Local gun shop talks background checks

The Obama rule would block about 75,000 people from buying guns who were deemed mentally ill, or who were not able to manage their own benefits. It required the Social Security Administration to report such individuals, to potentially bar them from owning firearms.

Local Washington state laws required background checks for anyone interested in purchasing a firearm. Luke Gunzel works at the gun counter at Ranch and Home in Kennewick. He says the background checks do include scanning for mental illnesses.

“Washington state, when they do their background checks, it’s whatever police department or sheriff’s department that you fall under. They do a mental health background check and that’s been around for about as long as what Obama put in,” says Gunzel.

A background check requires a person’s basic information, along with a mental health screen, before being sent through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.  

“When we get a response back from the FBI, we have no idea why…so we could've gotten denies because of that reason but we're not privy to any of that information,” explains Gunzel.

The National Rifle Association and other opponents of the Obama regulation argue it discriminates against people who may suffer from mental illness, but not have violent tendencies. The measure is being sent to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.

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