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Virginia executive order closes gun law loophole after VA Tech shootings

[JURIST] Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine [official website] issued an executive order [text; press release] Monday closing the loophole [JURIST report] that allowed Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho to purchase a firearm despite having been ordered [text] to receive psychiatric treatment by a Virginia court in 2005. The executive order amends Virginia law so that any person who has received involuntary outpatient or inpatient mental health care will be prohibited from purchasing a firearm by having their name and record placed in a database. Previously, only those receiving inpatient mental health care were to be listed in the database, which allowed Seung-Hui Cho to bypass the screening process. A federal law [18 USC 922 (g)(4) text] prohibits persons "who have been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution" from possessing or receiving "any firearm or ammunition."

Legislation to improve enforcement [HR 297 backgrounder] of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) [FBI backgrounder] has been introduced in the House of Representatives the past three terms, but has never become law. AP has more.

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