I know I'm getting a bit Illinois-centric again--sorry--I'll try to talk about something else soon. Anyway, in the wake of the Virginia Tech mass murder, the currently popular "solution" seems to be the addition of mental health information into the pre-purchase background check database.
Illinois apparently does not want to be left out, and so Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan wants to determine to what extent Illinois can get away with violating people's rights to privacy. A bit of background for people who are fortunate enough not to live in Illinois--this state requires all gun owners to have a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, issued by the state police, in order to purchase or possess firearms and/or ammunition. Madigan apparently would like to be able to deny FOID applications on mental health grounds.
I should point out that the FOID program in Illinois is so understaffed and under-budgeted that application processing times are running behind schedule by months. If a gun owner's FOID renewal happens too slowly, and his old FOID expires while he is still waiting for his new one, he instantly becomes a felon, for possession of firearms without a current and valid FOID. This is before additional mental health checks are added to the process.
I especially like this part:
Madigan aide Cara Smith noted the state FOID law has a mental-health provision that goes beyond inpatient treatment. She said the law prohibits gun ownership by someone with a mental condition who "poses a clear and present danger" to himself or others. She said the review may suggest ways to better identify those individuals.So we have people in outpatient treatment who pose "a clear and present danger"? Are we to believe that the only way such a clear and present danger can manifest itself is with a legally purchased firearm? Should not such a person have a custodian?
The article ends with this:
"We'll have to find a way to make sure that that information (is) made available to the appropriate individuals - obviously law enforcement - but not disseminated otherwise," she said."Obviously law enforcement"--they're the "Only Ones".