Could New York state's new gun law backfire when it comes to people with a mental illness? Some experts think so.
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, the Associated Press says.
It could also lead people who most need help not to seek it or get it.
"The people who arguably most need to be in treatment and most need to feel free to talk about these disturbing impulses, may be the ones we make least likely to do so," said the director of law, ethics and psychiatry at Columbia. "They will either simply not come, or not report the thoughts that they have."
We know this is likely true based on stringent government monitoring of another area: aviation.
As I noted on The Current last week, the government is very strict with the medical backgrounds of people who fly. Any possible health problem -- mental or physical -- can mean the loss of flying privileges.
There's an argument to be made that the nation's aviation system is among the world's safest because of this. There's also an argument to be made that it has made it more likely that someone with a mental or physical problem will fly an airplane.
This is especially true in areas of mental health. Many pilots don't seek help or therapy because they'd be required to report it during their next FAA medical exam. But because they don't want to lose flying privileges, they simply do without it.
At least where guns are concerned, the ramifications are obvious.
"If people with suicidal or homicidal impulses avoid treatment for fear of being reported in this way, they may be more likely to act on those impulses," Dr. Paul Appelbaum at Columbia University said.
And several mental health professionals told the AP that the new law destroys the relationship between the doctor and the patient. "No patient is going to tell you anything if they think you're going to report them," said one.
And yet, there's more talk about tracking people who's sought help for mental illness. In Massachusetts today, Gov. Deval Patrick proposed legislation today requiring courts to send all relevant mental health records to the state's criminal justice information system so the federal government could include this information in a national gun license registry.
Is mental health getting too big of the blame for gun violence? Writing in the New York Times last month, Dr. Richard Friedman noted that people with a mental illness are responsible for only 4 percent of violence in the U.S. Alcohol and drug abuse, he said, are far more likely to result in violent behavior than mental illness by itself.
When the head of the National Alliance on Mental Illness met with VP Biden's task force last week, he suggested the U.S. take steps to improve the mental health system. Too many families wait years to get the treatment they need. The current system is impossible for many to navigate, he said. He also pushed for more availability of mental health services in schools.
Today's plan included a minimal amount of money in that direction.
I think mental health is getting far too much of the blame. None of the mentally disturbed shooters in this sad episode in our history sought help from a mental professional. I am no expert but I think that if you are truly crazy to the point that you think you are the sane one and everyone else is nuts that you aren't going to seek help.
I am also confused about this argument that we need to keep the guns out of the hands of the "hands of criminals" as if criminals are born criminals and stay that way forever. People become criminals and people experience mental breaks due to stress and other factors that may be temporary or long-lasting. What happens when we give a law-abiding citizen a gun and then they lose it.
This is one thing that the media has not reported on at all. As someone who has never held a gun I would love to know what happens when you own one. I know you need a permit to purchase one or conceal/carry one, but do you have to go in and renew your permit every year? A car is a dangerous weapon and that is part of why we make people renew their license and at least prove their vision is up to the task. Do we make gun owners renew permits and prove that they aren't crazy? I hope so but I can't find any information that suggests we do.
My personal opinion: No one needs a gun. Sportsmen/women should give their game a fair shake and use a bow and arrow.
A lot of damage can be done with a bow and arrow... I think many people don't give that weapon enough credit for it's ability to kill.
There is a wonderful fallacy in comparing cars and guns.
No one is required to register their car in order to own it. You are required to register it in order to operate it on public roads.
No one is required to have a drivers license in order to operate a car. You are required to have one in order to operate it on public roads.
Money gathered from registration of vehicles is spent on maintaining those roads.
In order to carry a gun in public a concealed carry permit is required in most states (I believe open carry is still allowed in AZ with out a permit, I think WI just changed their laws on this) in most states a carry permit requires training.
Many people would cry foul (rightfully so) if I said that they could not operate their lawnmowers on private property with out a permit and registration from the state. But you ask for the same for gun owners.
Now, as for gun control. The fact that "a gun in the home is more likely to injure you or a family member then an intruder" is a terrible statistic and the NRA should be ashamed.
The NRA has historically been in favor of trigger locks, and I would advocate for mandatory trigger lock purchases with every new purchase of a fire arm. i.e. it would be illegal to sell a gun with out a trigger lock on it.
We already require that guns have cases in order to transport them, there is no reason to not require the guns to be locked when not in use.
now as for mental health... Suicide is listed by the CDC as the 10th most common reason for a deaths in the US link
I've heard from the pro-gun lobby that car accidents kill more people then guns in the US... Car accidents according to wikipedia kill about 30,000 each year. link
Looking at those numbers there are about 6,000 more deaths from suicide then guns... Mental health is clearly a serious issue if we are looking to preserve human life.
How to de-stigmatize mental health, and let people seek treatment... I do not know. I'm guessing that grouping people who seek treatment in with those who have committed felonies isn't the best way to do it.
It is all the medications that everyone is on. Teenagers on prosaic become violent Aderol makes teenagers paranoid and nuts.Almost all of the shooters have been on either prosaic ,Zoloft,aderol. Columbine shooters were on prosaic ,and Luvox. LWhy hasn't a dialogue about antipressants in teens being talked about.
Look at the shooter from movie theatre ,he looked like he was all aderol end up. We are living in a society that thinks you can swallow a pill to solve your children's problems. Biggest mistake is drugging our children ,this is the result suicides and violence. Their brains are fried from antipressants a dashed medications. Lets talk about this
"Many people would cry foul (rightfully so) if I said that they could not operate their lawnmowers on private property with out a permit and registration from the state. But you ask for the same for gun owners."
Lawn movers don't kill people. People with lawn mowers and guns kill people.
Sorry Jon. I mostly agree with you, but that idea just made me smile at the end of a hard day so I had to say it.
In the former totalitarian Soviet Union, people had to be very careful about disclosing their affairs and opinions because almost everyone would spy for the secret police. It was required by law.
I imagine this will be a major step backwards for mental health in the U.S. as citizens become aware that their Bill of Rights are nullified if they seek help for mental problems.
Guns can be stolen from a legal gun owner. Crimes can be committed with other weapons (cars, fertilizer bombs). The best way to a better society is control violent content in entertainment media, such as Theater movies, TV and computer gaming. Tax violent content, R and X rated, for the mental health damage its doing. Games like Grand theft auto with car jacking and murder. Movies like Batman inspiring the Joker in the Aurora massacare.
The 15,000 lb elephant in the room here is all the Military people suffering from PTSD and a host of other mental illnesses. But I haven't heard ONE word about that in this discussion.
There was an attempt back in 2011 by a group of senior military officers to amend gun laws in order to help prevent soldiers from committing suicide. This was struck down and actually a law was put in place which prohibits commanders from collecting any information about weapons privately owned by troops.