Some lawmakers argue shooter's mental health records should be releasedPosted: Updated:
Connecticut lawmakers have been focusing on mental health because it's believed the young man responsible for the Newtown school shooting suffered from a mental illness.
However, the public may never know what Adam Lanza suffered from before he entered Sandy Hook Elementary School with two pistols and an AR-15 and in just a matter of minutes, he fired multiple rounds, killing 20 children and six adults. That is due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPPA laws.
"We may not be able to provide that information," said Steven Sedensky of the Danbury State's Attorney Office.
It is not clear if Lanza was ever officially diagnosed with a mental illness; however, family members said he had a form of autism.
The Connecticut State Police are still investigating the motive for the shooting and a report is not expected to be available for a few months.
HIPPA laws, which were created in 1996, allow people to carry their health insurance from one job to another and keep health information private. The privacy provision was put in place mainly because paper records were being replaced with electronic record keeping and the concern was too much access.
"They go with you until eternity, except for a new wrinkle," said attorney Jennifer Cox.
Cox told Eyewitness News that starting in September, there is a new provision of HIPPA laws that after a person has been dead for 50 years, HIPPA no longer applies.
Lawmakers are looking into what caused the Newtown school shooting to occur and many told Eyewitness News if they can't learn about Lanza's mental health history, then they cannot figure out what went wrong.
"HIPPA will certainly make it more difficult for us to come up with the best solution because Adam Lanza had a propensity for violence and where did it come from, we may never know," said state Sen. Scott Frantz, who is on the legislature's Gun Violence Prevention and Child Safety Task Force.
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