Massive Loopholes in Background Check System

The Senate held a hearing Tuesday to review firearm background check loopholes. We know about the gun show loophole through which private dealers can sell guns to anyone irrespective of whether they have itchy trigger figures or are organizing a militia.

Chris Brown reports on another major loophole:

Less well known is the failure of states to add mental health records to the system. In the aftermath of the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting, it was revealed that shooter Seung Hui Cho had passed two background checks and purchased multiple guns despite a court ruling that should have prohibited him from buying a firearm. But Cho's records were never added to the background check system. Cho wasn't alone; millions of records identifying dangerously mentally ill people and drug abusers have not been added to the database.

In Arizona, for example, where the Tucson massacre took place, only five percent of the state's mental health records have been uploaded into the system. That's around 100,000 records.

The Senate hearings will determine whether to pass the Fix Gun Checks Act, which will close this loophole and require background checks for all purchases regardless of origin. Shooting survivors and families of victims -- 60 total -- will be testifying in support of the law.

(This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters’ mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.)