WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is seeking broader measures that would prohibit the mentally ill from buying and possessing firearms.
In a plan unveiled Friday, the Justice Department is requesting that current prohibitions related to mental illness be extended to those found incompetent to stand trial, people found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect and others "lacking mental responsibility."
The Justice Department's "revised definition,'' Attorney General Eric Holder said in a written statement, seeks to clarify current rules that prohibit gun sales to those who have been adjudicated as mentally defective or committed to a mental institution.
"We are taking an important, commonsense step to clarify the federal firearms regulations, which will strengthen our ability to keep dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands," Holder said. "This step will provide clear guidance on who is prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law for reasons related to mental health, enabling America's brave law enforcement and public safety officials to better protect the American people and ensure the safety of our homes and communities''
At the same time, the Department of Health & Human Services issued a related proposal to that would modify privacy rules that may be blocking some states from providing the FBI's National Instant Check System with the information about people who may be prohibited from possessing guns because of mental illness.
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