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Achieve Retroactive Reporting of Federally Prohibiting Mental Health Commitments

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $407,397)

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).

Pursuant to state legislation enacted in 2010, Iowa began reporting disqualifying mental health related orders and judgments issued on or after Jan. 1, 2011, to the NICS. In April of 2011, additional state legislation was enacted to authorize reporting of available disqualifying mental health orders and judgments issued prior January 1, 2011. This legislation included what is sometimes referred to as the "retroactive reporting" provision. To date, the "retroactive reporting" provision has not been fully implemented due technological and resource barriers. Under this award, the Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS) will use funds to identify, review, and verify mental health related court cases that have resulted in the issuance of an Order of Commitment. Where such cases lack required information, such as date of birth, records will need to be reviewed to determine if such information can be obtained from supporting documentation. Identifying information about persons involuntarily committed prior to Jan. 1, 2011, can only be submitted after a thorough review and verification to ensure that identifying information is accurate and to ensure that an Order of Commitment has been entered, as many cases are opened but do not result in an commitment order and thus does not meet the criteria to prohibit a person from purchasing a firearm. All mental health cases opened between 1991-2011 will be reviewed and those meeting the criteria will be forwarded to NICS for inclusion in the mental health file in the NICS Index. (CA/NCF)

Date Created: September 5, 2014