Posted: Jan 20, 2013 2:44 PM by Annie Snead
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) - Idaho officials say that by the end of the year, they expect to submit most, if not all, mental health records generated in state courts to federal authorities for backgrounds checks required to buy a gun.
The Times-News reports that Idaho State Police recently began sending to the FBI the records of people adjudicated in 2012 to be mentally unfit to own guns.
"We're having to map out the court system," said Dawn Peck, manager of ISP's Bureau of Criminal Identification, which oversees mental health records. "We're not responsible for holding the records but we're in charge of making sure the FBI gets them."
Starting in 2009, states were required to submit such records. But Idaho didn't approve sending the information until 2010.
The information is sent to the FBI's National Instant Background Check System. Gun dealers use the system as a quick check on whether a prospective buyer is barred from gun ownership.
The FBI, according to its website, has conducted more than 160 million background checks since the system started in 1998. Those checks led to 987,500 gun buyers being rejected. Of those, 10,180 were rejected due to mental health reasons.
Peck said Idaho State Police have sent 19,500 records to the FBI, but 17,000 of those didn't make it into the database because they contained errors.
"We're currently working on those errors," Peck said.
Another problem, she said, is that the bureau is running out of electronic records and must now obtain paper records dating back 20 years. But she expects the process to be complete by the end of this year.
"We are working diligently trying to get the project finished," she said.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.)