What You Need to Know:  Questions have been swirling around the transparency of mental health information shared during firearm purchases after a tragic incident at New Hampshire Hospital. A former patient at the facility opened fire earlier this month, resulting in the death of a security guard. Despite persistent inquiries it’s not clear if any mental health information is reported, and there are no state guidelines about what can be reported or who should be the one doing the reporting. When someone buys a gun, dealers are mandated to conduct background checks using the NICS database. But the critical question remains: What mental health information is accessible during these checks?  One of the questions a gun purchaser has to answer is whether they  have ever been committed to a mental institution.  In spite of the 2016 New Hampshire statute intended to bring clarity to mental health reporting, there was a dispute over that statute. According to a former county prosecutor there is no law with regards to any type of mental health reporting into the background check system.  Lawmakers expressed concerns about the lack of mandatory reporting on mental health status, highlighting the absence of relevant discussions on gun violence prevention.  The Department of Safety, which oversees the state’s background check process, said its staff “reviews the records for all state and federal disqualifiers in order to make a determination on the eligibility of the purchaser.”  Yet, there remains uncertainty about whether these employees have access to mental health-related information from relevant facilities or probate courts. Although the NICS system encourages states to identify people unfit to possess firearms, records show 683 entries for people in New Hampshire who have been identified as people who shouldn’t own a firearm, but it’s unclear why.  Why You Need To Know  The stigma! Most violence and most gun violence has absolutely no relationship to mental illness! Lawmakers who blame mass shootings on mental illness are misleading, counterproductive and cruel! According to recent studies only 4% of violence in the U.S  was attributable to mental illness, which means we are still left with 96% of the violence in this country… But people are not talking about universal background checks or getting rid of assault weapons. They’re not talking about things that would really be effective in terms of reducing the number of mass shootings that happen every year. (SOURCE: WMUR.COM)