RI panel mulls use of mental records in gun checks

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A panel created by Rhode Island lawmakers is continuing its review of ways to use mental health records in firearm background checks.

The task force is scheduled to meet Thursday at the Statehouse. It's looking at why the state currently doesn't provide mental health records to the national firearm background check system.

While most states already provide the records, the practice is prohibited in Rhode Island by state medical privacy laws. Lawmakers say they want to find a way to prevent dangerous, mentally unstable individuals from getting guns without stigmatizing common mental illnesses like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

The commission includes lawmakers, law enforcement officials, gun rights advocates and mental health experts. It is expected to report its findings to the General Assembly within a few months.

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