Government: Federal, State and Local / Security Newswire

White House Announces New Executive Actions on Gun Background Checks

The Obama administration proposed two new executive actions to make it easier for states to provide mental health information to the national background check system.

Vice President Biden's office announced two proposals that pertain to the ability of states to provide information about the mentally ill and those seeking mental health treatment to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, said Fox News.

One proposal would formally give permission to states to submit "the limited information necessary to help keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands," without having to worry about the privacy provisions in HIPPA, said said Fox News.

"The proposed rule will not change the fact that seeking help for mental health problems or getting treatment does not make someone legally prohibited from having a firearm," the statement said. "Furthermore, nothing in the proposed rule would require reporting on general mental health visits or other routine mental health care, or would exempt providers solely performing these treatment services from existing privacy rules." 

The other proposal would clarify that those who are involuntarily committed to a mental institution -- both inpatient and outpatient -- count under the law as "committed to a mental institution." According to the administration, this change will help clarify for states what information to provide to the background check system, as well as who is barred from having guns, said Fox News.  

The statement from Biden's office claimed these changes would help ensure that "better and more reliable information" makes its way into the system. 

In the statement, Barack Obama and Biden renewed their call for Congress to pass "common-sense gun safety legislation" -- including by expanding the background check system and making gun trafficking a federal crime, said Fox News.

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