Strong majority oppose sending mental health data to background check system - 493 participants

Jul 11, 2016

The New Hampshire Attorney General is interpreting state law in a way that requires courts to share information about mental illness with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Attorney General Joe Foster based his decision on a little-known amendment to this year’s Medicaid expansion bill, HB 1696. Read more about this issue. On July 11, the LFDA decided to put the issue to its Facebook members, posting the question, “Do you agree with the NH Attorney General's decision to send some mental health records to the national background check system?”

“Do you agree with the NH Attorney General's decision to send some mental health records to the national background check system?”

Results: Yes or No Respondents

Mental Health Data for Background Checks NH Citizen Voices Chart

Participation: 493 participants gave 1,096 responses

A total of 83% of those participating gave a 'yes or no' response to the question. The remaining 17% of participants engaged in the discussion but did not give a yes or no response. In total, the LFDA received 493 responses from 1,096 individuals. (Click here for details on our methodology.)

What Participants Said:

No: A strong majority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 78%, opposed sending mental health records to the national background check system.

  • “There is a well-established process for depriving an individual of their rights. It's called a trial. Without that trial, depriving an individual of their rights is tyranny.”
  • “Sharing private medical records without written consent is illegal.”
  • “Unfortunately, this is a very slippery slope and the ends just don't justify the means.”

Yes: A minority, at 22% of ‘yes or no’ respondents, were in favor of sending mental health records to the national background check system.

  • “If someone is to the point where they are involuntarily committed or found incompetent to stand trial, I really don't feel that person should own a gun. They are not only a potential danger to society, but to themselves. Why take the risk?”
  • “If you skated on a crime due to a plea of insanity, you probably don't need to be given a firearm.”
  • “The three bullet points listed by the AG are very reasonable in my view.”

Other: As noted above, 17% of those participating did not give a yes or no response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included:

  • Confusion over status of mental health records: “Isn’t there a violation of HIPPA here?”
  • The relationship between mental illness and violence: “Not all mental health patients are gonna go on a killing spree.”
  • Other policy suggestions: “Perhaps the government can develop a rating system for names submitted for a check. Yes, this person is deemed capable of handling gun ownership responsibly or no, we have reason to believe it is in the best interests of the people that this person be denied the ability to purchase a gun.”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes. 

Click here to read the full Facebook discussion of this question. 

Know someone who would be interested in these results? Forward them the summary version of this report. 

Do you think mental health records should be sent to the national background check system? Leave a comment and have your say! 

Comments

James Carroll
- Manchester

Thu, 08/04/2016 - 3:09pm

When is the last time you remember government simply existing and fulfilling the duties it was tasked with rather than trying to involve itself in every aspect of our lives?

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Related Bill

HB 1696 (2016)
Bill Status: Signed by Governor

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