- Associated Press - Monday, January 5, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Only 25 mental health records have been provided to an FBI database used to prevent certain people from buying firearms because of state and federal privacy laws, according to state officials.

A new state law going into effect July 1 is expected to result in more records being sent to the FBI’s National Instant Crime Background Check Systems, known as NICS, The Oklahoman reported Monday (https://bit.ly/1wPYM7d ).

Federal law prohibits the sale of a firearm to anyone found mentally incompetent by the courts. But Oklahoma does not provide the records because of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, and state privacy laws.

Nationally, the number of mental health records in the system increased to 3.7 million as of Nov. 30, according to an FBI report.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has been voluntarily providing NICS with mental health records in a few instances when a person is denied a handgun permit.

“We feel like if we’re denying somebody a handgun license, they probably should also not be able to purchase a firearm,” said Felicia Jackson, who manages the OSBI’s self-defense act licensing unit.

After July 1, Jackson expects certified copies of mental health commitments or adjudications from all the state’s counties. It’s unknown how many records will be provided, but the law doesn’t require a retroactive search.


Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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