Mental Health Reporting Gaps Cloud Background Checks

Since 1998, when the FBI launched the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, known as NICS, the database has grown to include the names of more than 8.3 million people prohibited from purchasing guns.


The database includes illegal immigrants, felons, fugitives, spouse abusers, drug addicts, and the mentally ill. Under federal law, anyone who has been committed to a mental institution or deemed mentally unstable by a judge are prohibited for life from purchasing a gun.


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