States not sharing mental health records with gun database

Fifteen states have each submitted fewer than 100 mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, used when conducting investigations of potential gun buyers, according to a new report published by the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition, the Providence Journal has reported. The failure to share such records leaves "dangerous gaps in the database," according to an announcement from the coalition touting the report.

In September, an amendment to HIPAA was sent to the Office of Management and Budget that would soften privacy regulations that prevent states from reporting patient information to the database. Leon Rodriguez, director of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office for Civil Rights, said following an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking for the amendment last spring that NICS was "not a mental health registry," and that the rulemaking process would not turn it into one.

Several health organizations, including the American Medical Association, raised concerns about the proposed amendment after it initially was made public in April. Article

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