Probate Court Creates Database of People Ineligible to Own Guns
The state probate court administrator this summer expects to complete a database of people who have had their eligibility to own guns revoked by the courts for mental health reasons in the last 14 years.
The system has been in the works since 2011 when the state began receiving grant funding from the federal government to improve its court and law enforcement record keeping. It’s designed to aid authorities in conducting background checks on the mental health history of people seeking to buy guns. The information will be updated daily and available to applicable state and federal agencies, according to a press release.
The project is designed to include mental health adjudications from the state’s civil and criminal courts. For probate courts, the database will include records of people who have been committed to a mental health treatment facility or have been appointed an involuntary conservator. For criminal courts, the database captures individuals who have been found not guilty of crimes by reason of insanity or have otherwise been found incompetent to stand trial.
The database is designed to ease data-sharing between government agencies, a process that has been complicated by incompatible and outdated software, the press release said. Anne C. McKinney, a former probate judge supervising the project, said the system will ensure accurate data is available to law enforcement officials quickly.
When it’s completed, the state will easily be able to share records between the courts, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection’s Special Licensing and Firearms Unit, and the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, according to the press release.
“The goal of the project is to improve the completeness, automation and, very importantly, the transmission of mental health and court records used by federal and state law-enforcement authorities in conducting and reporting firearms eligibility determinations,” McKinney said.
Individuals seeking to have their firearm eligibility reinstated can petition the probate court system. If the courts restore an individual’s eligibility, that person’s name will be removed from the database, the press release said.