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      RI panel finishes report on gun background checks

      A Rhode Island task force has recommended that the state begin submitting additional but limited mental health information to the national firearms background check system.

      The Joint Behavioral Health and Firearms Safety Task Force approved its final report to state lawmakers Thursday evening. It was created to see if the state can do a better job of ensuring that dangerously mentally ill people don't have access to firearms.

      The 20-member panel recommends authorizing state courts to submit information it has about mental and behavioral health actions such as involuntary psychiatric commitments to the national background check database.

      The task force also recommends that courts do not send information on substance abuse collected outside of criminal proceedings to the national database, because that could deter people from seeking treatment.

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