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Resource ID: #26169
Reporter Martha Bellisle's series of stories on the sale of a gun by a Reno police sergeant to a 19-year-old mentally ill man, who it turned out was prohibited by law from having a gun, revealed questionable behavior by a law enforcement officer and sparked nationwide debates about the lack of background checks on private party gun sales. Her investigation also exposed flaws in the court system. After first reporting on the gun sale, Bellisle discovered that the Washoe District Court had failed to send the young man's name to a database of people who are not allowed to have a gun. That investigation prompted the chief justice of the Nevada Supreme Court to order a statewide review of all Nevada courts to see if they were properly reporting people adjudicated with a mental illness to the National Instant Background Check System, or NICS. The audit revealed that almost 2,000 people had been missed by courts across the state and had not been included in that database. Some of those people had histories of violence. The courts fixed the process and the debate on background checks for all gun sales continues.