Report On Mental Health Records Shows Critical Need To Strengthen Brady System
Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, issued the following statement about the announcement by Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey that the states have doubled the number of disqualifying mental health records submitted to the Brady background check system:
"While good news, yesterday's report emphasizes the critical need to get all relevant records into the Brady background check system. We're a long way from getting all the records into the system that need to be there. The total number of records of those disqualified from purchasing guns because of being dangerously mentally ill is less than 20% of the at least 2.6 million such records that ought to be in the system. Ninety percent of the new records came from a single state, California. And while the Attorney General said that the number of states submitting records climbed to 32, that means 18 states still submit no records at all. That's an embarrassing bottom line.
"On October 16, the six-month anniversary of the Virginia Tech tragedy, more than a dozen family members of Virginia Tech shooting victims appeared at a news conference at the Capitol to urge completion of work on legislation that would give the states new and powerful incentives to solve this problem. The House passed the bill in June but the Senate has not acted. We urge Congress to immediately finish work on this critical public safety legislation.
"The Virginia Tech shooter should have been stopped -- twice -- when he went to purchase firearms. Every day that passes without this legislation being enacted, dangerous individuals are able to buy guns and the safety of everyone is threatened."
As the nation's largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence, the Brady Campaign, with its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, works to enact and enforce sensible gun laws, regulations and public policies. The Brady Campaign is devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.