The HHS Office for Civil Rights has released a proposed rule to lift legal barriers related to the HIPAA privacy rule that may prevent states from reporting mental health information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check.

The rule, available now, is scheduled for formal publication on Jan. 7 in the Federal Register, followed with a 90-day comment period. The Department of Justice also has released an accompanying proposed rule to amend the Gun Control Act of 1968 by clarifying definitions of persons who would fall under the prohibition to possess guns. Removing barriers to instant background checks of gun purchasers was one of the provisions of President Obama’s gun control plan issued in January 2013 following the shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

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