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

Views: 1298

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hey Strega..when I were a nipper meseln, I used to smoke a bit of the ole son does now...I kind of got the jitters sometimes so stopped enjoying it.  Both our most recent Prime Ministers have admitted to doing it when's normal. 

I told my last boss that I was a little worried because of my son admitting to smoking it to me, and my boss said not to worry as he regularly smokes it and has never had issues.


I wish the U.S. would legalize marijuana. An unbelievable number of people, mostly racial/ethnic minorities are in prison for possession and/or sale, and it makes it difficult for them to find gainful employment when they get out, further impoverishing their communities and contributing to the crime rate because, often, reverting to crime is about the only available way to make a go of it. Often they graduate from selling this relatively harmless drug to more serious and dangerous crimes.

The Huffington Post ran an article 5 days ago claiming that Marijuana possession arrests exceed violent crime arrests. It's an interesting article.  Here is the link

(Karl, in my youth of course, many years ago, I won every spliff-rolling contest around - some of them were so perfect they should have been exhibits in the Modern Tate.  But they went up in a puff of smoke... ahhh.)

I remember Budweiser being marketed in the UK first in 33cl cans and at 3.6% vol.  It bombed. It's now sold at 5% vol.  It was always sold at 5% vol in Ireland so it was weird that it was marketed differently in the UK.  As you'll remember the pub is the centre of the community in the UK, except maybe in London, where community is a bit different.

@Unseen - my dad died from being hit by a drink driver, so I amm appreciative of people taking care, but I am a drinker.  DUI is illegal, and those who intentionally do it are pariahs exactly because people die from it.  If people drink and don't drinve though - the original discussion on this was alcoholism comparison to paedophilia and I find it difficult to understand that person's perspective.

DUI is wrong, illegal, anti-social, murderous and horrific.  Drinking for social interaction, relaxation, etc. is normal and not others anyway.

I understand there will be many ramifications of this law and others like it, but I am glad New York did SOMETHING.  Having worked in the New Hampshire state psychiatric hospital for 8 years, I have first-hand knowledge of people who absolutely should not have access to guns, period.  In practical terms, I don't know how effective this law will be, but if somebody is hinting to his or her care provider that people's lives are in danger, I think patient-care provider privacy should be considered but not so much that something isn't done.  If some disturbed individual, who was showing signs of having some kind of violent break, was ignored aqnd subsequently killed my child (or anybody), I would want to know, "Did anybody know this person was likely to do this?  If so, why didn't he or she do anything to stop it?"

I know it's a complicated topic and there's no easy solution.  However, I know and have worked with people with psychiatric issues who have shot others.  I know American have the right to bear arms, but I'm afraid if a person's judgment is so poor he thinks it is ok to shoot a neighbor because his stereo is too loud, he should not have been allowed access to guns.  Of course I don't know who knew what before he shot his neighbor, but that is the point.  

This is slightly different, but not so different...  I had the occasion to work with a serial rapist who had been in the secure psychiatric unit of the state prison for 10 years.  He came to my unit when he got out, on his way back into society.  Before he even got there I asked the team, "What happens when he ends up in the gym alone with one of the female workers?"  I was told I was being prejudicial and not thinking of his rights!  Bullshit! Mind you, I was pregnant at the time.   The guy, who was a decent enough guy on the surface, was sweet as pie for several months but eventually went after somebody.

Whatever happened to the guy to make him into a serial rapist is awful, I'm sure, but my sympathy stops at the point when society, knowing he is highly statistically likely to re-offend, lets him because of HIS rights.  Bullshit.  He should never have seen the light of day, if you want my opinion.

If someone has been incarcerated in a mental institution, perhaps they should never have legal access to guns, bearing in mind that so much gun harm is done with illegally acquired guns. However, if I'm so upset with my boss that I obsess about killing him, should I be able to discuss this in private with my therapist without the state being a fly on the wall?

Rights are not absolute, and rights can be overridden.  For example, certain rights are overridden when a person is arrested.  If someone has been proven to have a mental illness, then their "rights" to guns can be overridden. 

So, in the case if guns, we would not say that the mentally ill have "lost" the right to ber arms, we would say that their right is overridden by other rights, such as life rights.  An example of this would be when a prisoner is put in jail, his right to freedom is overridden by our right to be protected.  A gun wielding person who threatens the rights of others has his life right overridden by the police officers who defends the life rights of others. 

If rights are not absolute, then they aren't rights. In our Bill of Rights, #'s 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 all have to do with the treatment of those who break the law. Nowhere in our laws does it state that a person has a right to life or a right to freedom.

Laws and rights are not the same thing.  Sometimes they go together and sometimes they do not. In the US the Declaration of Independence we see Jefferson claiming that:

"...all Men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness--that to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed."

Rights are not absolute. For example, in the Bill of Rights we have Freedom of Speech, but to use a classic example as to how this is not an absolute right, we are not permitted to yell "Fire!!" in a crowded movie theatre when there is no fire.  In this case, the right to freedom of speech is overridden by other rights to life, as yelling "Fire!!" in a movie theatre when there is no fire would endanger peoples' right to life unnecessarily. 

Likewise, a police officer has the obligation to override the right to life of a gunman who is trying to kill innocent people.  In which case the right to life of the innocent overrides the right to life of the gunman.  Both these examples clearly illustrate that rights are not absolute.

Rights are not absolute. For example, in the Bill of Rights we have Freedom of Speech, but to use a classic example as to how this is not an absolute right, we are not permitted to yell "Fire!!" in a crowded movie theatre when there is no fire.  In this case, the right to freedom of speech is overridden by other rights to life, as yelling "Fire!!" in a movie theatre when there is no fire would endanger peoples' right to life unnecessarily. 

One might reply that the right to yell "Fire!!" in a crowded movie theater is, in fact, absolute in the sense that you can't legally be subjected to prior restraint in terms of exercising the right. You just have to be ready for the consequences of abusing that absolute right.

As JS Mill pointed out:

"Your liberty to swing your fists ends just where my nose begins."

In ethics, absolutes have clearly been shown by argument to be completely false.  If one person had the absolute right to liberty and freedom, we would not be able to lock them up if they committed a crime --that is if their rights to liberty and freedom were absolute.

In this case, their right to liberty and freedom have been overridden because someone else's right have been violated and is weightier.

Let me illustrate another way.  Just because one person has the right to bear arms and has the right to freedom and liberty it does not permit them to violate another persons right to freedom and liberty. If the first person's right were absolute, he could do whatever they want.

There are only two kinds of rights: legislated and imaginary. Human rights? Only if they are codified and there is an agency ready to enforce the code.


© 2015   Created by umar.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service