A tangle of privacy laws helps prevent officials from sharing vital info about mentally ill individuals who may be dangerous, making it possible for them to buy handguns—and setting the stage for incidents like the Virginia Tech massacre. Greater awareness of the leeway officials have when safety is a concern could improve record-sharing, a high-level federal report says.
The cabinet-level report zeros in on law enforcement, medical authorities, and school officials, the Washington Post says; President Bush released a statement yesterday saying communication "must improve." Meanwhile, the House yesterday approved an NRA-backed bill to improve national background checks on gun purchases. The Senate is expected to pass the legislation, the first major gun-control measure in over a decade.