« Ind. Gov't. - "Bloomington ordinance requiring hard-wired smoke detectors subject of court battle" | Main | Courts - "An Eventful Day in Court for Same-Sex Marriage " »

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Indiana Law - More on: Indiana one of states featured in NYT article today on guns and the mentally ill

Following on this ILB post from Sunday referencing a NYT Sunday story, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has an editorial today suggesting one way to strengthen the Indiana law re seizing guns of the mentally ill:

But the Times found what it called “a significant loophole” in Indiana’s law enabling police to seize handguns from people who are deemed dangerously mentally ill: “There is nothing preventing them from going out and buying new guns.” Officials from the Indiana Supreme Court told the Times records from gun-confiscation cases are not entered into the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which gun dealers must check before selling a firearm.

Former Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke, who for five years headed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said it appears there is nothing in the Indiana law that would preclude the state from reporting such cases to NICS.

When guns are seized, Helmke said, the law provides for a court hearing within 14 days. If the court determines a person is dangerous and upholds the seizure of weapons, Helmke said, there appears to be nothing that bars the state from adding the person’s name to the federal don’t-sell list. “If you have enough to take (someone’s) guns away, you ought to be able to send the records.”

Most mentally ill people are not dangerous, and even dealing with the few who are will not, of course, end the gun-violence problems. As Helmke noted, as many as 40 percent of all gun sales are through gun shows or other “private” transactions, allowing a potentially dangerous person to buy a gun even if his or her name is on the NICS list.

But why leave a loophole like this unsealed? If indeed those records aren’t being sent in, the Indiana Supreme Court or, if need be, the legislature could remedy that quickly.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 24, 2013 09:09 AM
Posted to Indiana Law