Despite recent progress in some states, millions of mental-health records are missing from the national database that gun dealers use to run background checks on potential buyers, reports the WSJ.
This news comes amid reports that gun stores across the country can't keep up with the increased demand for weapons in the wake of the Newton shootings.
States were first required to submit these records to the database in the 1990's, but in 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that adding cases to the information bank was optional. Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an advocacy group headed by Michael Bloomberg, said that 19 states had fewer than 100 records filed.
The NYT reports:
Rainier Arms, a gun dealer in Auburn, Wash., receives great Yelp reviews for its responsiveness. But a call to the dealer on Friday led to a full voice mail box, and an e-mail to its sales team drew this automatic response: “Thank you for contacting Rainier Arms for your AR-15 needs. Due to an overwhelming response to the latest political climate, we are experiencing longer-than-normal response times.”
At Bud’s Gun Shop in Maryland, a message on the Web site said that customer service was “completely overwhelmed” and it discouraged customers from calling or e-mailing.
And on GunBroker.com, an Oracle .223 that normally retails for around $650 had been bid up to $1,175 with three days left in the auction.
And Walmart, the largest retailer of guns and ammunition in the United States, indicated that several semiautomatic guns were out of stock at locations across the country, and some stores had low inventory.
"Cerberus Capital Management put the company that makes the Bushmaster, a gun used in the shootings, up for sale on Tuesday, saying, “The Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level.”
"Dick’s Sporting Goods temporarily ceased selling all guns in its location closest to Newtown, and has also put a hold on sales of so-called modern sporting rifles, which include semiautomatic guns, nationwide."
And Deseret Digital Media, which owns KSL.com, a Web site that has been criticized by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for allowing unregulated gun sales, said it was suspending classified advertisements for guns.
Corporations with some sense of business ethics, who knew?