Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Friday that he would seek legislation so that the mental health history of a person can be taken into account when he or she tries to purchase a gun.
Louisiana would join 17 states that already have laws that require courts to report mental health eligibility to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System database.
“As a strong supporter of Constitutional gun rights, I fully believe that we can defend our Second Amendment right to bear arms and defend our children too,” Jindal said. “This proposal is a common-sense way to protect our kids, our families and our loved ones.”
The proposal comes after Jindal established a study committee to look into needed improvements at schools and colleges following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut.
Twenty children and six adults died. Adam Lanza, who was believed to have mental health problems, allegedly shot and killed his mother before driving to the school and opening fire. Lanza later took his own life.
The federal government operates the NICS database to prevent potential gun buyers with a criminal history or severe mental health illness from purchasing firearms.
“Too often, both in Louisiana and in states across the nation, the mentally ill are slipping through the cracks and getting lost in the system,” Jindal said. “In order to protect these individuals and the communities they reside in, it is imperative that we take proactive steps to prevent them from harming either themselves or others.”
Current state law bans the mental health eligibility reporting.
A copy of the legislation was not available.
The Governor’s Office news release said that no medical records will be shared and the state would have the authority to request the removal of a person from the database if he or she is deemed mentally competent.
Under the proposal, the state could confidentially share an individual’s eligibility to purchase a firearm based on mental health records, such as those involuntarily committed to mental health facilities. The state Supreme Court would collect the data and transmit it to the NICS.
The legislation would also define situation where mental health eligibility must be reported and when a person would be disqualified from purchasing a firearm. The determination would be made by a court.