Katie Couric's Notebook: Guns and the Mentally Ill

The story that emerged from the Tucson shootings bares a striking resemblance to the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007.

Before Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people, he exhibited disturbing behavior in class.

He was referred to mental health counseling and was court-ordered into outpatient psychiatric care. As a result, under federal law, his name should have been on an FBI database of people prohibited from purchasing guns. It was never added to that list.

Jared Loughner was disruptive in his community college classes. He had several run-ins with campus police, but was never given a court order to get treatment. So he was able to legally purchase the gun that allegedly killed six and wounded 13 others.

This isn't a case of "There outta be a law." There are laws on the books to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.

But the laws are only effective if they're followed and we're all vigilant about making sure they apply to those who really need help.

That's a page from my notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.