Gun Sales and Mental Health

A state-by-state listing and some of the history behind gun laws as related to mental illness.


Mental health laws in the United States are all over the map, and there are certainly gaps in the system. We can expect a flurry of new legislation related to the recent Virginia Tech rampage killing by a student with a history of mental illness. In the past, similar flurries are usually related to isolated incidents of violence by mentally ill individuals using firearms. Of course the media is all over these stories, referring to them as "preventable tragedies," which inevitably leads to a public outcry. Without doubt the Virginia incident will prompt state and federal government to reassess current laws.

The purpose of this article is to provide law enforcement officers and agencies with an overview of the laws state by state. Do not rely solely on the information provided, as laws frequently change and some of the information provided is from the most recent compilations, one of which is five years old. While your duties are generally covered by your department's policies and procedures codes, know that those too are invariably out of date relative to mental health laws.

Table 1 State by State: Mental Health Firearm Laws, Access to Mental Health Database, Background Checks Performed By NICS

Jurisdiction

2005 State Laws/Federal Statute Firearm Prohibitions
Related to Mental Illness

Title of Law

Mental Illness Variable in Law 2005

Access To Mental Health Database 2005

NICS POC Firearm Background Checks

Report at Least Some Mental Health Info to FBI

United States

United States Federal Gun Control Act, 18 U.S.C. § 922 1968 et seq.

Yes

Yes

N/A

N/A

Alabama

Ala Code § 13A-11-50 (2004), Criminal Code, Chapter 11, et seq.

Yes

No

NICS

No

Alaska

Alaska Stat § 11.61.190 (2004), et seq..; 18.65.710 et seq.

No

No

NICS

No

Arizona

Ariz Rev Stat Ann § 13.905 (2004),et seq.; 13-3101, et seq.

Yes

Yes

NICS

Yes

Arkansas

Ark Stat Ann § 5-73-103 (2003), et seq.

Yes

No

NICS

Yes

California

Cal Welf & Inst Code § 8100 (2004), et seq.

Yes

Yes

POC

Yes

Colorado

Col Rev Stat § 12-26.1-101 (2004), 18-12-101, et seq.; 24-33.5-424

No

No

POC

Yes

Connecticut

Conn Gen Stat § 29-27 (2003), et seq.; 53-20 class=GramE>,. et seq.; 53a-211,et seq.; 17a-500, et seq.

Yes

Yes

POC

No

Delaware

Del Code Ann title xi § 1441 (2004), et seq.; title xxii § 904A

Yes

Yes

NICS

No

D.C.

DC Code Ann § 22–4502 (2004), et seq.; 22-4505-4507

Yes

Yes

NICS

No

Florida

Fla Stat § 790.001 (2004), et seq; 493.6115 (2003)

Yes

No

POC

Yes

Georgia

Ga Code Ann § 16-11-123 (2004), et seq.; 16-11-174, et seq.

Yes

Yes

NICS

No

Hawaii

Haw Rev Stat § 134-1, et seq.

Yes

Yes

POC

No

Idaho

Idaho Code § 18-310 (2003); 18-3302 et seq.

Yes

No

NICS

No

Illinois

Ill Rev Stat 430:65 (2004), et seq.; 720:5/24-1, et seq; 725:5/112A-14

Yes

Yes

POC

No

Indiana

Ind Code Ann § 35-47-1-5 (2004) et seq.

Yes

No

NICS

No

Iowa

Iowa Code § 702.7 (2003), et seq.; 724.1, et seq.

Yes

No

Partial

Yes

Kansas

Kansas Stat Ann § 21:4201 (2003), et seq.; 75-7b17 et seq.

Yes

No

NICS

Yes

Kentucky

Ky Rev Stat Ann § 237.110 (2004), et seq.; 527.040, et seq.

Yes

No

NICS

Yes

Louisiana

La Rev Stat Ann §14:95 (2004), et seq.; § 40:1379.1, et seq.

Yes

No

NICS

No

Maine

Me Rev Stat Ann, title 15 § 393 (2003), et seq.; 17A.1052 et seq.

Yes

No

NICS

No

Maryland

Md Pub Safety Code 40:1379.1, et seq.

Yes

Yes

Partial

Yes

Massachusetts

Mass Gen L ch 140 § 129B (2004), et seq.; 269-10

Yes

Partial+

NICS

No

Michigan

Mich Comp Laws Ann § 28.422 (2004) et seq.; 750.222, et seq.

Yes

Yes

Partial

Yes

Minnesota

Minn Stat § 609.66 (2003), et seq.; 609.165, et seq.; 624.71 et seq.

Yes

Yes

NICS

No

Mississippi

Miss Code Ann § 45- 9-101 (2004), 97-37- 1, et seq.

Yes

Yes

NICS

No

Missouri

Mo Rev Stat § 471.090 (2004)

Yes

No

NICS

Yes

Montana

Mont Code Ann § 45-8-321 (2004)

Yes

No

NICS

No

Nebraska

Neb Rev Stat § 28-1201 (1991), et seq.; 69-2401, et seq.

No

Yes

Partial

No

Nevada

Nev Rev Stat § 202.253 (2004); et seq.; 202.360 et seq.

Yes

No

POC

No

New Hampshire

N H Rev Stat Ann § 159:1 (2004), et seq.

No

No

Partial

Yes

New Jersey

NJ Rev Stat § 2C:39- 1 (2004), et seq.; 2C:58–1, et seq.

Yes

Yes

POC

No

New Mexico

NM Stat Ann § 30-7- 2 (2004), et seq.

No

No

NICS

No

New York

NY Law Crim Proc § 265.00 (2004), et seq.; 400.00, et seq.

Yes

Yes

NICS

Yes

North Carolina

NC Gen Stat § 14- 269.7 (2004), et seq.; 14-402 et seq.

Yes

No

Partial

Yes

North Dakota

ND Cent Code § 62.1-01-01 (2004), et seq.

Yes

No

NICS

No

Ohio

Ohio Rev Code Ann§ 2923.11 (2004), et seq.

Yes

No

NICS

Yes

Oklahoma

Okla Stat title 21 § 1271.1 (2004), et seq.

Yes

No

NICS

No

Oregon

Or Rev Stat § 166.170 (2004), et seq.

Yes

Yes

POC

No

Pennsylvania

18 Pa Cons Stat § 6101 (2004), et seq.

Yes

Yes

POC

No

Rhode Island

RI Gen Laws § 11-47-2 (2004), et seq.

Yes

No

NICS

No

South Carolina

SC Codified Laws § 16-23-10 (2004), et seq.; 23-31-110, et seq.

Yes

No

NICS

Yes

South Dakota

SD Codified Laws § 16-23-19 (2004.), et seq; 23-31-110., et seq.

Yes

No

NICS

No

Tennessee

Tenn Penal Code Ann § 39-17-1301 (2004), et seq.

No

No

POC

Yes

Texas

Tex Penal Code Ann § 46.01 (2004) et seq.

Yes

No

NICS

No

Utah

Utah Code Ann § 53-5-704 (2004), et seq.; 76-10-501 (2004), et seq.

Yes

Yes

POC

Yes

Vermont

Vt Stat Ann § 13-4004, (2004) et seq.

No

No

NICS

No

Virginia

VA Code Ann §18.2-279 (2004), et seq.; 76-10-501, et seq.

Yes

Yes

POC

Yes

Washington

Wash Rev Code Ann § 9.41.010 (2004), et seq.

Yes

Yes

Partial

Yes

West Virginia

W Va Code § 61-7-2 (2004), et seq.

Yes

No

NICS

No

Wisconsin

Wis Stat § 175.30 (2003), et seq; 941.20, et seq.

Yes

Yes

Partial

No

Wyoming

Wyo Stat § 6-8-101 (2004), et seq.

Y

No

NICS

Yes

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