A Background Check Database

It seems background checks (or the lack of background checks) are something that’s in the news more and more these days.

One issue surrounding background checks is happening in Maine. State police there say around 44 percent of cities or towns in the state are issuing concealed weapons permits before conducting a mental health background check.

Those numbers are certainly troubling. However, the police are not just issuing that news without offering any answers. They say they have a potential solution.

State police are suggesting that a data base be created with the names of people who deal with mental health issues so they can be checked before a permit is issued.

Issues like this have certainly been a sensitive topic over the last year. State police in Maine say it’s about safety. However, some mental health professionals wonder if the creation of such a database is the right way to go.

One clinical social worker who has been in the profession for more than three decades talked a Maine television news team about his reservations. According to him, most people who seek treatment are not dangerous to the public. The social worker says the type of person who worries him is the person who suffers from a mental illness and doesn’t seek or cannot afford treatment. The social worker says the real change needs to come from the accessibility of mental health treatment, not from a database for background checks. He’s afraid the database might provide a false sense of security because most of the people who are dangerous are probably not going to be in the database.

Maine state police say, when it comes to concealed weapons background checks, they are looking for things like court-ordered committals. Police say they are not focused on one-time incidents where a person was going through a life crisis.