West Virginia Seeks Legislation for More In-Depth Screening for Gun Buyers

CHARLESTON, W. Va.—Governor Joe Manchin seeks to strengthen the screening process of gun buyers. He will propose legislation to have mental health records released to a national database, the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System in Clarksburg, which screens potential gun buyers.

Despite federal law prohibiting gun sales to anyone deemed mentally ill, the majority of states, including West Virginia, do not supply the mental health records to the necessary national database to enforce the law.

After the massacre at Virginia Tech in April, states are cracking down on screening for people who want to buy guns. According to the Associated Press , the gunman in that massacre, Cho Sueng-Hui, was able to purchase a Glock 9mm handgun in Roanoke, Va., despite the fact that he was declared mentally ill in 2005.

Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine has signed an executive order to pass on mental health information to the national database. Manchin, however, must wait for a vote for his law to be passed.

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