Mental Health Reporting in South Dakota

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

South Dakota requires the board of mental illness to report within seven working days any person involuntarily committed because he or she is a danger to self or others to the Attorney General for reporting to NICS.2 It also requires a prosecuting attorney to report within seven working days any person who is acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity or determined to be incompetent to stand trial to the Attorney General for reporting to NICS.3 The Attorney General must transmit this information to NICS.4 South Dakota law also provides a procedure for a person prohibited from possessing guns under federal law due to mental illness to regain his or her gun eligibility.5

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the South Dakota Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. S.D. Codified Laws § 27A-10-24. ⤴︎
  3. S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-47. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-49. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Tennessee

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

A 2009 Tennessee law requires submission of mental health records to NICS. The state’s circuit courts, criminal courts, general sessions courts, county/probate courts and chancery courts that have ordered a commitment to a mental institution or that have adjudicated a person as mentally defective are required to report this fact to NICS and the Tennessee Department of Safety.2

This reporting must include the:

  • Complete name and all aliases of the individual judicially committed or adjudicated as a mental defective, including any names that the individual may have had or currently has by reason of marriage or otherwise;
  • Case or docket number of the judicial commitment or adjudication as a mental defective;
  • Date judicial commitment was ordered or adjudication as a mental defective was made;
  • Private or state hospital or treatment resource to which the individual was judicially committed; and
  • Date of birth of the individual judicially committed or adjudicated as a mental defective, if such information has been provided to the clerk.3

The aforementioned information is confidential and not subject to public inspection except if necessary for any proceedings for the suspension or revocation of handgun carry permits.4

Tennessee enacted a law in 2013 that requires clerks of court to confirm with the administrative office of the courts when these reports are made to NICS.  The law also requires these reports to be made as soon as practicable, but no later than the third business day following the date of such an order or adjudication.  If a clerk of court is unable to make a report to NICS, he or she must provide the administrative office of the courts with sufficient information so the office can make the report.  The law also details the results of noncompliance.5

In 2015, Tennessee also enacted a law establishing procedures for an individual prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law for mental health reasons to petition for relief from the federal prohibition.6 A person who is subject to federal law’s mental health-related firearm prohibition because the person has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution may petition the court that entered the commitment or adjudication order once three years have elapsed from the person’s date of release from commitment or the date of the adjudication order, whichever is later.7

The court must receive and consider evidence in an open proceeding concerning:

(1) The circumstances that led to the imposition of the federal firearms disability;

(2) The petitioner’s mental health records;

(3) The petitioner’s criminal history;

(4) The petitioner’s reputation; and

(5) Changes in the petitioner’s condition or circumstances relevant to the relief sought.8

The court shall grant the petition for relief if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that (1) the petitioner is no longer likely to act in a manner that is dangerous to public safety; and (2) granting the relief would not be contrary to the public interest.9 When the court issues an order granting a petition of relief, the court clerk must, as soon as practicable and within 30 days, forward a copy of the order to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).10 Upon receipt of the order, the TBI must then immediately forward a copy of the order to the Department of Safety; update the NICS database and transmit the corrected records to the FBI; and remove and destroy all records relating to the petition for relief from any database over which the TBI exercises control.11 If denied, the petitioner may also appeal a final order, or file one new petition for relief every two years.12

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Tennessee Background Checks and Tennessee Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 16-10-213(b), (c), 16-11-206(b), (c), 16-15-303(g)(2), 16-16-120(b). The documentation and reporting requirements of mental health adjudications and judicial commitments to mental institutions discussed in this section apply to any clerk of court that maintains such records. Tenn. Code Ann. § 33-3-115. ⤴︎
  3. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 16-10-213(c), 16-11-206(c), 16-15-303(g)(3), 16-16-120(c). ⤴︎
  4. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 16-10-213(d), 16-11-206(d), 16-15-303(g)(4), 16-16-120(d). ⤴︎
  5. 2013 TN S.B. 789. ⤴︎
  6. 2015 TN S.B. 886, enacting Tenn. Code Ann. § 16-10-205. ⤴︎
  7. Id. A copy of the petition for relief shall also be served on the district attorney general of the judicial district in which the original commitment or adjudication occurred. The district attorney general may appear, support, object to, or present evidence relevant to the relief sought by the petitioner. ⤴︎
  8. Id. ⤴︎
  9. Id. ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. Id. ⤴︎
  12. Id. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Texas

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

A law adopted in Texas in 2009 requires the Department of Public Safety (“Department”) to establish a rule for the submission of information to the FBI for use in NICS. The law requires the clerk of a court to prepare and submit information to the Department within 30 days whenever the court:

  • Orders a person to receive inpatient mental health services;
  • Acquits a person in a criminal case by reason of insanity or lack of mental responsibility;
  • Commits a person determined to have mental retardation for long-term placement in a residential care facility;
  • Appoints a guardian of the incapacitated adult individual, based on the determination that the person lacks the mental capacity to manage the person’s affairs;
  • Determines a person is incompetent to stand trial; or
  • Finds a person is entitled to relief from disabilities.2

The information that must be submitted is:

  • The complete name, race, and gender of the person;
  • Any known identifying number of the person, including social security number, driver’s license number, or state identification number;
  • The person’s date of birth; and
  • The information that causes the person to be prohibited from possessing firearms.3

If an order previously reported to the Department is reversed by an appellate court, it is the duty of the clerk of the court to notify the Department of the reversal.4

The law requires the clerk of the court to forward this information to the Department in an electronic format as prescribed by the Department, if practicable.5 The law requires the Department to establish a procedure, by a rule, for submission of this information to NICS.6

This information is “confidential,” and the Department may disseminate this information only to the extent necessary to allow the FBI to collect and maintain a list of persons prohibited from possessing firearms.7 However, the Department must grant access to this information to the person who is the subject of the information.8

The 2009 law also provides a process by which a person who has been discharged from court ordered mental health services may obtain relief from the federal firearms disability,9 and requires the Department to establish a rule for submission of this information to NICS.10

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Texas Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.0521(a). ⤴︎
  3. Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.0521(b). ⤴︎
  4. Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.0521(d). ⤴︎
  5. Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.0521(c). ⤴︎
  6. Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.052 (b). See 37 Tex. Admin. Code § 27.141 for the relevant rule. ⤴︎
  7. Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.052(b), (d). ⤴︎
  8. Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.052(c). ⤴︎
  9. Tex. Health & Safety Code § 574.088. ⤴︎
  10. Tex. Gov’t Code § 411.052(e). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in the District of Columbia

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

The District of Columbia has no law requiring the reporting of mental health information to NICS.

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the District of Columbia Background Checks section and the section entitled District of Columbia Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Utah

Federal law prohibits any person from selling or otherwise transferring a firearm or ammunition to any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

There is no law in Utah requiring the reporting of mental health information to NICS.

In Utah, every magistrate or court clerk responsible for court records must, within 30 days of a disposition, furnish the Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division within the Department of Public Safety with certain records, including information pertaining to any:

  • Judgment of not guilty by reason of insanity, or finding of mental incompetence to stand trial for a felony or a violation of Utah Code Ann. Title 76, Chapter 5 (Offenses Against the Person) or Chapter 10, Part 5 (Weapons);
  • Judgment of guilty but mentally ill; and
  • Order of civil commitment of the mentally ill.2

However, there is no law requiring the Department of Public Safety to then make these records available to NICS.

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers/possessors, see the Utah Background Checks and Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.

In 2013, Utah enacted procedures for a person who is subject to state or federal law firearm prohibitions based on a commitment, finding, or adjudication that occurred in Utah to petition the district court in the county in which the commitment, finding, or adjudication occurred to remove the firearm disability.3 The petition must include, among other things, a copy of the petitioner’s criminal history report and a verified report of a mental health evaluation conducted by a licensed psychiatrist occurring within 30 days prior to the filing of the petition.4 The report must include a statement regarding:

(i) the nature of the commitment, finding, or adjudication that resulted in the restriction on the petitioner’s ability to purchase or possess a dangerous weapon;

(ii) the petitioner’s previous and current mental health treatment;

(iii) the petitioner’s previous violent behavior, if any;

(iv) the petitioner’s current mental health medications and medication management;

(v) the length of time the petitioner has been stable;

(vi) external factors that may influence the petitioner’s stability;

(vii) the ability of the petitioner to maintain stability with or without medication; and

(viii) whether the petitioner is dangerous to public safety.5

The court must consider (a) the facts and circumstances that resulted in the commitment, finding, or adjudication and (b) the person’s mental health and criminal history records, and (c) the person’s reputation, including the testimony of character witnesses.6 The court must then grant the relief if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that:

(a) the person is not a danger to the person or to others;

(b) the person is not likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety; and

(c) the requested relief would not be contrary to the public interest.7

The court shall issue an order with its findings and send a copy to the Bureau of Criminal Identification, which must, upon receiving a court order removing a person’s firearm disability, send a copy of the court order to NICS requesting removal of the person’s name from the database.8 Though the petitioner may appeal a denied petition, he or she may not petition again for relief until at least two years after the date of the court’s final order.9

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Utah Code Ann. § 53-10-208.1; see also Utah Code Ann. § 62A-15-631 (regarding involuntary civil commitments). ⤴︎
  3. 2013 UT S.B. 80, enacting Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-532. ⤴︎
  4. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-532(2). ⤴︎
  5. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-532(2)(c). ⤴︎
  6. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-532(5). ⤴︎
  7. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-532(6). ⤴︎
  8. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-532(7), (8). ⤴︎
  9. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-532(9), (10). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Vermont

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Before 2015, Vermont had no laws requiring the reporting of mental health information to NICS, and Vermont still has no law requiring the reporting of mental health information to NICS regarding individuals adjudicated as mentally defective or incompetent.

However, in 2015, Vermont enacted a law requiring the Court Administrator to report to NICS the identities of individuals subject to a court ordered mental health commitment, hospitalization, or treatment within 48 hours after the court order.2 The report shall include only information sufficient to identify the person, the reason for the report, and a statement that the report is made in accordance with federal law, 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(4).3 Such reports are confidential and generally exempt from public inspection and may not be used for any purpose other than for submission to NICS.4 A copy of the report must also be provided to the person who is the subject of the report, with a written notice to the person who is the subject of the report that he or she is not thereafter permitted to possess a firearm.5

The law also requires the state Department of Mental Health to report to the Court Administrator, on or before October 1, 2015, the names of all persons under the custody of the Department who are currently subject to such court orders and requires the Court Administrator to report those names to the NICS database. 6.

The law also enacted a procedure for persons prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms due to mental illness to petition the Family Division of the Superior Court for relief from the federal firearm prohibition.7 The petition must be filed in the county where the offense or the adjudication occurred.8 When the petition is filed, the petitioner must provide notice and a copy of the petition to the State’s Attorney or the Attorney General, who shall be the respondent in the matter.9 The Court is required to grant the petition without a hearing if neither the State’s Attorney nor the Attorney General files an objection within six months after receiving notice of the petition, or if the respondent and petitioner stipulate to the granting of the petition.10

If the Court does not grant the petition without a hearing, as outlined above, the Court shall consider:

  •  the circumstances regarding the firearms disabilities imposed on the person by 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4);
  • the petitioner’s record, including his or her mental health and criminal history records; and
  • the petitioner’s reputation, as demonstrated by character witness statements, testimony, or other character evidence.11

The Court shall grant the petition if it finds that the petitioner has demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that her or she is no longer a person in need of treatment.12 A “person in need of treatment” means “a person who has a mental illness and, as a result of that mental illness, his or her capacity to exercise self-control, judgment, or discretion in the conduct of his or her affairs and social relations is so lessened that he or she poses a danger of harm to himself, to herself, or to others.”13

If the petition is granted, the Court is required to enter an order declaring that the basis under which the person was prohibited from possessing firearms by 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4) no longer applies. The Court shall then inform the FBI, NICS, and the U.S. Attorney General, of its decision.14 If the Court denies the petition, the petitioner may then appeal the denial to the Vermont Supreme Court for a de novo review on the record.15 The person may also re-file a petition at least one year after the order of the trial court, or of the Supreme Court if an appeal is taken, becomes final.16

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Vermont Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Vermont.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. See 2015 VT S.B. 141, enacting Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4824 and tit. 18, § 7617a. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. See 2015 VT S.B. 141, Sect. 8 ⤴︎
  7. See 2015 VT S.B. 141, enacting Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4825. ⤴︎
  8. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4825(a)(1). ⤴︎
  9. Id. At the time a petition is filed, the respondent must give notice of the petition to a victim of the offense, if any, who is known to the respondent. The victim shall have the right to offer the respondent a statement prior to any stipulation or to offer the Court a statement. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4825(g). ⤴︎
  10. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4825(a)(2)(A), (B). ⤴︎
  11. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4825(b). ⤴︎
  12. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4825(c). ⤴︎
  13. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 18, § 7101(17). ⤴︎
  14. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4825(d). ⤴︎
  15. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4825(e). ⤴︎
  16. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4825(f). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Virginia

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Pursuant to a 2008 Virginia law, clerks of court must certify and forward “forthwith” to the Central Criminal Records Exchange (“Exchange”) a copy of any order for treatment issued upon a finding that a defendant, including a juvenile, is incompetent. Such treatment includes both inpatient treatment in a hospital and outpatient treatment.2

The 2008 Virginia law also requires clerks of court to certify and forward to the Exchange a copy of any order from a commitment hearing for: 1) involuntary admission to a mental health facility, as soon as practicable but no later than the close of business on the next business day; or 2) mandatory outpatient treatment, prior to the close of that business day.3 Clerks of court must also forward to the Exchange, as soon as practicable but no later than the close of business on the next business day, certification of any person who has agreed to voluntary admission in a mental health facility after being the subject of a temporary detention.4 Copies of the orders sent to the Exchange must be kept confidential in a separate file and used only to determine firearms eligibility. The Department of State Police (“DSP”) may forward “only a person’s eligibility to possess, purchase, or transfer a firearm to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.”5 Clerks of court must certify and forward “forthwith” to the Exchange copies of any order adjudicating a person incapacitated as well as an order restoring a person’s capacity. The order and the accompanying forms must be kept confidential and in a separate file and may be used only to determine firearm eligibility.6

The chief law enforcement officer of a county or city must ensure that any acquittal by reason of insanity is reported to the Exchange immediately following the acquittal.7 In addition, court clerks and/or law enforcement (depending on the type of charge) are required to submit reports to the Exchange regarding certain criminal charges that remain pending due to mental incompetency or incapacity of the defendant. Court clerks must submit these reports electronically.8

Court clerks must certify and forward to the Exchange copies of any order granting a petition to restore the right to purchase, possess or transport a firearm to a person previously ineligible due to any of the conditions mentioned above.9 Such petitions must be granted if a court determines that the circumstances regarding the firearms prohibition and the person’s criminal history, treatment record, and reputation are such that the person will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety and that the granting of the relief would not be contrary to the public interest.10

In response to the Virginia Tech tragedy, Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine issued an Executive Order on April 30, 2007 directing all executive branch employees and law enforcement officials to consider court-ordered outpatient treatment as involuntary admission to a mental health facility, and to report it to the State Police and NICS.11 In 2008, this order was partially codified by several of the provisions described above.

In 2014, Virginia enacted a law requires judges and special justices to forward the information above to the clerk of the court “as soon as practicable, but no later than the close of business on the next business day.”12

Note that a 2002 Virginia Attorney General Opinion determined that the Department of State Police is authorized to provide mental health information to the FBI so long as the information is kept confidential and used only to determine a person’s eligibility to possess, purchase or transfer a firearm.13

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Virginia Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-169.2. ⤴︎
  3. Va. Code Ann. § 37.2-819. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. Va. Code Ann. § 64.2-1014. ⤴︎
  7. Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-390. ⤴︎
  8. Id. ⤴︎
  9. Va. Code Ann. §§ 18.2-308.1:1, 18.2-308.1:2, 18.2-308.1:3. ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. Va. Exec. Order No. 50 (April 30, 2007). ⤴︎
  12. Va. Code Ann. § 37.2-819. ⤴︎
  13. Va. Att’y Gen. Op. No. 01-062, 2002 Va. AG LEXIS 72 (April 4, 2002). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Washington

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Washington requires that, at the time any person convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity for a crime that results in the prohibition of possession of a firearm2, or is committed by a court order for mental health treatment, the convicting or committing court must:

  • Notify the person, orally and in writing, that he or she must immediately surrender any concealed pistol license and may not possess a firearm unless his or her right to do so is restored by a court of record;
  • Within three days after conviction or entry of commitment order, forward a copy of the person’s driver’s license or identification card and the date of conviction or commitment to the state Department of Licensing; and
  • If the person is committed by court order under Washington Rev. Code Ann. §§ 71.05.240 (involuntary or alternative treatment for 14 days), 71.05.320 (treatment for an adult for 90 or 180 days), 71.34.740 (involuntary commitment hearing for a minor), 71.34.750 (treatment a minor for 180 days) or Chapter 10.77 (treatment when found not guilty by reason of insanity or incompetent to stand trial), the committing court shall forward a copy of the person’s driver’s license, or comparable information, along with date of commitment, to the NICS database.3

The Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) must, upon request of a court or law enforcement agency, supply such relevant information as is necessary to determine the person’s eligibility to possess or purchase a handgun or be issued a concealed pistol license.4

Information and records regarding involuntary commitments of the mentally ill may only be disclosed for specified purposes, including to law enforcement officers as necessary for the purpose of carrying out the responsibilities of their office.5 Only the fact, place and date of involuntary commitment, an official copy of any order or orders of commitment, and an official copy of any written or oral notice of ineligibility to possess a firearm shall be disclosed upon request.6 Identical provisions govern disclosure of involuntary commitments of minors.7

An application to purchase a handgun constitutes a waiver of confidentiality and a written request that the DSHS, mental health institutions, and other health care facilities release information relevant to the applicant’s eligibility to purchase a handgun to an inquiring court or law enforcement agency.8 Similarly, a signed application for a concealed pistol license constitutes a waiver of confidentiality and a written request that the DSHS, mental health institutions, and other health care facilities release information relevant to the applicant’s eligibility for a concealed pistol license to an inquiring court or law enforcement agency.9

Mental health information received by the following entities may not be disclosed except in limited instances:10

  • An authority that previously issued a concealed pistol license and receives information from the Department of Licensing that the person is no longer eligible pursuant to Washington Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.047;
  • A chief of police or sheriff performing a background check prior to transfer of a handgun;
  • A court or law enforcement agency to determine the person’s eligibility to possess a handgun or be issued a concealed pistol license or to purchase a handgun under state law.11

Dispositions are reported to the identification section of the Washington State Patrol.12 Dispositions include findings of not guilty by reason of insanity, and dismissals by reason of incompetency.13

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Washington Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. See Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.040 and the Washington Prohibited Purchasers Generally section for these prohibited categories. ⤴︎
  3. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.047(1). ⤴︎
  4. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.097(1). For information on concealed pistol licenses, see Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.070 and the Washington Concealed Weapons Permitting section. ⤴︎
  5. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 70.02.260. ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎
  7. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 71.34.340(16). ⤴︎
  8. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.094. ⤴︎
  9. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.070(4). An application for an alien firearm license also acts as a waiver of confidentiality and written request of this kind, with respect to the person’s eligibility for an alien firearm license. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.173(4). ⤴︎
  10. See Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 42.56.240(4), which prohibits public disclosure except for concealed pistol license applications and related information only to law enforcement. ⤴︎
  11. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.097(2). ⤴︎
  12. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 10.97.045; see also Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 43.43.745(3). ⤴︎
  13. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 10.97.030(4). ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in West Virginia

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Although West Virginia does not require the reporting of mental health information to NICS, such reporting is specifically authorized. The state maintains a registry of information pertaining to all persons who have been adjudicated to be mentally defective or who have been committed for treatment of a mental illness pursuant to West Virginia law.2 The Secretary of Department of Health and Human Resources and the circuit clerk of each county are required to provide updated information to the registry on an ongoing basis.3

Information in the registry “may be transmitted” to NICS, as well as to county sheriffs.4 The registry must provide only such information about a person as is necessary to identify registrants.5 The Superintendent, the Secretary, the circuit clerks and the Administrator may provide notice to the registry and NICS that a person:

  • Has been involuntarily committed pursuant to West Virginia law;
  • Has been adjudicated mentally incompetent in a proceeding under Article 6A of Chapter 61 of the West Virginia Code; or
  • Has regained the ability to possess a firearm by order of a circuit court in a proceeding under section 61-7A-5 of the West Virginia Code.6

In 2016, West Virginia passed a law that eliminated from the definition of “mental institution,” a facility used for treatment of persons committed for addiction. Because of this law, records of individuals who have been involuntarily committed for addiction will no longer be reported to the registry or NICS.

Documents filed with a circuit court, mental hygiene commissioner or designated magistrate for the involuntary hospitalization of an individual are generally not open to inspection and may not be published. Under a 2012 law, disclosure of these records may, however, be made by the clerk, circuit court, mental hygiene commissioner or designated magistrate to provide notice to NICS and the central state mental health registry, in accordance with the provisions described above.7

The circuit clerk must provide the Superintendent or his or her designee with a certified copy of any order entered pursuant to state law8 restoring a person’s eligibility to possess a firearm, and the petitioner’s name must be promptly removed from the central state mental health registry and the Superintendent must inform the FBI or other federal entity operating NICS of the court action.9

Communications and information obtained in the course of treatment or evaluation of any client or patient are confidential information that may not be disclosed.10 An exception allows notice to NICS in accordance with state law.11

Any person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm by West Virginia or federal law by virtue solely of having previously been adjudicated to be mentally defective or to having a prior involuntary commitment to a mental institution may petition the circuit court of the county of his or her residence to regain the ability to lawfully possess a firearm.12 The court may only consider petitions for relief due to mental health adjudications or commitments that occurred in this state and only give the relief specifically requested in the petition.13 The petitioner must provide a verified certificate of mental health examination by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, occurring within thirty days prior to filing of the petition, which supports that the petitioner is competent and not likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety.14 

In determining whether to grant the petition, the court must receive and consider, at a minimum:

  • Evidence concerning the circumstances regarding the firearms disabilities imposed by federal law;
  • The petitioner’s record, which must include the petitioner’s mental health and criminal history records; and
  • The petitioner’s reputation developed through character witness statements, testimony or other character evidence. ((W. Va. Code § 61-7A-5(b).))  

The court may enter an order allowing the petitioner to possess a firearm if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that (1) The person is competent and capable of exercising the responsibilities concomitant with the possession of a firearm; (2) The person will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety; and (3) Granting the relief will not be contrary to public interest.15

The circuit clerk of each county shall provide the Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police and the Administrator of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals with a certified copy of any order which removes a petitioner’s prohibition to possess firearms.16 If the order restores the petitioner’s ability to possess a firearm, his or her name shall be promptly removed from the central state mental health registry and the Superintendent or Administrator shall forthwith inform the federal entity operating NICS of the court action.17

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers/possessors, see the West Virginia Background Checks and West Virginia Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-3. ⤴︎
  3. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-3(c). ⤴︎
  4. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-3(b). ⤴︎
  5. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-3(e). ⤴︎
  6. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-4. ⤴︎
  7. W. Va. Code § 27-5-4(c)(3). ⤴︎
  8. See W. Va. Code § 61-7A-5. ⤴︎
  9. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-5(b). ⤴︎
  10. W. Va. Code § 27-3-1. ⤴︎
  11. W. Va. Code § 27-3-1(b)(4). See W. Va. Code § 61-7A-1 et seq. ⤴︎
  12. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-5. ⤴︎
  13. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-5(b). ⤴︎
  14. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-5(a)(3). ⤴︎
  15. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-5(c). ⤴︎
  16. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-5(h). ⤴︎
  17. Id. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in Wisconsin

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice (“DOJ”) is required to promulgate rules to convey information in a timely manner to the NICS database regarding individuals ordered not to possess a firearm under:

  • Wis. Stat. § 51.20(13)(cv)(1) (mental health commitments where the individual is found to be a danger to self or public safety);
  • § 51.45(13)(i)(1) (treatment for and commitment of an individual incapacitated by alcohol or suffering from alcoholism);
  • § 54.10(3)(f)(1) (individuals who have a guardian appointed for them); or
  • § 55.12(10)(a) (order of protective services or protective placement).2

DOJ is also required to promulgate rules to convey information to the NICS database for cancellations of court orders for these mental health-related issues.3

Court clerks are required to notify DOJ when a court determines an individual is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms because of any of the circumstances listed above, or subsequently restores the person’s eligibility to possess firearms.4 The clerk and DOJ may only disclose the information necessary to permit an accurate firearms restrictions record search.5 A 2014 law clarifies that this information may also be used in determining whether to issue or deny a concealed carry permit and in certain law enforcement investigations.

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Wisconsin Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. Wis. Stat. § 175.35(2g)(d)(1). Wisconsin law allows individuals in any of these categories to petition a court for an order restoring the person’s eligibility to possess firearms. ⤴︎
  3. Wis. Stat. § 175.35(2g)(d)(2). See Wis. Stat. §§ 51.20(13)(cv)(2), 51.45(13)(i)(2)(c), 54.10(3)(f)(2)(c) and 55.12(10)(b)(3). ⤴︎
  4. Wis. Stat. §§ 51.20(13)(cv)(4), 51.45(13)(i)(4), 54.10(3)(f)(4), 55.12(10)(d). ⤴︎
  5. Id. See also Wis. Stat. § 51.30(4)(b)(28). ⤴︎