Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Friday that he will seek legislation to improve gun safety in Louisiana by enabling the state to report an individual’s eligibility to purchase firearms based on mental health records to the federally administered National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database.
“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,” said Jindal. “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.”
Currently, the federal government operates the NICS database to prevent potential gun buyers with a criminal history or severe mental health illness from purchasing firearms.
In Louisiana, current state statute prohibits reporting mental health eligibility to the NICS database. Under Governor Jindal’s proposal, Louisiana will be authorized to provide mental health eligibility to the NICS database.
No actual medical records will be shared, and the state will have the authority to request the removal of an individual from NICS should that person be deemed mentally competent.
“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,” said Jindal.
To enhance gun safety and mental health reporting standards in Louisiana, Governor Jindal’s proposal will:
- Authorize the state to confidentially share an individual’s eligibility to purchase a firearm based on his or her mental health records, such as those involuntarily committed to mental health facilities.
- Define situations where mental health eligibility must be reported and when a person would be disqualified from purchasing a firearm. This determination will be made by a court. Criteria will include whether or not a person is deemed to be a danger to himself, herself or others as a result of mental illness; incapable of managing his or her own affairs; found not guilty by reason of insanity or other mental disease in a criminal case; found guilty but insane in a criminal case; found incompetent to stand trial; and involuntarily committed to a mental institution or asylum.
- Define situations when the state may request to have an individual deemed competent by health care professionals removed from the NICS database.