Mental Health Adjudication
In the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting tragedy on April 16, 2007, Congress passed the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (“The Act”). The Act gives states greater incentives to submit records to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding individuals who are prohibited from purchasing firearms. Indiana judges and clerks now have the ability to electronically send information to the FBI about individuals who may be prohibited from possessing a firearm. The ultimate goal is to make this information available to other states.
A new Indiana law requiring the courts to electronically provide the mental health data to the FBI was enacted July 1, 2009. Public Law 110-2009 requires the Indiana Supreme Court’s Division of State Court Administration to establish and administer an electronic system for receiving information that relates to certain individuals who may be prohibited from possessing a firearm. It also requires the Division to transmit the information to the FBI so it can be included in the federal NICS.
Court Technology developed the technology for Indiana trial courts to notify the Division of State Court Administration about individuals who fall under six categories that make them ineligible to possess a firearm. The categories are legally defined by Indiana code, but generally include the following individuals:
- A person who has been civilly committed (does not include commitments for evaluation or observation.)
- A person who has been found mentally ill and dangerous or gravely disabled.
- A person who has been found guilty but mentally ill.
- A person who has been found not responsible by reason of insanity.
- A person who has been found incompetent to stand trial.
- A person who has been found not guilty by reason of lack of mental responsibility (according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.)
How It Works
Using INcite, the Court enters the case number, name of the individual to be reported, at least one numeric identifier, and any other identifying characteristics they may have into the Mental Health Adjudication application. No medical information is included.
An electronic record of the information is created and transmitted to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database. NICS extracts their data from the NCIC database.
Licensed dealers are required by law to notify NICS when any individual attempts to purchase a firearm. If the individual has been reported to NICS by the Mental Health Adjudication application, the purchase will be denied.
Benefits of Mental Health Adjudication
- Helps keep citizens safer, by keeping guns out of the hands of individuals who shouldn't have them. National view of "disqualified" individuals means the individual can't go to another state to purchase a firearm.
- Brings Indiana into compliance with Federal reporting requirements.
For more information, contact LaJuan Epperson at firstname.lastname@example.org, 317.234.2870 or (toll free) 888.275.5822.