Tags: Barack Obama | Gun Control | Barack Obama | Gun Action | Allow | Doctors | Report

Obama's Gun Action Would Allow Doctors to Report Patients to FBI

Obama's Gun Action Would Allow Doctors to Report Patients to FBI
(Getty Images)

Tuesday, 05 January 2016 09:43 AM

President Barack Obama's new executive action on gun control relaxes measures intended to keep medical and mental health records private, according to multiple reports.

Obama's action would allow doctors to give the names of patients they consider mentally unstable to the FBI, according to Politico.

Federal law already prohibits Americans who have been committed to a mental institution, declared insane or mentally incompetent from owning firearms.

But under HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, some doctors are often hesitant to disclose such information. And only two-thirds of U.S. states require mandatory reporting of mental health records, according to The Hill.

The White House fact sheet on the executive action states the new law would "remove unnecessary legal barriers preventing states from reporting relevant information about people prohibited from possessing a gun for specific mental health reasons."

Paul Gionfriddo, chief executive of the mental health rights advocate Mental Health America, told Politico that the White House "has taken great pain" to limit what information can be shared with authorities.

"That could be a barn door opened quite wide if an administration really wanted to open it, and they didn't," he told Poltico.

Still, Obama's promised action on guns has come under scathing criticism by members of Congress, the NRA and GOP presidential candidates.

The president today introduced a sweeping executive action on guns, bypassing Congress and its staunch opposition to gun control.

The measures include tougher rules for those who currently sell firearms at gun shows and on the Internet without submitting buyers' names for criminal background checks, and a warning to sellers that they face criminal prosecution if they try to skirt the law.

The administration proposes hiring hundreds of new workers to modernize the background check system and to handle the additional requests for checks. In addition, Obama is requesting $500 million for new mental health research.

The initiative falls short of the broad changes in gun laws that Obama has called for in the past, which would require action by Congress.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, said in a statement that Obama "is at minimum subverting the legislative branch, and potentially overturning its will."

Material from Reuters, Bloomberg and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Headline
President Barack Obama's new executive action on gun control relaxes measures intended to keep medical and mental health records private, according to multiple reports.
Barack Obama, Gun Action, Allow, Doctors, Report, FBI
373
2016-43-05
Tuesday, 05 January 2016 09:43 AM
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