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Thursday, May 3, 2007


The House of Representatives on May 1 voted 154-6 to give the Missouri State Highway Patrol more access to court records identifying people as mentally ill so the patrol may check them against gun ownership and sales records. The move follows last month’s mass murders at Virginia Tech University by a gunman a judge had ruled was dangerous.

Those whom a court has found to be mentally ill are barred from owning or purchasing guns. Background checks, however, sometimes miss mentally ill buyers because court records related to mental illness aren’t always forwarded to law enforcement agencies. Such was the case with the Virginia Tech gunman.

The House added the provision to SB 62, which also would shield Missourians from prosecution if they use deadly force to protect their home. A final version of the bill must be worked out between the chambers before it can be passed into law.

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