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Possession of a Firearm by the Mentally Ill

Possession of Firearms by People With Mental Illness

1/13/2013

GunPossession of a firearm by the mentally ill is regulated by both state and federal laws.

Federal Law

Under 18 U.S.C. § 922(d), it is unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person “has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution.” 

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State Laws
Arizona Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§13-3101-02 Arizona prohibits possession of a firearm by any person who:
  • Has been found to constitute a danger to himself or herself or others pursuant to court order under section 36-540, and whose right to possess a firearm has not been restored pursuant to section 13-925.
Arkansas Ark. Code §5-73-103 No person shall possess or own any firearm if he or she has been:
  • Adjudicated mentally ill; or
  • Committed involuntarily to any mental institution.
California Cal. Welfare and Inst. Code §§ 8100 - 8108 A person is barred from possessing, purchasing, receiving, attempting to purchase or receive, or having control or custody of any firearms if the person:
  • Has been admitted to a facility and is receiving in-patient treatment for a mental illness and the attending mental health professional opines that the patient is a danger to self or others. This prohibition applies even if the person has consented to the treatment, although the prohibition ends as soon as the patient is discharged from the facility;
  • Has been adjudicated to be a danger to others as a result of a mental disorder or mental illness or has been adjudicated to be a mentally disordered sex offender. This prohibition does not apply, however, if the court of adjudication issues, upon the individual’s release from treatment or at a later date, a certificate stating that the person may possess a firearm without endangering others;
  • Has been found not guilty by reason of insanity of enumerated violent felonies. A person who is found not guilty by reason of insanity of other crimes is barred from possessing firearms unless a court finds that the person has recovered his or her sanity;
  • Has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial, unless there is a subsequent finding that the person has become competent;
  • Is currently under a court-ordered conservatorship because he or she is gravely disabled as a result of a mental disorder or impaired by chronic alcoholism
 
A person shall not have in his or her possession or under his or her custody or control, or purchase or receive, or attempt to purchase or receive, any firearms whatsoever or any other deadly weapon for a period of six months whenever he or she communicates to a licensed psychotherapist a serious threat of physical violence against a reasonably identifiable victim or victims. Licensed psychotherapists are required to immediately report to a local law enforcement agency the identity of a person who has communicated a serious threat of violence against a reasonably identifiable victim or victims (see § 8105(c)).
Connecticut Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-217c a person may not obtain a handgun eligibility certificate if he or she:
  • Has been discharged from custody within the preceding twenty years after having been found not guilty of a crime due to mental disease or defect pursuant to section 53a-13;
  • Has been confined in a mental hospital for persons with psychiatric disabilities within the preceding 12 months by order of a probate court.
Delaware Del. Code tit. 11, §1448 Delaware prohibits the purchase, ownership, possession or control of a firearm or ammunition by any person:
  • Ever committed for a mental disorder to any hospital, mental institution or sanitarium, unless the person possesses a certificate from a medical doctor or psychiatrist licensed in Delaware stating that the person is no longer suffering from a mental disorder which interferes or handicaps the person from handling deadly weapons.
District of Columbia D.C. Code § 7-2502.03 To obtain a registration certificate, an applicant must pass a background check conducted by the Chief of Police (this is in addition to the NICS check required by Brady when purchasing from a federally licensed dealer). Section 7-2502.03 requires that the Chief confirm that the applicant:
  • Within the 5 years immediately preceding the application, has not been acquitted of any criminal charge by reason of insanity or has not been adjudicated a chronic alcoholic by any court;
  • Within the 5 years immediately preceding the application, has not been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to any mental hospital or institution.
Florida Fla. Stat. §790.065 and §790.06 Follows federal law regarding gun sales.
Florida will not issue a license to carry a concealed weapon if the applicant:
  • Has been committed to a mental institution under Chapter 394, or similar laws of any other state, unless the applicant produces a certificate from a licensed psychiatrist stating that he or she has not suffered from disability for at least five years prior to the date of submission of the application.
Georgia Ga. Code §16-11-129 Licenses will not be issued to any person:
  • Who has been hospitalized as an inpatient in any mental hospital or alcohol or drug treatment center within five years of the date of his or her application.
Hawaii Haw. Rev. Stat. §134-7 no person shall own, possess or control any firearm or ammunition if the person:
  • Has been acquitted of a crime on the grounds of mental disease, disorder, or defect; or is or has been diagnosed as having a significant behavioral, emotional, or mental disorder, or for treatment for organic brain syndromes;
  • Is a minor who: 1) Is or has been under treatment for addiction to any dangerous drug, intoxicating compound, or intoxicating liquor; or 2) Has been determined not to have been responsible for a criminal act or has been committed to any institution on account of a mental disease, disorder, or defect; or
  • Is or has been diagnosed as having a significant behavioral, emotional, or mental disorders as defined by the most current diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association or for treatment for organic brain syndromes
unless the person has been medically documented to be no longer adversely affected by the addiction, abuse, dependence, mental disease, disorder, or defect.
Idaho Idaho Code § 18-3302(1) A license to carry a concealed weapon shall be issued to an applicant unless he or she is currently suffering, or has been adjudicated as, based on substantial evidence:
  • Lacking mental capacity, per Idaho Code Ann. § 18-210;
  • Mentally ill, per section 66-317;
  • Gravely disabled, per section 66-317;
  • An incapacitated person, per section 15-5-101(a).
Illinois Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 720, §5/24-3.1 A person commits the offense of unlawful possession of firearms or firearm ammunition when:
  • He has been a patient in a mental hospital within the past 5 years and has any firearms or firearm ammunition in his possession; or
  • He is mentally retarded and has any firearms or firearm ammunition in his possession.
Indiana Ind. Code §35-47-2-7 a person may not transfer a handgun to an individual who the person has reasonable cause to believe:
  • Is mentally incompetent.
Iowa Iowa Code §724.15 Any person who acquires ownership of any pistol or revolver shall first obtain an annual permit.  An annual permit shall be issued to any person unless:
  • Is prohibited by federal law from shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving a firearm.
Kansas Kans. Stat. §21-4204 prohibits any person from possessing a firearm if he or she:
  • Is or has been a mentally ill person subject to involuntary commitment for care and treatment as defined in section 59-2946, or a person with an alcohol or substance abuse problem subject to involuntary commitment for care and treatment as defined in section 59-29B46, unless he or she has received a "certificate of restoration."
Louisiana La. Rev. Stat. §40:1379.3 applicants must not:
  • Suffer from “mental or physical infirmity due to disease, illness, or retardation” which prevents the safe handling of a handgun;
  • have been adjudicated to be mentally deficient or been committed to a mental institution.
Maine Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 15, §393 A person may not own, possess or have under that person's control a firearm if he or she has been convicted of committing, or found not criminally responsible by reason of insanity of committing certain enumerated crimes.
Maryland Md. Pub. Safety Code § 5-133 A person may not possess a regulated firearm if the person:
  • suffers from a mental disorder as defined in § 10-101(f)(2) of the Health - General Article and has a history of violent behavior against the person or another, unless the person has a physician's certificate that the person is capable of possessing a regulated firearm without undue danger to the person or to another; 
  • has been confined for more than 30 consecutive days to a facility as defined in § 10-101 of the Health - General Article, unless the person has a physician's certificate that the person is capable of possessing a regulated firearm without undue danger to the person or to another.
Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 140, §131 A Class A or B license to carry a firearm may be issued, unless the applicant:
  • Has been confined to any hospital or institution for mental illness, unless the applicant submits a physician’s affidavit attesting that he or she is familiar with the applicant and that the applicant is not disabled by such an illness in a manner that would prevent him or her from possessing a firearm
Michigan Mich. Comp. Laws §28.422 A person shall not purchase, carry, possess, or transport a pistol in this state without first having obtained a license for the pistol as prescribed in this section.
 
A person may qualify for a license if he or she:
  • Has not been adjudged insane or legally incapacitated and is not under an order of involuntary commitment in an inpatient or outpatient setting due to mental illness
Minnesota Minn. Stat. § 624.713 Prohibits firearm possession by a person who:
  • Is, or has ever been, confined to a treatment facility as a person who is mentally ill, mentally retarded or mentally ill and dangerous to the public, or who has ever been found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of mental illness, unless there is satisfactory proof that the person no longer suffers from this disability.
Mississippi Miss. Stat. Rev. § 45-9-101 A license to carry concealed handguns must be issued by the Department of Public Safety (DPS), pursuant to section 45-9-101(2), if the applicant:
  • Has not been adjudicated mentally incompetent, or has waited five years from the date of his or her restoration of mental capacity by court order;
  • Has not been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to a mental institution or mental health treatment facility unless he or she possesses a certificate from a psychiatrist licensed in Mississippi stating that he or she has not suffered from disability for a period of five years.
Missouri Mo. Rev. Stat. §571.070 A person commits the crime of unlawful possession of a firearm if such person knowingly has any firearm in his or her possession and is currently adjudged as mentally incompetent.
Montana Mont. Code §45-8-321 A permit to carry a concealed weapon  may be denied to a person who:
  • Has been adjudicated in any state or federal court to be mentally ill, defective, or disabled, and remains subject to a disposition order.
Nebraska Neb. Rev. Stat. §69-2433 an applicant for a permit to carry a concealed handgun must:
  • Not have been found in the previous ten years to be a mentally ill and dangerous person and not be currently adjudged mentally incompetent.
Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. §202.360 Prohibits any person from owning or possessing a firearm if he or she:
  • Has been adjudicated mentally ill or has been committed to any mental health facility
New Jersey N.J. Rev. Stat. §2c:58-3 No handgun purchase permit or firearms purchaser identification card shall be issued:
  • to any person who is confined for a mental disorder to a hospital, mental institution or sanitarium, or to any person who is presently an habitual drunkard;
  • to any person who has ever been confined for a mental disorder, or to any alcoholic unless any of the foregoing persons produces a certificate of a medical doctor or psychiatrist licensed in New Jersey, or other satisfactory proof, that he is no longer suffering from that particular disability in such a manner that would interfere with or handicap him in the handling of firearms.
New Mexico N.M. Stat. §29-19-4 The New Mexico Department of Public Safety shall issue a license to an applicant who:
  • Has not been adjudicated mentally incompetent or committed to a mental institution.
New York N.Y. Pen. Law §400.00; SB 2230 (2013) No person shall be issued a license to carry, possess or dispose of a firearm unless he or she:
  •  Who has stated whether he or she has ever suffered any mental illness;
  • Who has not been involuntarily committed to a facility under the jurisdiction of an office of the department of mental hygiene pursuant to article nine or fifteen of the mental hygiene law, article seven hundred thirty or section 330.20 of the criminal procedure law, section four hundred two or five hundred eight of the correction law, section 322.2 or 353.4 of the family court act, or has not been civilly confined in a secure treatment facility pursuant to article ten of the mental hygiene law
North Carolina N.C. Gen. Stat. §14-404 no person may obtain a permit to purchase a handgun if he or she:
  • Has been adjudicated mentally incompetent or been committed to a mental institution
North Dakota N.D. Cent. Code §62.1-02 A person who is or has ever been diagnosed and confined or committed to a hospital or other institution in this state or elsewhere by a court of competent jurisdiction, other than a person who has had the petition that provided the basis for the diagnosis, confinement, or commitment dismissed under section 25-03.1-17, 25-03.1-18, or 25-03.1-19, or equivalent statutes of another jurisdiction, as a mentally ill person as defined in section 25-03.1-02, or as a mentally deficient person as defined in section 25-01-01, is prohibited from purchasing a firearm or having one in possession or under control. This limitation does not apply to a person who has not suffered from the disability for the previous three years.
Ohio Ohio Rev. Stat. §2923.125 No person shall acquire, have, carry or use any firearm if he or she:
  • Is under adjudication for mental incompetence, has been adjudicated as a mental defective, committed to a mental institution, found to be mentally ill subject to hospitalization by court order, or is an involuntary mentally ill patient.
Oklahoma Okla. Stat. §21-1289.10 Oklahoma prohibits knowingly transferring a firearm to:
  • A mentally or emotionally unbalanced person.
Oregon O.R.S. §166.250 No person shall possess a firearm if he or she:
  • Was committed to the Oregon Health Authority under ORS 426.130;
  • Was found to be mentally ill and subject to an order under ORS 426.130 that the person be prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm as a result of that mental illness; or
  • Has been found guilty except for insanity under ORS 161.295 of a felony.
Pennsylvania Pa. Con Stat. tit. 18, §6105(c) no person shall possess a firearm if
  • A person who has been adjudicated as incompetent or involuntarily committed to a mental institution;
Rhode Island R.I. Gen. Laws §11-47-6 No person who is under guardianship or treatment or confinement by virtue of being a mental incompetent, …shall purchase, own, carry, transport, or have in his or her possession or under his or her control any firearm. Any person affected by the provisions of this section, other than a person who has been pronounced criminally insane by competent medical authority, after the lapse of a period of five years from the date of being pronounced cured by competent medical authority, may, upon presentation of an affidavit issued by competent medical authority to the effect that he or she is a mentally stable person and a proper person to possess firearms, make application for the purchase of the firearm(s).
South Carolina S.C. Code §§16-23-30, 44-23-1080 no person shall possess or acquire a handgun if he or she:
  • Has been adjudicated mentally incompetent
 
In addition, patients and prisoners under the jurisdiction of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health may not have access to firearms.
South Dakota S.D. Codified Laws §23-7-7.1 the sheriff of the county in which the applicant resides shall issue a permit to carry a concealed weapon if the applicant:
  • Has not been found in the previous ten years to be a “danger to others” or a “danger to self” as defined in section 27A-1-1, or is not currently adjudged mentally incompetent;
Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1351 Permits will not be issued to any person who has not been adjudicated as a mental defective, has not been judicially committed to or hospitalized in a mental institution pursuant to title 33, has not had a court appoint a conservator for the applicant by reason of a mental defect, has not been judicially determined to be disabled by reason of mental illness, developmental disability or other mental incapacity, and has not, within seven years from the date of application, been found by a court to pose an immediate substantial likelihood of serious harm, as defined in title 33, chapter 6, part 5, because of mental illness.
Texas Tex. Gov’t Code §411.172 A person is ineligible for a license to carry a concealed weapon if the person:
(1)  has been diagnosed by a licensed physician as suffering from a psychiatric disorder or condition that causes or is likely to cause substantial impairment in judgment, mood, perception, impulse control, or intellectual ability;
(2)  suffers from a psychiatric disorder or condition described by Subdivision (1) that: (A) is in remission but is reasonably likely to redevelop at a future time; or (B) requires continuous medical treatment to avoid redevelopment;
(3)  has been diagnosed by a licensed physician, determined by a review board or similar authority, or declared by a court to be incompetent to manage the person's own affairs; or
(4)  has entered in a criminal proceeding a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.
 
The following constitutes evidence that a person has a psychiatric disorder or condition described by section (1), above:
(1)  involuntary psychiatric hospitalization;
(2)  psychiatric hospitalization;
(3)  inpatient or residential substance abuse treatment in the preceding five-year period;
(4)  diagnosis in the preceding five-year period by a licensed physician that the person is dependent on alcohol, a controlled substance, or a similar substance; or
(5)  diagnosis at any time by a licensed physician that the person suffers or has suffered from a psychiatric disorder or condition consisting of or relating to:
(A)  schizophrenia or delusional disorder;
(B)  bipolar disorder;
(C)  chronic dementia, whether caused by illness, brain defect, or brain injury;
(D)  dissociative identity disorder;
(E)  intermittent explosive disorder; or
(F)  antisocial personality disorder.
Utah Utah Code §53-5-704 An individual over the age of 21 may be issued a permit to carry a concealed firearm for lawful self defense, unless:
  • he has been adjudicated by a state or federal court as mentally incompetent, unless the adjudication has been withdrawn or reversed.
Virginia Va. Code §§18.2-308.1:2-:3 Prohibits the:
  • Purchase, possession or transportation of any firearm by any person adjudicated "legally incompetent," "mentally incapacitated," or "incapacitated," whose competency or capacity has not been restored
  • Purchase, possession or transportation of a firearm by a person who has been involuntarily committed, during the period of commitment
Washington Wash. Rev. Code §9.41.040 no person may own, possess, or have in his or her control any firearm, if that person:
  • Has been involuntarily committed for mental health treatment, and their right to own a firearm has not been restored.
West Virginia W. Va. Code §61-7-7 No person shall possess a firearm if he or she
  • Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been involuntarily committed to a mental institution.
Wisconsin Wis. Stat. §941.29 DOJ shall not approve any handgun transfer:
  • Found not guilty of a felony in Wisconsin by reason of mental disease or defect;
  • Found not guilty or not responsible for a crime elsewhere that would be a felony in Wisconsin by reason of insanity or mental disease, defect or illness;
  • Committed to a treatment facility (because the individual is mentally ill, drug dependent or developmentally disabled) and ordered not to possess a firearm.
Wyoming Wyo. Stat. §6-8-404 To possess a personal firearm, a firearm accessory or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in Wyoming and that remains exclusively within the borders of Wyoming, a person shall:
  • Not currently be adjudicated to be legally incompetent; and
  • Not have been committed to a mental institution.
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