A Senate judiciary committee approved legislation today that could prevent those involuntarily committed with serious mental illness from purchasing or possessing guns.
"People with severe mental illnesses should not be able to purchase a gun — it's as simple as that— and this is a process to accomplish that," said N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper.
The legislation, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand of Fayetteville, comes after a student at Virginia Tech opened fire on April 16, 2007, and killed 32 students and faculty before killing himself, Dan Kane reports.
That student, Seung-Hui Cho, had been involuntarily committed to outpatient treatment by a court order, but he escaped being listed on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, thereby allowing him to purchase handguns.
The shootings exposed what Cooper said is a big loophole in North Carolina law. State courts are not required to notify the national registry of involuntary commitment orders.
More after the jump.