A key tool used in keeping guns out of the hands of people who should not be buying them is a database called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS. The system can be easily accessed by licensed gun dealers wanting to verify that a buyer is not prohibited from purchasing a gun because of a felony record, a history of mental illness or other reasons. But the database is spotty. Some states have no law requiring them to submit mental-health records to the database. Among states that do, specific requirements vary greatly, as does compliance with the law. Read the story.
Click on states below to read about their laws and see whether they submit mental health records to NICS. Updated March 2013.