Graham introduces bill to prevent mentally ill people from buying guns

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) this week introduced a bill to close a loophole that has allowed mentally ill people to pass the federal background check and legally purchase firearms.

The NICS [National Instant Criminal Background Check System] Reporting Improvement Act of 2013 would require states to report certain mental incompetency adjudications to the federal background check system.

Under current law, people who have been found not guilty by reason of insanity or determined to pose an imminent danger to themselves or others by a court are not always reported to the NICS.

Consequently, some mentally ill individuals have been able to pass the background check and legally purchase weapons from federally-licensed gun dealers.

An example of the dangers this loophole pose is the case of Alice Boland.

In 2005, Boland pled not guilty by reason of insanity in federal court on charges of threatening to kill the President and members of Congress.

But despite the court’s ruling that Boland’s paranoid schizophrenia posed “substantial risks” to the public, she was able to buy a pistol from a store in Walterboro after passing a background check.

After obtaining the .22 semi-automatic pistol, Boland went to Ashley Hall, a private school in Charleston, where she tried to shoot staff members. The gun did not fire.

“In Ms. Boland’s case, pleading not guilty by reason of insanity of trying to kill the President doesn’t disqualify you under the current background system,” said Graham. “I think 99.9% of Americans will say that’s a mistake. It needs to be fixed, and we’re going to fix it.”

According to Graham, there are about 14,000 individuals in South Carolina whose mental incompetency adjudications are not reported to the NICS database. That includes people who are determined by a court to be (1) “an imminent danger to themselves or others”; (2) “found guilty but mentally ill in a criminal case”; (3) “was not guilty in a criminal case by reason of insanity or mental disease or defect”; (4) “was incompetent to stand trial in a criminal case”; (5) “was not guilty only by reason of lack of mental responsibility under the Uniform Code of Military Justice”; (6) “required involuntary inpatient treatment by a psychiatric hospital”; (7) “required involuntary outpatient treatment by a psychiatric hospital based on a finding that the person is an imminent danger to himself or to others”; (8) and “required involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital for any reason including drug use.”

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3 Comments on “Graham introduces bill to prevent mentally ill people from buying guns

  1. Pingback: Transcript: Sen. Mark Begich's remarks on the NICS Reporting Improvement Act of 2013 | What The Folly?!

  2. Pingback: Transcript: Sen. Lindsey Graham introduces bill on mental illness & gun violence | What The Folly?!

  3. Pingback: Transcript: Press briefing Q&A on the NICS Reporting Improvement Act of 2013 | What The Folly?!

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