WAMC News
4:59 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Advocates Concerned About Mental Health Clauses in Gun Control Law

The new firearms limitations passed in New York State include provisions that restrict those with mental illnesses from gun ownership. While mental health advocates don’t have a problem with tightening the state’s gun laws, they are concerned that the mental health clauses could inadvertently create more problems.


The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act assures that mentally ill and dangerous individuals cannot own or obtain a firearm.  The restrictions require mental health professionals to report anyone they believe is likely to cause harm to anyone. Any firearms owned by those individuals will be confiscated and licenses suspended. Outpatient treatment is extended from 6 months to a year and will follow the person if they move.

National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York State Executive Director Don Capone says they have supported some of the provisions in the bill.

But Don Capone feels wrapping mental health issues with gun control following a tragedy is inappropriate.

Mental Health Association in New York State CEO Glenn Liebman says they, too, are concerned about some of the mental health pieces in the bill.

Liebman is concerned that New York’s bill does not delineate the types of mental illness nor the varied treatments that are needed.

The advocates note that two-thirds of people who need mental health services in the country do not receive them.

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