Attorney General

Number on Gun-Ban List Doubles

The number of people banned from buying guns because of mental health problems has more than doubled since the Virginia Tech shootings last April.

Attorney General Michael Mukasey said in a Utah speech that the numbers have increased because of increased reporting by the states, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

The number on the FBI’s “mental defective” list now stands at nearly 400,000 people compared to 175,000 names last spring, the Washington Post reports. Most of the new names were provided by California, which identified 200,000 people who should be included on the list.

Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter, was allowed to buy two guns even though a Virginia court had ordered him to receive outpatient mental health treatment. The state did not report the information because Cho had not been committed to a hospital.

Eighteen states provide no mental health information for the FBI list under a U.S. Supreme Court decision that says states cannot be forced to provide it.

“We’re making progress,” Mukasey said in the speech, “and I hope that even more states will submit this information.”

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