Spurred by April shootings at Virginia Tech, new reporting of mental health data has doubled the number of Americans banned from purchasing guns on such grounds, Attorney General Michael Mukasey said today. Nearly 220,000 names have been added to the FBI list, highlighting the data-sharing gap that allowed shooter Seung Hui Cho to buy guns though a court deemed him mentally defective.
Of the 28 states providing data to the FBI, California was the biggest new contributor, with 200,000 names; Ohio added 7,000. Mukasey asked the remaining states to submit information, saying, "The checks must be accurate and complete to be effective." Gun sales are prohibited to those declared mentally ill by the courts; private mental health records are excluded from the database.