More background checks required for gun...

Posted: 8:35 AM, Jan 06, 2016
Updated: 2016-01-06 08:35:23-05

Michael Dunigan owns five guns - two rifles and three pistols.

"I bought two of my guns from private sellers and two from a local store and one online," he said. "It was just kind of a hobby - a few friends, we go out shooting, mostly target practice."

And, Dunigan told us, the purchasing process was thorough.

"They had to check my background and make sure that I wasn't someone who shouldn't have a gun," he explained. "It was just a small waiting period."

And without a felony or conviction on his record, Dunigan was clear. It's a process he said everyone should have to go through.

"It just keeps guns out of hands of people who shouldn't have guns," he explained.

But, Major Joel Maatman of the Ingham County Sheriff's Department said it's not that easy. And, he wants to take background checks one step further.

"People, if they don't have a conviction that would disqualify them but they have mental health issues that I can't see or haven't dealt with, or federal firearms dealers do not have access to that unless it's in the system, which it hardly gets in the system, that is a problem," he explained.

Major Maatman thinks local law enforcement should be involved with background checks in addition to the FBI. That could help turn up things like suicide attempts, as well as crimes.

And, Mike Green, owner of Not Just Guns agreed there's always room for improvement when it comes to asking about mental illness.

"There could be some adjustments made to that area. I'm not one to say what HIPAA laws and what privacy rights are and aren't. But, it is asking you on there about mental illness. That is one area that could be addressed," Green said.

Like many, he's just not sure how to tackle that concern.

Major Maatman added when they do catch criminals with an illegal gun that's a 2-year felony. But, he said that charge is usually the first dropped in a plea bargain, another problem he says need to change.