Obama to Revamp Background Checks

After being blocked by Congress, Obama is now using his own power to make changes to the background check system for firearms purchases.

The Obama administration was starting a process Friday aimed at removing barriers in health privacy laws that prevent some states from reporting information to the background check system.

Although federal law prohibits the sale of firearms to people who are mentally ill,  “A federal review last year found 17 states contributed fewer than 10 mental health records to the database, meaning many deemed by a judge to be a danger still could have access to guns.” 

In particular, HIPPA provisions limit the transmission of people’s healthcare records only to police or a court in certain circumstances. “Obama is interested in a change that would specifically allow disclosure of mental health records for the system, and he wants to increase financial incentives for states to contribute the information.”

The background check system was established in the 1993 Brady Bill.