Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2013, $159,627)
The NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, Pub. L. 110-180 ("NICS Improvement Act"), was signed into law by the President on January 8, 2008. The NICS Improvement Act amends the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 ("the Brady Act") (Pub. L. 103-159), under which the Attorney General established the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The Brady Act requires Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to contact the NICS before transferring a firearm to an unlicensed person for information on whether the proposed transferee is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm under state or federal law. The NICS Improvement Act authorizes grants to be made in a manner consistent with the National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP).
Under this award, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) will subaward funds to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) to develop an automated data reporting system to transmit mental health information on persons prohibited from possessing firearms to the NICS. Specifically, these funds will be used to build a DHMH-maintained database that collects information on persons prohibited from possessing firearms for mental health reasons and connects to a statewide hub that is maintained by DPSCS. This database will streamline the process for reporting mental health information to the DPSCS hub. Staff hours will be devoted to developing an electronic form, which will be used by all state mental institutions and private hospitals to report data to the DHMH database in real time. The DPSCS hub will transmit this data to NICS. When individuals successfully petition the court to have their ability to purchase firearms restored, the DHMH database will transmit that information to the DPSCS hub, and those names will be removed from the NICS index. Funds will also be used to purchase hardware and secure software to ensure that the DHMH database has sufficient capacity to store information reported to the DPSCS hub. The DHMH database will have a data analysis function that can be used to query the system and generate reports to monitor compliance with the reporting of disqualifying mental health data.