The Obama administration on Friday proposed two new executive actions to make it easier for states to provide mental health information to the national background check system, wading back into the gun control debate after a months-long hiatus.
Vice President Biden’s office announced the proposals Friday afternoon. Both pertain to the ability of states to provide information about the mentally ill and those seeking mental health treatment to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
One proposal would formally give permission to states to submit “the limited information necessary to help keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands,” without having to worry about the privacy provisions in a law known as HIPAA.
“The proposed rule will not change the fact that seeking help for mental health problems or getting treatment does not make someone legally prohibited from having a firearm,” the statement said. “Furthermore, nothing in the proposed rule would require reporting on general mental health visits or other routine mental health care, or would exempt providers solely performing these treatment services from existing privacy rules.”