Mental health experts say a new tougher New York state gun control law might interfere with treatment of potentially dangerous people and even discourage them from seeking help.

The law would require therapists, doctors, nurses and social workers to tell government authorities if they believe a patient is likely to harm himself or others. That could lead to revoking the patient's gun permit and seizing any guns. (source)

New laws tend to have unintended consequences worse than the conditions or situations they are intended to remedy. The hysteria over the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre has such strange bedfellows as the NRA and some of the most liberal Democrats calling for psychological or psychiatric evaluations of potential gun owners. 

Question: Does the state have enough of an interest to require a breach of the privacy normally holding between a patient and his clinician making the state an invisible presence in the conference room?

Question: Might more mayhem be prevented by letting clinicians do their job rather than imposing requirements on them.?

Question: Might imposing a reporting requirement on clinicians expose them to homicidal danger once the client realizes that his counselor has breached the shell of confidentiality holding between them?

Question: Given the ambiguities holding between what clients talk about and what they might actually do might a reporting requirement expose clinicians to needless criminal and civil sanctions if their best guess turns out to be wrong and a client they thought safe did something horrendous? The point is, it's a lot easier to judge how dangerous a patient was in retrospect and hold a clinician responsible.

Tags: control, gun, psychiatry, psycology

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Not to mention that patients that would otherwise seek help decide not to and be completely on the loose to do whatever they might?

Well, I don't get the newspaper article.

The new law in New York seems to be similar to what California psychiatrists and therapists have had to do since the mid-1970s, from the Tarasoff decision.

Why don't these so-called experts in New York just send an email to their colleagues in California to find out what the new law might do?

They might hear that California has a higher rate of crime. Of course, New York and California are different in many ways having little to do with psychiatrists.

As always, when it comes to human affairs causality is hard to pin down. 

I'm British and live in the UK.  I'm not trying to tell people in the US what to think or how to run their country but hey.  If you suspected, in any way that someone you knew were mentally unstable, would you hand them a kitchen knife after an argument? I effing wouldn't.

At a push, on an unlucky day for my community, I could stab maybe as many as 5 to 10 people with a kitchen knife before being wrestled by a hero or shot or captured by police.   Give me a gun and I could kill 10s of people easily, given the ammo.  The seriousness of giving someone a gun license should be treated really my view...but I realise some people view it as an unretractable right.  Some Americans told me it should only be allowed "as part of a militia" but that some misconstrue the constitution.  This is not something I can really comment on but the risk of dishing out firearms like water pistols seems to me too high.

Would I? Probably not. However, many people here would argue that you can't take the rights of a citizen away based on a hunch about what they might do.

The words we use for the 2nd Amendment are that "it's a Constitutional right," which it is. That is what makes it intractable as you put it. Revoking or modifying it is difficult bordering on impossible, especially with anti-gun people clamoring, which makes the pro-gun people dig in. There are two ways to do it but both of them depend on amassing a super-majority. In other words,  it takes more than just a simple majority of 50%+ to do it.

In a nutshell:

Both Houses of Congress must propose the amendment with a two-thirds vote. This is how all current amendments have been offered.

Two-thirds of the State legislatures must call on Congress to hold a Constitutional

It will be a long time before enough critical mass is built up to succeed in changing the 2nd Amendment.

...but even with people with a history of mental illness...seems mental to me.

Can they be banned at state level more easily?  Strega was saying his state is very easy with guns which implies other states are harsher.

...not sure I'll come to the US with these risks...sounds a bit dangerous to me...I'll go to Israel or Afghanistan instead - seems safer

psst Karl, Strega is a 'she'.  We did the same-sex marriage thing, might have caused some confusion :)

Vermont seems to be one of the most relaxed state about gun laws.  Any more relaxed and there would have to be a law insisting you carry one!

Lots of gun availability, lots of guns, and low gun crime rate (for the U.S.). What a conundrum.

In particular, Karl, in Vermont you do not need a permit to carry a firearm concealed on your person (say, a pistol under your jacket).  Most other states in the US require such a permit.  Illinois forbids the practice completely.  Permit-free carry is known here as "Vermont Carry" or sometimes "constitutional carry" since many regard a prohibition or restriction on carrying a weapon in that manner as a violation of the second amendment (and I tend to agree with them).

In spite of this... nay, I think it's in part because of this... Vermont has a very low crime rate.  The very places you should be most frightened of here, at least in regard to your physical safety, are the ones with the strictest gun laws.  Now that's counter-intuitive if you think guns somehow cause (or correlate) with violent behavior.  But they don't.

Well I am being intentionally facetious.  A gun is really just a tool.  We had them in the house when I was a kid as my stepdad worked with animals.  I was taught how to use a gun and have handled unlicensed firearms too but it's pretty unusual in the UK. 

One of the most heavily armed countries in Europe is Switzerland yet their crime rate and murder rate is very low.  There're parts of many UK cities that I wouldn't go to after dark and you can be unlucky no matter where you are.

Lowering crime rate is not just dependent on increasing risk to the criminal though that may have an effect.  Other factors like poverty, population density, employment levels and culture all have a part to play. 

...I'm no anthropoligist or social scientist but it stands to reason that you can't shoot someone without a gun, if you become enraged or disturbed to the point of killing indescriminately and you have a gun, the consequences are far more serious than if you don't, where guns are commonly held, criminals will routinely use them when committing crimes, and increased availability of guns, increases the availability of guns to criminals, including violent criminals.

Because of the high gun ownership in the US, I can't imagine that an amnesty would be workable without it being sustained over many years, and even then people fearing the effects would probably cache weapons, so I guess the UK model wouldn't be suitable.  It'll pan out somehow.  Just hopefully you don't get any more of the school shootings which are always so terrible.

@ Strega,

Any more relaxed and there would have to be a law insisting you carry one!

We already have that :D

And the results are quite good, maybe there is a lesson here.

Gun Town USA

You're going to run into the fact that for anti-gun people that any positive news regarding guns must be wrong. They won't even look at the facts.



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