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Henn. Co. Sheriff And Obama Discuss Guns, Mental Illness

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(credit: George Frey/Getty Images)

(credit: George Frey/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (WCCO) – Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek and several other law enforcement officials met Monday with President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss gun violence and mental illness.

Stanek spoke about the need to for restrictions on gun access for the mentally ill.

“Gun control alone will not solve the complex problem of guns and extreme violence. We have an access problem. Individuals with severe mental illness should never have access to guns,” Stanek said.

Vice President Joe Biden was in attendance, along with a group of local police chiefs from cities that have experienced recent mass shootings; Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau and chiefs from Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo. and Oak Creek, Wis.

Stanek also asked the president to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

“Most Americans believe we have all the disqualifying information and are relying on us to keep prohibited persons from buying/possessing a gun,” Stanek said. “However, NICS is voluntary. Not all states participate and that needs to change.”

Twelve states actively upload court mental health records to NICS, and only a quarter of felony convictions are estimated to be entered into the database.

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