Saturday, February 19, 2011

Few states follow mental-health gun law

More than half the states are not complying with a post-Virginia Tech law that requires them to share the names of mentally ill people with the national background-check system to prevent them from buying guns, an Associated Press review has found.

The deadline for complying with the three-year-old law was last month. But nine states haven't supplied any names to the database. Seventeen others have sent in fewer than 25, meaning gun dealers around the U.S. could be running names of would-be buyers against a woefully incomplete list.

Congress has doled out only a fraction of the $1.3 billion it promised between 2009 and 2013 to help states and courts cover the costs of the 2008 law.

In fiscal year 2009, the U.S. government dispensed about $10 million to the states to comply, not the $187.5 million pledged, according to the Justice Department. A year later, $20 million was provided.

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