Law enforcement wants loopholes in weapons background checks end - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Law enforcement wants loopholes in weapons background checks ended

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC)- President Obama issued 23 executive orders regarding gun control one week ago, and many of them involved closing loopholes in the background check system.

Minnesota law enforcement officials want quick action on this by state legislators, specifically regarding the loopholes involving medical records.

The background check system in Minnesota is thorough enough where it contains criminal history and certain medical history as well, but there are still holes that need to be filled in order to ensure complete safety. 

Minnesota Sheriffs are pushing for change, and are hoping lawmakers are listening to their pleas.

"Never, and I mean never, should a person who has been deemed mentally ill and dangerous by the courts be allowed to purchase a handgun," says Carver County Sheriff Jim Olsen.

Loopholes that could lead to those with a history of mental illness to obtain a firearm still exist in Minnesota, even with the existing background check system.

"Eight of the nine alleged killers in mass shootings in the U.S. in 2012 had a history of mental illness or untreated mental illness," explains Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, "including the shooter at Accent Signage last October here in Minneapolis."

In Olmsted County, this could create a problem considering the record number of permit requests.

"We actually had about 1,000 that we received in a year to maybe 1,300," says Olmsted County Sheriff Dave Mueller. "Now, again, in that time frame, we're actually seeing 150 a week. So, again, we don't know if that trend will continue, but at least that's what we're experiencing now."

Sheriff Mueller echoes the sentiment from the Minnesota Sheriffs Association that something needs to be done.

"One of the things that we're experiencing in the major, serious incidents that have gone on across the nation, many of those people have had mental health-related issues and one of the things that we're really trying to do is at least making legislators aware of the potential problem that when we do that background, we're not necessarily getting the information from each of the states."

It is access to information that could protect everyone in Olmsted County and beyond.

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