Mental Health Changes in New York's Gun Laws

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New York has passed sweeping gun control legislation that also includes significant changes to mental health policy. Sarah Steverman, director of state policy at Mental Health America, discusses the implications for the treatment of mental health and the doctor-patient relationship.

→ Below: Full Text of the bill. Key mental health provisions annotated on page 2, 10, and 11. (Cuomo statement here)


Sarah Steverman

Comments [66]

Dr. D. from Suffolk County NY

I am a psychiatrist. when I reviewed this law i was beyond upset. I am now obligated to report any person who is a "danger to himself or others" to a authorities. Many of my patients come to see me for thoughts of wanting to harm themselves or others. Mostly they would never do this- if they think I am going to report them to authorities the police, or any other agency would they feel they could honestly tell me the truth. Furthermore, How do i know that if the authorities have access to this information, or if a guy at wall mart selling guns has this information, that it will be kept from possible employers doing background checks from obtaining this information. Then they may be denied possibly employment because they have sought out mental health treatment (isnt seeking out treatment a good thing for people to be doing). Also how will it work with a paranoid patient when they found out i reported them to the authorities, they will never come back to obtain possibly life saving treatment. This law violates every principle I have been taught as a psychiatrist tot uphold the sanctity of the doctor patient relationship.
If a patient is a threat to themselves or others i send them to the hosptial for help and treatment not report them to the authorities. Furthermore, the law requires i give the last 4 digits of my social security number as well as the patient social security number. My medical license number should be enough, and i do not routinely ask for that kind of information from patients as I feel that is not information i should know due to identity theft issues.
This law violates the rights of the mentally ill and is discrimination. I am all for gun control- but why should anyone at all have access to multi capacity guns unless they are in the military/police regardless if they have sought treatment with a psychiatrist.

Mar. 21 2013 05:18 PM
jim from earth

There are criminals of all races. That means no one can own a gun. People with mental illness who kill people are the minority of minority. You cannot restrict the rights of everyone based on a few!

Feb. 13 2013 09:08 AM
jim from earth

If people with mental illness cannot carry guns, that means healthcare professionals cannot carry guns, police officers cannot carry guns, all the people who work at stressful jobs who may suffer from depression, anxiety, and a nervous breakdowns cannot carry guns. This law is RIDICULOUS!

Feb. 13 2013 09:02 AM
jim from earth

The law is discriminatory against people with mental illness. How about African Americans use guns to commit crime? Why isn't there a law that prevents African Americans from buying a gun? What about if people with mental illness need a gun for protection? How about police officers who suffer from mental illness such as a nervous breakdown? Why should those police officers suffering from nervous breakdowns allowed to carry guns?

Feb. 13 2013 08:44 AM

What about the HEPA law between patient and health care provider including mental health care?

Jan. 27 2013 02:53 PM

% of acts of gun violence committed by the institutionalized? If it's over 85% then this is a good idea. I'll bet there is no such study though, and if there is, very few offenders have been flagged for mental health reasons.

Jan. 22 2013 08:18 PM

Jan. 18 2013 02:21 PM
Tom from DC

Who here really thinks that professional judgement made "reasonably and in good faith" is really going to shield mental health care professionals from liability? "Reasonable and in good faith" arguments already fail in malpractice suits as a matter of routine.

And then, health care workers report not to the department of health, but ultimately the criminal justice division?

And not "imminent" threat. But "likely" threat. "Likely." What does that even mean? Between 25% and 50% of all people with bipolar disorder attempt suicide. Is a 1 in 4 chance "likely"? 1 in 2? How about borderline personality disorder - is 1 in 10 "likely"? Or how about when the diagnostic criteria ITSELF includes such criteria as "suicidal ideation?" Does the mere diagnosis of certain disorders in NY now require the person to be reported to the criminal justice system because the diagnosis ALONE carries some likelihood of threat to self or others?

And having a relative commit suicide triples the likelihood of someone diagnosed with an affective disorder committing suicide themselves. How does that fit in to the definition of "likely threat?" Are doctors now required to report patients because of the actions of their relatives?

What if, in the diagnostician's best professional judgement, made "reasonably and in good faith," is that someone does not present a risk of harm to self or others, despite being diagnosed with a disorder that by clinical definition implies a risk of harm to self or others? Can a mental health professional honestly exercise reasonable professional judgement in that case?

And that's just the holes in the "mental health" portion of the bill. What an unbelievably idiotic law.

Jan. 18 2013 12:55 AM

Tony from Long Island~

Thanks for the JAMA article!!

Jan. 17 2013 08:44 AM

Every one of these mass killers had become more socially isolated before cracking and as others have also stated...the isolation and social disconnect experienced when someone is already emotionally struggling is probably the main issue that brings them to cross the line (to kill others).
This law will further isolate and likely increase the number of active killers. Already, we are seeing those in need of relating to others in a meaningful way, further isolate from connecting to helpers - directly as a result of this new law...! Very, very, Scary.
BTW: The new DSM committee has decided to make temper tantrums in kids and bereavement more likely to be classified as mental illnesses. The committee years ago had decided that being gay was a mental illness and then later decided it was not. There is no such thing as a bio-test for 'mental illness'. If biological proof of a so called biological mental illness was a required test for a mental illness to be diagnosed, then the DSM would be an empty book...

Jan. 17 2013 02:24 AM
Arthur young from Holliston, ma

Why are we challenging people to prove a negative -- it is very hard to prove what might happen in the future, despite any expertise. Why not turn it around and ask people to explain why they want a gun? It is asking them to prove they "need" it, but why do they need to purchase more than one and they need them today? Is this restricting their rights? Do zoning laws restrict my right to own property or change it? It simply applies some public standards to the process. Yeah, sometimes you can't do whatever you want, but there are many examples we live with every day.

Jan. 16 2013 09:16 PM
Tony from Long Island

I find it interesting that in Florida, healthcare professionals are not legally allowed to ask about firearms in the home. And here we now have essentially the opposite. Both encroach on the relationship between a healthcare professional and his or her patient. And as a physician, I find it hard to believe either approach will have a significant impact on gun violence. But that is just a supposition on my part.

Unfortunately, we are under many assumptions as to the root cause of gun violence. We all make presumptions about the implications of the mentally ill, access to guns, legality of assault weapons, proper training, etc, but there is very little recent, quality evidence addressing gun safety. The CDC and the ATF formerly studied this, but were rendered helpless in the nineties with the passage of the Tiahrt Amendment and gutting the CDC's firearm study budget. I hate pointing fingers, but unsurprisingly, gun advocacy groups played key roles in defunding firearm safety research.

If we want to address the problem of gun violence, we must first identify what the problem is. Hopefully, after today's Presidential prodding, Congress will reinstate funding to better study gun safety.

I suggest the following JAMA article to anyone who is interested in learning about firearm safety research:

Jan. 16 2013 03:34 PM

The problem is not mental illness, the problem is one of morality, because one does not need to be mentally ill to commit a violent act. The real problem-when it come to firearms-is access to them. the Prolferation of firearms is the thorn-in-the-side of all of us; creating a kind of firearm space-junk that orbits our lives and unfortunately, sometimes through our lives. This proliferation of firearms is acheived by the mass-production of firearms. I, believe, by stopping mass-production and by manufacturing per qualified order ONLY, will help to stem this firearm space-junk-if you will-orbiting our lives. Think about it. If you are in the middle of an ocean and your boat springs a leak and water is rapidly proliferating into your vessel, you will lose your vessel unless you slow or stem the proliferation of water into your vessel.

I, vote for the legislature to write the MANUFACTURE of FIREARMS PER QUALIFIED ORDER ONLY ACT. How would you vote?

Jan. 16 2013 03:15 PM

"Since 2010, Ruger and Smith & Wesson – our two biggest publicly traded gun makers – have enjoyed a 150% rise in stock market value. In May, Ruger’s first quarter earnings more than doubled – and it temporarily stopped taking new orders since first quarter 2012 order had exceeded those for all of 2011."

Murder and mayhem for PROFIT!!


Jan. 16 2013 12:49 PM

erika doering~

The same gun proliferation is true across the world. Guns are BIG business!!

The NRA perpetually fuels and exploits unfounded paranoia. The NRA also takes HUGE amounts of $$ from the gun industry. They have collected up to $38 million from gun manufacturers since 2005. They collect more from the gun industry than they do from members' dues!!! They are the de facto LOBBY arm of the gun industry.

Wayne LaPierre is paid just under $1 MILLION to perpetuate the myth and SELL, SELL, SELL!!

The NRA has a vested interest in SELLING more GUNS!! SURPRISE?!

Jan. 16 2013 12:46 PM
jholmen from Manhattan, NY

It is not fair to allow the "NRA" to paint the face of the mentally challenged onto gun violence. What about people who are just plain hateful, venomous, or jealous of others?

When Cain killed his brother ,Able, he used a simple stone not a firearm. He was jealous of his brother. When, Timothy McVeah, bomed the Oklahoma, State building, he wanted revenge, and he was clear in his thinking,not only this ,but he was foun fit to stand trial.

So, who will decide to commit the next act of violence, and what tool will they choose to use? Will they use a stone; video-game; a movie that contains violent content, a firearm, and will they have been deemed mentally ill- or will they simply be hateful; venomous or simply jealous of others.

One other thing. If, we are going to cite video-games and movies as causes of violent behavior-as shallow as that is, then we MUST cite rod and pistal clubs-to be fair.

Jan. 16 2013 12:35 PM
Gal in NYC from NYC

America, when will you understand that the issue is not about guns, it is about the access to proper mental health care in this country? 

While I firmly believe that there is no need for ordinary citizens to own military-grade assault rifles, I do think that the vast majority of this country's psychological needs are going untreated. 

I live in a low-income, predominantly African-American community in Brooklyn. Gun violence here is very high, yet I do not see how this law will be protecting my neighbors, the majority of whom do not have the resources or access to therapy. I see this law being made to protect white neighborhoods and upper middle class individuals from their one-off psychos, while young kids die every day from guns in the ghetto. When will we begin to address their needs for mental health care? How will this law stop guns from being distributed to people who are too poor/undereducated to seek mental health treatment?

I agree that this will further prevent those people from seeking care. There is already an inherent racial bias in the system- I am white & my boyfriend is Puerto Rican. Both of us have seen therapists for occasional bouts of depression. If I mention to my therapist that I'm having suicidal thoughts, we talk about it. When my boyfriend mentioned he was having suicidal thoughts to his therapist, he was immediately apprehended by doctors and locked in a psychiatric hospital for 72 hours of 'evaluation' without his consent. He was imprisoned in the hospital for 3 day and almost lost his job, simply for speaking openly about his feelings to his Dr, in confidence. All of this for a man who doesn't even have a gun permit or access to weapons. I can't imagine what they will do to people now, under this new law. But my boyfriend will never again seek treatment for his mental health issues. And now I fear that many more people, especially minorities, will go untreated.

Jan. 16 2013 12:35 PM
erika doering

Brian, could we open up the discussion back to the source?

Is anyone talking about the gun manufacturing industry?

If we start by asking WHY ARE WE MAKING THESE WEAPONS?

for who/whom?

if the lion-share of the manufacturers/distributors sales are made at gun-shows, and the remaining to the US Military ... then there is the root of the problem.
If we treat the gun manufacturers as we did the Cigarette Industry - clamping down on their behavior as far as adding chemicals to ensure a greater/greatest addiction/dependency and aiming their add campaigns towards their next generation of customers - children/teenagers ...
If the gun manufacturers are aiming their production sales on citizens owning military use guns ... then they need to be stopped federally.
As a citizen I DO pay for the consequences of the cigarette industry product+behavior as does my mayor and state :
emergency room treatment to health issues, loss of work and productivity and death ... secondhand and primary.
As a citizen I DO pay for the consequences of the gun industry product+behavior as does my mayor and state :
emergency room/hospital treatment, courts processing the criminals/criminal use of + prisons housing the convicted ... loss of earnings with a death or injury of victims of gun violence and loss of work/productivity with those in mourning ...

For the sake of the health of society as a whole - some industries need to be checked or evolved out.
Capitalism and personal freedom is not the "in the name of" nor the "right" that trumps all when it is beyond the single person/interest group. These standard defenses should be discounted faced with such negative systemic outcomes for all.
We are living the consequences of having lost sight of what matters and where to put our resources for the greater good.

Jan. 16 2013 12:23 PM
Hm from NJ

I'm so disappointed in Brian Lehrer! This woman was not arguing that mentally ill people who may hurt themselves or others should have guns -- she was saying that putting the onus on mental health professionals will make it harder to get people who need it into treatment. If you have ever dealt with someone in a mental health crisis, you know that getting them to treatment is incredibly hard. Why add impediments to that process? I was stunned that Brian thought it was possible to determine the probability that someone would act on threatening words. Every time one of these events happens, the family is surprised. This kind of discussion and law only adds to the stigma of mental illness. So disappointed.

Jan. 16 2013 12:04 PM
Noach (Independent) from Brooklyn


What do you say to the following?

"Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said there was no “series” of attacks at schools, and that security has been beefed up over the years to deal with terrorism, not senseless shootings.

The World’s Lisa Mullins spoke with Gerald Steinberg, a professor of political science and international relations at Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv.

Steinberg said there were periods where every Israeli school did have a security guard. But he said the situations at schools in Israel and the US are not comparable. "

Jan. 16 2013 11:57 AM
Allison from New Jersey

Robin, THANK YOU for an excellent point: "If people are concerned with mentally unstable people owning guns, why not require a psychiatric test before purchasing a gun? (As the police require for their officers.)"

This would be an excellent strategy, and it points out further that New York State is incapable of passing the REAL laws to make REAL change that limit violent gun shooting. They are only capable of passing a law, as Ani di Franco once said "that lulls us back to sleep," making us think change has happened, when it hasn't. We have only hurt the already weak, the ones without powerful lobbies in government, people who are marginalized, suicidal, mentally ill or unstable.


Jan. 16 2013 11:46 AM
toby from san francisco

So lets see...if i need mental health and I have thoughts of using a gun...then the therapist reports me to the STATE name goes on a STATE LIST...and if i was shot nobody cares...but if i am a first responder the shooter gets life...and it was rushed thru the house WITHOUT DEBATE...I guess CUOMO is running for president next

Jan. 16 2013 11:45 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The armed guards in Israel are undercover. They are dressed like civilians, teachers, whatever.

Jan. 16 2013 11:39 AM
Bonn from East Village

I would like to see parents prosecuted for not locking up their guns so their kids - at any age, whether mentally stable or not - would not have access to them. We prosecute parents for leaving their young kids at home alone, so why not do the same to parents who are not mindful of gun safety? They are just as responsible for pulling the trigger.

Jan. 16 2013 11:36 AM
Leisel from New Jersey

I have been a licensed gun owner since my early teens. After seeking a metal health professional to cope with a very nasty divorce, I can firmly state I would have been reported. Looking back on my multiple year marriage, I was a victim of emotional abuse. I cannot say how many times I said, “I’ll kill him.” Would it have changed my thoughts of seeking a mental health professional? Probably not. Would it have changed my visits to my therapist? Yes. Once they the police came in and took away my firearms – which I felt I needed for protection – I would have stopped going.

Jan. 16 2013 11:35 AM
Susana from Qns

Once again I am chiming in to another Brian Lehrer program about how frightening the idea is of labeling all people with a history of psychosis in these criminalizing categories. I appreciate Ms Steverman's cautious approach because: How many people in the US have suffered from mental illness? I seem to remember reading that at least 1 in 100 people have suffered from a bipolar episode at least. That's A LOT of people to track. Yes, we want to avoid these heinous crimes, but these ideas on prevention start to get ridiculous...The bottom line is Americans need better access to mental health services. (Ms Steverman was referring to people who ALREADY see therapists -what about those who have fallen thru the cracks?) There are government subsidized health insurance programs that DO NOT cover mental health (such as Healthy New York with HIP, the last time I researched it). What is up with that?

Jan. 16 2013 11:35 AM

What is a patient does shoot someone without ever mentioning it? Will the healthcare provider be held liable??



We need MORE gun kooks showing up for therapy, NOT fewer!!

Jan. 16 2013 11:35 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Armed guards worked in Israel. I lived there for 10 years, though it was mainly to deter terrorists.

Jan. 16 2013 11:34 AM
Allison from New Jersey

I am horrified that the only gun control law New York State can come up with targets the weak, that is the people who choose to seek mental health treatment. Please note, this law DOES NOT target the mentally ill, it only targets those who SEEK TREATMENT. And as a licensed psychotherapist I imagine that the most dangerous, and mentally ill people, NEVER seek treatment. Adam Lanza, as a second grader was described as 'the sweetest gentlest boy' by his teacher at Sandy Hook. I bet he never sought treatment, he went under the radar, so to speak. Those in most need of treatment usually never get it, because they seem so "fine." You know, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Now, the other point is that the guns that Adam Lanza's used belonged to his MOTHER. Does this mean that the mother of the people seeking mental health treatment need be punished by losing their license? Is this ridiculous, yes? I personally believe no one should be allowed to have guns. I don't think anyone should have the right, but some believe it is important, and some will see this as a punishment, and then not seek treatment. We should be working at making mental health treatment MORE accessible, with LESS stigma, and we should be more accepting of ALL people, if we want to decrease people's anger, fear, and violent tendencies. Thank you, Allison

Jan. 16 2013 11:34 AM

Yes an armed guard for every child!

Jan. 16 2013 11:31 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

You cannot stop every criminal or deranged person no matter what you do. Life has risks.

Jan. 16 2013 11:29 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

If the purpose is to protect children, armed guards is the answer. If there are other agendas, then there is no reasonable answer.

Jan. 16 2013 11:27 AM
N Brown, LCSW

The new Federal Health Law has a provision that the Gun Rights lobby as able to insert. It stops Medical providers from asking patients/clients if they own a fire arm. This is in direct conflict with the New York State law.

Jan. 16 2013 11:27 AM

"Armed guards is the most sensible and simplest solution."

President Reagan was surrounded by armed Secret Service and it never stopped John Hinckley.

Jan. 16 2013 11:27 AM
Nick from UWS

This is like McCarthyism. Witch hunting. Putting pressure on mental health providers to tattle on their patients. All due to the repulsive narcissism of Andrew Cuomo who rushed this law through outside of the Democratic process so that he can look good for his presidential run. Absolutely disgusting.

Jan. 16 2013 11:27 AM
Noach (Independent) from Brooklyn

I understand the concern that the law could have an unintended consequence of discouraging people from seeking treatment. But did the guest actually argue (at the beginning) that mentally unstable people for whom there is credible reason to suspect of violent tendencies should nonetheless have the right to own and keep firearms?

Did the guest actually say that?!

Jan. 16 2013 11:26 AM

Robin from NJ~

Just like physical health, mental health is fluid. Health changes. Healthy one day, Maybe not the very next.

Jan. 16 2013 11:26 AM
das from metro

There are several problems with the law, the simplest being the assumption that one can predict human behavior with any certainty. Therefore the question becomes at what is the predicted probability that a certain behavior occur, like killing others?

The fundamental problem with the law is that it does not deal with the issue of responsibility, but rather tries to restrict the implements rather than address the cause. The law would have been far more effective it had banned automobiles. My bet is that in 98% of the incidents an automobile was a primary contributor.

I would have rather seen that responsibility be defined and codified. If for example at any time a firearm is not being used is not locked that the firearm and all owned firearms be confiscated and that person not be allowed to own a firearm for lets say five years.

I would have liked to have a

Jan. 16 2013 11:26 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Armed guards is the most sensible and simplest solution.

Jan. 16 2013 11:25 AM

To respond to the last caller who accused Ms. Steverman's association to being the same as the NRA (which is ridiculous):

First, as Brian said, we don't know what treatment (if any!) that the Sandy Hook shooter received.

Second, the guns that the Sandy Hook shooter used were registered to his mother. She didn't have any mental health issues so her rights to guns wouldn't have been revoked. If you read the bill, the gun license would be revoked if the license was in the name of the person deemed "potentially dangerous".

Jan. 16 2013 11:25 AM

@Caller Ralph

Once again, the promise of saving the future life of a single child is always worth more than current lives of everyone else on the planet.

Jan. 16 2013 11:25 AM
Suzanne from New York

I think the comment by the guy who says he owns weapons and that if he felt like hurting someone he wouldn't seek treatment because he was afraid of losing his freedom and his guns says it all. Someone who puts his gun ownership above the lives of others, and realizes it might come down to this kind of tradeoff, is deeply disturbing. Perhaps this law -- if it has this effect -- isn't the right approach. But clearly, it's the wrong idea to leave weapons in the hands of someone who has a sense of values that is this skewed.

Jan. 16 2013 11:24 AM
Robin from NJ

If people are concerned with mentally unstable people owning guns, why not require a psychiatric test before purchasing a gun? (As the police require for their officers.) this would catch those people who may be violent but aren't under the care of a mental health professional.

Jan. 16 2013 11:23 AM
bernie from bklyn

can we pass a law to prevent women w/ the trendy upper lilting diction from being on the radio? he voice is maddening...

Jan. 16 2013 11:23 AM
RWriter from Manhattan

We need the laws to be even stricter!

What Australia did is what we need to do. NO MORE GUNS! Very few people NEED guns.

Six year old children, folks!

Jan. 16 2013 11:22 AM


Jan. 16 2013 11:22 AM

Thank you, Paul/gun owner/caller!!

Jan. 16 2013 11:20 AM


Your question highlights the absurdity of the law. Mental illness is now a crime.

Jan. 16 2013 11:20 AM
David from NYC

Sorry you can't have it both ways.

Can't have everyone have the right to own a gun and be unstable.

Jan. 16 2013 11:19 AM

The reason for the "propensity for harm" reporting laws is that there has to be sufficient ethical and safety reasons to remove the right to freedom for people with mental health issues and place them in a situation where they are in involuntary care and have to involuntarily submit to drugs and medical procedures. The self harm and harm to others can be easily separated in treatment facilities (should adequate facilities exist) where appropriate conditions should exist for the safety and health of all patients. Keep in mind the the VAST majority of gun crimes are committed by people that are legally sane. And that violence can be committed with other things besides guns.

Someone with parkinsons should arguably not have a gun either.

Jan. 16 2013 11:19 AM
Nick from UWS

These laws are more than terrifying. This is truly the thought police. With this and the continuous surveillance of US citizens through the internet, welcome to the rise of true fascism in this country. The US becomes more perverse and disgusting every day.

Jan. 16 2013 11:19 AM

Seems like the issue is that for most people who seek a therapist with feeling of hurting someone, the person they most want to hurt is themselves. If they are determined to commit suicide, they'll find some way to do it, gun or not. Plus, some depressed people are so depressed they can't even get out of bed, let alone work up the energy to buy a gun.

The guest is right that if people will think they they'll be criminalized by going to their therapist, in addition to being publicly stigmatized by seeking therapy AT ALL, then they'll just not go. It's not an overnight decision to seek therapy for someone who's really struggling with issues.

We need to also remember that "mental health" covers a huge range of disorders. Someone with anorexia has a mental health issue but is not likely to go around shooting someone.

We should be out looking for psychopaths, who might be committing all types of crimes, vs victimizing people with depression.

Jan. 16 2013 11:18 AM
Moshe Feder from Flushing, NY

Brian, while I'm sure it was inadvertent, I was taken back when you more than once described a mental health advocate as "not crazy about" the new law. You need to be more conscious about using words like "crazy" in this context.

Jan. 16 2013 11:17 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Wow, I need therapy and I've never wished someone dead, much less wanted to kill anyone. Is really this commonplace?

Jan. 16 2013 11:17 AM


It further stigmatizes mental healthcare and drives people in need, FURTHER AWAY!!


Jan. 16 2013 11:16 AM

is the, say, mom, of a, say, adam lanza, still allowed to have guns?

Jan. 16 2013 11:16 AM
bernie from bklyn

brian- this is such a tiny issue....the real problem that needs to be addressed, researched, investigated and solved is the daily gun violence on the streets of our cities. why is it so easy for 16 yr old kids to get guns in our city? where are they coming from? not one journalistic outlet is exploring this because they're too busy focusing on the assault weapons and the rare instances of mass shootings and the heartbreaking story lines that sell commercials on tv networks.

Jan. 16 2013 11:15 AM
jen lynch from manhattan

please address how the mental health professional will know whether the patient has a gun or not and needs to report. Won't this lead to every mental health professional reporting a possibly violent patient to check on gun ownership? If so this is an issue with implications for non-gun owners as well.

Jan. 16 2013 11:15 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I am 100% certain that 99.9% of therapists will carefully pit reporting requirements against confidentiality concerns before reporting. Responsible mental health care providers do not take this lightly; nor would they take lightly the idea of feeling responsible should one of their patients undertake to harm others. I think the law just clarifies for most of them that IF there is a problem with a patient, law enforcement will take them seriously.

I also think that most of the people who commit these atrocities are psychotic rather than merely neurotic, and psychosis is not a condition in which the patient, who lacks insight, is likely to avoid seeing a therapist just because s/he is afraid of being reported.

Jan. 16 2013 11:13 AM
bernie from bklyn

@brian t- thomas jefferson was wrong about LOTS of things....

Jan. 16 2013 11:10 AM

I think we should just cut to the chase and require that all people take a Federal Personality Profile Test. Then we can can just jail or kill all of the people who fail.

Yes, that was sarcasm. How crazy have times become that I feel it necessary to add that?

Jan. 16 2013 11:08 AM

What role does bullying of boys have on later violent acts as these victims become angry young men?
Was young Adam bullied because he was different?

Jan. 16 2013 10:49 AM
brian t from republic of new york

I'm a desert storm veteran, a father, a husband, a tax payer,a hunter, and a patriot. Today I decided to move my family out of the "New Block of New York Republic.". What next if our government can decide Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers were "just wrong".

Jan. 16 2013 10:43 AM

Here's the problem with the bill: It relies that people who are "potentially dangerous" are actually participating in mental health treatment. Also it relies that these mentally ill patients actually state that they are potentially dangerous. Well if you have someone that is having mental health issues but not in treatment or not displaying any erratic behavior they will still be able to access a weapon.

Jan. 16 2013 10:42 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

Definitely a case of "Act in haste, regret at leisure."

What effect would this law - if it had been in effect - have had in VA Tech, Phoenix, Aurora or Newtown? Probably none. How many hours will be wasted by therapists and the police in trying to enforce this tripe?

Way to go, NY Legislature!

Jan. 16 2013 10:38 AM

Attempting to turn shrinks into ineffective policemen is a VERY BAD idea. We DO NOT need a de facto, Huxleyan thought-police force. We NEED universal healthcare and high quality mental health care facilities.

We don't need mental healthcare providers ratting-out their patients on what is almost always considered subjective criteria. The result will definitely be COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. People suffering from potentially violent emotional problems WILL NOT seek help for fear of being reported. Isolation is the ABSOLUTE WORST thing that can happen to a emotionally disturbed individual. This is a VERY DANGEROUS situation.

The solution is access, compassion, empathy and destigmatization.


Jan. 16 2013 10:30 AM

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