Thursday, April 26, 2007

They "let" the mentally ill avoid the "gun list"?

The Raleigh News and Observer is reporting that "N.C. lets mentally ill avoid gun list". Of course, the tone is immediately that this is bad and that somehow NC is doing something wrong.

Reading the article brings out that writers complaint is that certain mental health records are covered by state privacy statutes, and that this information can not be legally forwarded to the FBI for inclusion into the NICS system. The article also totally ignores HIPPA privacy requirements, which may or may not bear on the issue of releasing medical records without proper authorization.

This article helpfully points a loophole in the law that local sheriffs can use to "backdoor" this information into the NICS system. (NC sheriffs have commendably been sparing in its use--319 times in 9 years.)

I'm not quite sure what to make of this issue. As a very ardent supporter of the Second Amendment, I'm really big on that "shall not be infringed" thing. At the same time, the realist in me doesn't want to see whackjobs like
Seung-Hui Cho given access to firearms--especially when there are so many places that I can't legally carry a gun to defend myself.

Discussion, anyone?

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