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I was reading a thread on the social media site Reddit and the OP discussed how he found out that he was unable to purchase a firearm with no reason given.

Though he had no criminal record and no involuntarily commission, he had been reported by a forensic psychiatrist to the Met Police (he's a dual UK/US citizen) for homicidal ideation and he figures that when he moved back to the U.S., the police detectives also informed the FBI who noted and it came up on a background check.

But I've heard that reports from the public/doctors aren't enough to bar someone from owning a gun and I'm thinking it may be a false story. What is true?

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What is true is that 18 USC 922(d) says

It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person...(4) has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution

"Adjudicated as a mental defective" is then defined in 27 CFR 478.11

A determination by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority that a person, as a result of marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease:

(1) Is a danger to himself or to others; or

(2) Lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs.

A forensic psychiatrist is not a general "member of the public", so it is credible to consider one to be a "lawful authority". No aspect of the law limits whose law gives the lawful authority his authority: of course more details on the psychiatrist would be necessary to determine that this is a proper application of the restriction.

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