In case after case examined by The New York Times, judges made decisions without important information about an applicant’s mental health…

Teresa Hall, who had moved to Idaho, said she simply wrote a letter to Hampton General District Court explaining that her commitment several years earlier occurred when she was experiencing marital difficulties. To her shock, she got a judge’s order granting her petition several days later in the mail.

“I was surprised it was that easy,” Ms. Hall said.

Some judges insisted on seeing a doctor’s note, but others did not.

In a typical case, Joshua St. Clair, who served in Iraq with the National Guard, got his gun rights back last year. About six months earlier, Mr. St. Clair, now 22, had heard a rattling at his gate. He said he “kind of blacked out” and the next thing he knew, he was pointing his M-4 assault rifle at his friend’s chest. That led to a temporary detention order, treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and loss of his firearms rights.

He took a note from his psychiatrist to his restoration hearing, which he said “lasted maybe about five minutes,” but he said the judge did not even ask to see it. The judge asked Mr. St. Clair’s father a few questions and asked Mr. St. Clair himself whether he thought he should have his rights restored. He said, “Of course.”