Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mass. Mental health records and FBI background checks

You may have read various reports lately that Massachusetts law prohibits the sharing of mental health records with the FBI for purposes of background checks, in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System or NICS. The Globe has a review of the situation in Massachusetts here. While the state has had mental health laws since 1895, it wasn't until 1970 that we added a provision protecting the records of those with a mental illness. (1970 ch. 888) Governor Patrick has introduced legislation to require participation in the NICS database. A review of the history of disclosure by states is posted here. More information about gun licenses is available at our Law about Guns and other Weapons page. We also have a page on the Law of Mental Health.