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Mont. studies background checks for mentally ill

Published On: Sep 19 2013 01:13:03 PM MDT
GUN RIGHTS
HELENA, Mont. -

Mass shootings such as the recent Washington Navy Yard killings have prompted Montana lawmakers to look at whether the state should turn over mental illness histories for federal background checks of gun purchases.
    
Deputy Attorney General Jon Bennion told a legislative panel Thursday that his agency has fielded calls from the public and lawmakers about how Montana handles the mentally ill and background checks.
    
The state has confidentiality laws that prohibit it from turning over records for federal background checks of anybody committed to a mental institution or judged to meet the federal definition of "mentally defective."
    
Advocates from the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the American Civil Liberties Union say a person who has been successfully treated for mental illness should be able to possess a gun.