- Sep 11, 2014
But, they can?Oh, he's one of those people.
Mentally ill already can't buy guns.
Colorado is one of four states, along with Indiana, Kentucky and New Hampshire, that rely on the federal umbrella firearm law and don’t have a specific state law banning firearm possession by people with a mental illness, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
For federal law to be effective, states have to be compliant and transparent, said Vince, who teaches criminal justice at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
Discrepancies between federal and state law can create legal loopholes, he said.
For example, the gunman who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007 had been declared mentally ill by a court and ordered to undergo mental health treatment. Under federal law, that should have disqualified him from owning a gun.
But he was able to buy a gun because his treatment was outpatient, and at the time, Virginia state law only disqualified a person if they had been involuntarily committed to a mental hospital. As a result, Virginia never reported him, and he was not flagged in a background check.
In a speech to the nation Thursday morning, President Donald Trump promised to “tackle the difficult issue of mental health.” But so far, his administration has only loosened federal gun laws related to the issue.
Early into his first year in the White House, Trump signed a measure that got rid of a regulation aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of people who were either receiving full disability benefits because of mental illness and couldn’t work or people who were unable to manage their own Social Security benefits and needed the help of third parties.
Using the Congressional Review Act, Republican majorities in the House and Senate voted to revoke the rule that former President Barack Obama issued as part of a series of efforts to curb gun violence after similar measures failed to pass through Congress.
Trump signed the bill in private, without his typical public signing ceremony meant to draw attention and fanfare.
He also rolled back an attempt by the Obama administration to clarify and broaden the statutory definitions of the terms that disable individuals who had been committed to mental institutions or adjudicated as mentally incompetent from buying guns.