drugs = pharmaceutical profits, many natural cures are more efficient and cheaper… Cars are killing the planet… Maybe we need to rethink the overall priorities in general.

    And I don’t necessarily advocate revoking, imprisoning or confiscating anything, I was merely making some general observations about a system that seems to be in dire straits.

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ Stumptownhero

    Let me state that correctly. Since there are no statistics for “brandishing” what the FBI tracts on fire arm use by type shows that when USED a hand gun is more likely to kill or injure a loved one than to deter an attack or crime.

    You can Google the FBI stats.
    I’ll trade you for reliable brandishing stats!

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ Stumptownhero

    I can show you the FBI & Centers for Disease Control stats of murders by family members, suicdes and accidental shootings and the number will exceed 50K annually. You can not DOCUMENT more than 100 annul instances of hand guns deterring a crime!

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ Stumptownhero

    No Cho would not have got off 30 shots but 30 MORE would have been fire by untrained civilians and countless other innocent by standers would have been hit stray bullets.

    Law enforcement officers will tell you the last thing they want in that type of situation are a lot of people packing heat. They will tell you even with REGUALR training and practice they do not hit the target in those types of situation more than 50% of the time and often are PREVENTED from firing because of the presence of civilians.

    Those types of situations are not like the movies and the adrenalin coursing through your veins makes rational thought nearly impossible.

  • Anonymous

    Our country is full of blind people with loaded guns…….terrestrial radio.

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    The vitriol from the right directed at mentally ill persons is quite sad to see. I agree.

  • Taleisin

    Good question. Maybe it is worth debating. As a non-American, I don’t see owning a gun as a right but as a privilege like a car license. I understand the right to free speech and opinion, dignity and respect for rich and poor, smart and stupid. But owning a gun? How many Americans are on medication?

    Your judge’s are looking pretty shabby at the moment and your court system is a mess.
    Laws help create culture and should not be just as immediate fixes. If you pass a law it may take years to have the desired effect, not just tomorrow or next year.

  • Taleisin

    It least it would stop a continuation of the problem.
    Can I assume some politician is going to stand up and say,’We will fix the problem’?

  • Taleisin

    Great Idea! Now only Teabaggers can have guns. Saddle up boys! ;)

  • Taleisin

    Don’t be silly. The bible keeps them sane.

  • Hassan i Sabbah

    And that’s not counting the gun nuts in the NRA.

  • Hassan i Sabbah

    “‘If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns’ ”

    There is strong contrary evidence to this statement. There are whole countries where it is extremely difficult to obtain a gun, and their murder rates tend to be extremely low. So, the major premise is wrong. Anything that flows from that major premise is therefore wrong.

  • http://twitter.com/Rteefact Rteefact

    The right would prefer no checks & balances when it comes to the 2nd amendment…..even in the old days guns were kept away from those who were less that able to comprehend. some say guns don’t kill but people do, but guns in the wrong hands do. At one time in this country the mentally ill were incarcerated in hospitals or institutions because people were scared of them. Today they are given medication and mainstreamed, which means they can get a gun. I don’t advocate the 18th & 19th century practices in dealing with the mentally ill. I surely don’t advocate the 18th & 19th century mentality in just handing out weapons either. The mental illness of times gone past still exists and some people are still a danger to themselves and others. Why make it easy for them, sure they can get a knife too.

  • Anonymous

    Wow! There is a whole lot of very discriminatory language going around on here. Mental illness is exactly that – an illness. Would you call someone with cancer a term as derogatory as ‘wingnut’, or ‘looney’ or any of the other disgraceful terms that have been used in the replies to refer to someone with an illness? I doubt it. Then why do you think it’s okay to do it with someone who is mentally ill? They didn’t ask to be ill, they didn’t determine the kind of illness they have. The fact that their symptoms are often (not always) behavioral is also not their fault. These are horrific illnesses to suffer. Where is your compassion? Some of you said you have respect for all life. I guess that means respect for all except those that suffer from a mental illness.
    It is a researched fact that the mentally ill are much more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than the perpetrator of one. It’s just that they get more publicity. You’re more likely to get shot by your neighbor than by someone with a mental illness. Granted those who have shown a tendency toward violence should be prohibited from owning a gun. That applies to everyone.
    Also, someone mentioned that there are violent crimes in Great Britain. Yes, there are. But far fewer than in the United States. The same is true for Canada. Actually, Canada has more guns per capita than the United States, but the murder rate in Canada is MUCH lower. You see, we have gun control. The idea of having everyone armed in order to prevent violent crime is not logical. More guns means more murder. The statistics prove it.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. By that standard, if medicine cured illness there would be no illness, and if traffic laws helped prevent traffic accidents, there would be no traffic accidents. Let’s get rid of medicine and traffic laws, too. They obviously don’t work.

    It’s perfectly fine to have an “opinion” about gun control, but just making bullshit up serves your cause poorly.

    A study published April 17, 1998, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the International Journal of Epidemiology placed the U.S. first at 14.24 gun deaths per 100,000 people. Two other countries in the Americas came next. Brazil was second with 12.95, followed by Mexico with 12.69.

    Japan had the lowest rate, at 0.05 gun deaths per 100,000 (1 per 2 million people). The police in Japan actively raid homes of those suspected of having weapons.

    The United States accounted for 45 percent of the 88,649 gun deaths reported in the study, the first comprehensive international scrutiny of gun-related deaths.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PCHLMPBJKYTW3LJBHZEZMO3TXQ What Ever

    They are not missing they are alive and well and working as our police forces,

  • http://twitter.com/Covert4Liberty Brimstone Hill

    You read my and 1 million other’s mind

  • Guest

    You’re all banned from owning guns. You have oppositional defiant disorder. KTHXBAI.

    Restore some credibility to psychiatry and we’ll talk about gun bans. Then. Not. Now.

    Armchair polticians like yourselves are a disease, right and left.

  • Guest

    Your credit card is a privilege. Says so on the back. Unconditional revocation at the whim of the credit card company.

    Your license is a right. Revocation is conditional and must be backed up by violations of some sort.

    You see it as a privilege because you were brought up that adults submit to all sorts of “moderation” and “compromise” as a rite of passage into the “responsibility” club.

    Don’t confuse your philosophy of personal behavior with the machine or the system (govt, church, law, business, banks, pick yer poison) will take advantage of you and throw you to the curb like a used rag.

  • Guest

    You sound depressed. Might hurt someone.

    I think you should see a specialist.

  • Taleisin

    I have never used a credit card for definitions during a debate on ethics, but you do raise a very valid point.
    And yes, they fucked me over. I am glad you have the smarts to see clearer.

    Do you see gun ownership as a right, and what sort of right?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7WNYUAC2WQKUVECQYJGON7PGBQ slimekiller

    No, get a warrant and go through the government offices in Homeland Security, intel services, pentagon and the domestic assassination squad offices with the CIA and Mossad, law enforcement and the military, then check out all private contractors that work for goldman sachs and all the crooked mafia drug dealing bankers and wall street firms. lol . They probably hired them all. lol WHO ELSE, NON THINKERS, COULD REMOVE THEM FROM THE GOV LISTS???? LOL

    No wonder we are going down. The school system has failed us. I can’t believe the author of this article did not even pick up on that. WHO HAD THE ABILITY TO REMOVE THEM FROM THE LIST? This publication is beginning to sound like “controlled oppostion” press. Are you????

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7WNYUAC2WQKUVECQYJGON7PGBQ slimekiller

    Tell that to the 60 million Christians slaughtered after STalin took their guns away after the revolution, or maybe talk to the millions killed after Hitler did gun control prior to his slaughtering of the unfit to live category. Gays, gypsies, Poles, Catholics, Dissidents, You know, like us, I was for gun control at one time but after 9-11, and the same people who did 9-11 are controlling the people in our government, there is no way we are giving up our guns….. FORGET IT….. no way. If you have to die, because that is what will happen, then its better to go down fighting for your rights as outlined in the governing documents of this country.

    For the first time I finally understand, AFTER THE BEATING RAY MCGOVERN GOT, that the second amendment was to protect that first amendment and by golly, I am a fast and hard learner…. I got it… big time.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7WNYUAC2WQKUVECQYJGON7PGBQ slimekiller

    ALRIGHT, A “THINKER”…. yahooooo. You know that is exactly why they are doing this. GO CHECK OUT THE LANGUAGE IN THE TARP BILL THAT NO ONE TALKS ABOUT. It defines Mentally ill in the TARP bill, why??? Because the TARP bill was used in the pending mental health relief bill that ended up not funding any relief or help to those who are truly mentally ill. This is just another patriot act bill that is intended to be used on AMERICAN CITIZENS. Listen up, THERE ARE NO TERRORISTS EXCEPT THOSE IN THE ROTHSCHILD ZIONIST CONTROLLED BANKING SYSTEM WITH 32 OF THEM IN KEY POSITIONS IN THIS GOV. That is who did 9-11 with the aid of Mossad. Neocons who were NEVER CLEANED OUT OF THIS WHITE HOUSE ETC AFTER BUSH/CHENEY TRAITORS LEFT. How come???

    Because the agenda was to move forward regardless of who was in office. Remember both Bush and Obama suffered major injuries while President??? Yup, even I laughed at Bush when he said he choked on a pretzel, but when Obama came back from being gone WAY TOO LONG to Asia, and no live press conferences, nothing, I got worried and sure enough he finally showed up WITH 12 STITCHES IN HIS LIP GOT IT PLAYING BASKETBALL. RIGHT…. I think both of them tried to assert themselves and got reminded about JFK real fast and hard. Yup we have already been taken over and our government is occupied by a foreign country and controlled by their operative traitors here called neocons running military, intel services, DEFINITELY HOMELAND SECURITY with lieberscum as chair of HLS senate committee.

    Yes, we are occupied by the Likud. We are trillions in debt and yet we are giving billions to Israel? hello, can anyone else besides WOXOF put 2 + 2 together and get 4????

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7WNYUAC2WQKUVECQYJGON7PGBQ slimekiller

    Unless you have been asleep lately, you must know what is coming down rapidly in this nation…. if you do, then you can understand why no one including democrats will give up their guns during this critical time in this nation. No way, right now, the MSM press owned by Rockefeller/rothschild wall street scum sucking criminals, are not covering the massive numbers of people killed right now in Egypt since the TORTURER TOOK OVER AS PRESIDENT. The military is now shooting people and the numbers are up in the thousands being shot, same in DUBAI. Same everywhere with or without guns. NO ONE IN THIER RIGHT MIND, WHILE THE ELITE CORPORATIONS ARE TRYING TO FASCIST GLOBALIZE, ARE GOING TO GIVE UP THEIR GUNS, NO WAY. EVER, NO WAY. Even Solzeneitzen warned us not to do it given what happened in Russia.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7WNYUAC2WQKUVECQYJGON7PGBQ slimekiller

    Our forefathers saw it as a necessity to protect our other rights. That is why it was second behind the most important one that is currently under assault, the right of free speech, assembly and redress of grievances. Also freedom of religion or no religion, always the right of people to choose that which is within their own preview. Like our health, our food, an both are seriously under attack. HELLO, can no one see this??? Are we all brainwashed???? Vaccines by Gates that sterilize third world populations and kill people? Gates on video saying vaccines were essential to their depopulation program? Wow, if that is ok to us, then we do deserve to go down and that person from out of the country that does not know the difference between a priviledge and a right, well he needs to see it up front and personal and then retell us what he thinks. A priviledge like in Gaza…. a 14 year old boy gets shot who was unarmed, why??? because someone in American needed a new kidney, so they took it becuase he has no ownership over his own body.

    That is exactly what we will be up against if we give up our right to protect ourselves from foreign invasion on any level. .

  • Guest

    It’s part of Amendment 0 – the right to enforceably say no. Amendment 0 is all over the 10 Amendments.

    Rather than creepy lists and licensing I would use accreditation, that it is you get into hunting clubs and various establishments if you do well in a preparatory course.

  • Guest

    At which point it will take a bunch of hackers and teenagers to restore your internets.

  • Taleisin

    That sounds reasonable. But America is not well known for being reasonable.
    You have enough crazy people with guns over there. I hope you can find a way to help curb so many unnecessary killings.

  • Taleisin

    I don’t think America has any worries about invasions, not in the foreseeable future.
    The biggest threat to the US is your own elite.

  • Anonymous

    “They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security”. Benjamin Franklin

    “The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution.”
    Thomas Jefferson

    “I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” -George Mason, Co-author of the Second Amendment during Virginia ‘s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

    Second Amendment
    A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

  • Anonymous

    Well Let’s enforce the 2nd amendment and let everyone carry weapons of the kind that were popular when it was written. Everyone, grab your musket.

  • Anonymous

    I know some are here in AZ writing laws.