Houston: As the US debates its gun control laws, Louisiana`s Indian American Governor Bobby Jindal is seeking a law that will keep guns out of hands of the mentally ill while allowing other citizens to own weapons.
In an effort to reduce gun-related deaths and injury, Jindal says he will seek legislation to improve gun safety in Louisiana by enabling the state to report to the federally administered National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database an individual`s eligibility to purchase firearms based on mental health records.
The "relief from disabilities" provision will protect the rights of healthy, law-abiding citizens and allow Louisiana to utilise federal funding for NICS.
Similar laws exist in Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Jindal said passage of such legislation would enhance gun safety and mental health reporting standards in Louisiana.
"Too often, both in Louisiana and in states across the nation, the mentally ill are slipping through the cracks and getting lost in the system," Jindal said in a statement.
"In order to protect these individuals and the communities they reside in, it is imperative that (we) define situations where mental health eligibility must be reported and when a person would be disqualified from purchasing a firearm," he said.
The Governor said the determination about disqualification would be made by a court on the basis of laid out criteria.
"Criteria will include whether or not a person is deemed to be a danger to himself, herself or others as a result of mental illness; whether or not a person is deemed incapable of managing his or her own affairs; whether or not a person has been found not guilty by reason of insanity or other mental disease or defect in a criminal case; whether or not a person has been found guilty but insane in a criminal case; whether or not a person has been found incompetent to stand trial; and whether or a not a person has been formally and involuntarily committed to a mental institution or asylum".
The law would define situations when the state may request to have an individual deemed competent by health care professionals removed from the NICS database.