Oklahoma's Open Carry bill author looking to strengthen mental health background checks for gun purchasers

Rep. Steve Martin, R-Bartlesville, said Oklahoma could do a better job of sharing its mental health records with the federal database used in background checks.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Published: December 16, 2012
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Delynn Fudge, federal grants division director for the Oklahoma District Attorney's Council, said in August that state lawmakers have been reluctant to adopt legislation that would bring the state into compliance with federal mental health reporting recommendations.

Federal and state law prohibits the sale of firearms to people who have been adjudicated by a court as mentally incompetent, but Oklahoma consistently lags behind other states in supplying mental health records to the national database used for these types of background checks, according to a 2011 report by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a national gun control advocacy group.

Fudge said state privacy laws and the lack of an integrated court management system keep most of these records from being shared with the agencies that conduct background checks.

That may change in 2013, Martin said Saturday.

With the backing of the District Attorney's Council and the local chapter of the National Rifle Association, he said he's developing a bill now that would permit the sharing of these records for federal background checks.

“The language has not been fully drafted and so I don't want to go into detail, but yes, it is legislation that would make it easier for those making a decision about who should be able to buy a gun,” he said.

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