Mentally Ill and Guns: Seeking Solutions

Sheriff Rich Stanek says background checks on gun purchasers are "America's dirty little secret."
3:00 | 02/08/13

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Transcript for Mentally Ill and Guns: Seeking Solutions
-- -- -- -- -- -- Introduced legislation to strengthen care for the mentally ill and big issue in the gun control debate as well right now that's right the bill would expand access to treatment and enable community clinics to provide -- round the clock psychiatric care. ABC's Devin Dwyer takes a closer look at the issue of guns and the mentally ill. The search for solutions after the massacre -- sandy hook elementary cut through this Minneapolis jailed this week. We're sure -- -- told us he sees firsthand the link. And mental -- this is not about so those who suffer from mental illness are receiving treatment. -- no more violent than anybody else. But untreated but we have a problem -- -- president Obama's ear -- White House meetings to push for more resources to identify and treat the mentally ill and keep dangerous people away from guns. The problem can be seen at -- all across the country like this one -- an estimated 25 to 30% of inmates suffer from a mental illness. Experts say not all those people belong here those that do sometimes struggle to get the care that they need. Eight of the nine killers and mass shootings last year had histories of mental illness. Few received care none were blocked from legally purchasing a weapon because of gaps in the federal background check system. When we run the background check for you to purchase. Or require handgun that if we say it's okay nothing comes back. That you should be good to go the fact of the matter is it's now -- it's really become what is America's dirty little secret about these background checks. Just twelve states actively submit mental health data to the federal database and those that do only include court ordered records. On a visit to Minnesota this week President Obama -- strengthening -- system is a top priority proposing money for states for better record keeping. And asking doctors to report credible threats of violence when they appear. You have people who. Have committed these tragedies who would not have come to anyone's attempts on. You know they would meet academic standards they weren't in trouble with the law for the city intervening early right away with the intensity -- -- season. Plan that will likely take a long time in -- far from. Need to keep hammering away and do the fixes that we've suggested first and foremost. Even if it's piecemeal baby steps steps that may one day prevent another tragedy from happening again Devin Dwyer ABC news Minneapolis.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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