Mental Health Issues Put 34,500 on New York’s No-Guns List

The figure has raised concerns among some mental health advocates that too many people have been categorized as dangerous.

Comments: 243

  1. These mental health databases together with the totally useless "no-fly" list - databases - created by anonymous people using unknowable criteria - are truly Kafkaesque.

  2. Tell that to the orphans who lost their mother because drunken dad instead of making mom wear dark glasses and long pants to hide the marks as he usually did, shot her with a gun. This is not a hypothetical this was a preventable tragedy.

    Tell that to the wife who lost to suicide her veteran husband who run out of antidepressant medication because car problems delayed him from getting to the pharmacy on the base on time to refill his prescription. This is not a hypothetical this was a preventable tragedy.

    The millions who are statistically much more likely to murder or suicide such as the clinically depressed on antipsychotic medication and the violent alcoholics, have no business having access to guns.

    What is truly Kafkaesque is that so many lose their freedom and even their lives to satisfy the greed of gun manufacturers.

  3. Hmmmmmm…. It never occurred to me that "Kafkaesque" could have a positive connotation. Thanks for pointing it out.

  4. Manufacturers? Guns last forever. Go to a range. Meet gun owners. Leave the bubble

  5. "people who posed no threat at all would have their rights infringed."
    My friend's husband killed her using a gun. Her right to life was infringed. Her kids' rights to be raised by their mother were infringed.

  6. The comment might be relevant if you confirmed that the husband would have qualified for the mental health list and this was known before he killed his wife and that inclusion on the list would have likely prevented him from obtaining a firearm.

    NYC has one of the strictest handgun laws in the country and a huge number of people have illegal handguns squarreled away. China has almost no guns in private hands but mentally ill people manage to butcher their spouses with ordinary kitchen knives with depressing regularity.

    We all want to take the bad away but passing ill considered laws with unintended consequences is not the way. Consider the headline inspired NY law: rammed through at midnight without debate by a governor who would sell anyone out to get one step higher in his political career. After the headlines died down nobody told the public that broad sections of the Safe Act had not been put into place because they are unworkable.

    Meanwhile every day tens of thousand of kids are seen by school mental health workers. Who would let their kid near these people if it could result in an lifelong stigma?

  7. While it won't happen in my lifetime, until we get money out of politics, there needs to be a constitutional amendment permitting more rigorous gun control so that only people properly trained and of reasonable mental and physical health, have access to guns, which by design, are designed to kill. There's more than mental health that's the question, how about visual acuity, ability to hold a weapon without a tremor, etc. Medical records remain confidential and there is no stigma if someone is denied a right to own a gun, given the potential harm to him/herself and others. No one is talking about taking away your weapon(s) Michael S, we're talking about regulating their ownership and use. It's ridiculous to think that any intelligent society would permit mentally or physically impaired people to own a gun because it's their God given right. It's about common sense.

  8. You are right for the law to have prevented the tragic murder described by Lynn list should include millions not just 34,500. Guns are a public health nightmare in the US far more threatening than Ebola.

  9. Call me old fashioned but if someone with 11 years of medical training decides a patient is too dangerous to allow firearms, we err on the side of caution.

  10. A) This law does not apply only to those with 11 years of medical training.It applies equally to someone who spent two years getting an M.S.W. or possibly counselors who have even less training.

    B)Under the law, a mental health professional must have a patient whom he or she believes poses a threat to himself or others,hospitalized.Therefore,anyone who actually poses a threat to himself or others should currently be in a locked psychiatric facility,rendering this law redundant,as well as likely unconstitutional.

    C) If these mental health professionals are so good at predicting the future,why can’t they anticipate if and when any of their patients will recover from any condition? How many have ever told a patient that he or she is “cured’ and informed the patient that he was no longer in need of the therapist’s services?
    0 % ??

  11. After Sandy Hook, many people said that sane gun owners were not the problem, just crazies with guns. Now we are attempting to find the crazies, and prevent them from having guns. Isn't that the goal?

  12. Everyone should be on that list. I mean why should anyone be able to easily kill anyone else.

  13. Why should anyone be able to kill a burglar or home invader? Is criminal life more valuable than ordinary life?

  14. What these numbers demonstrate is not that metal health workers are frivolous in reporting. Having worked in the field, I know we are generally loathe to report patients. What it shows is how extensive the violent streak is within humanity. How could one look at the number of murders, suicides, and violent crimes committed in this country and be shocked in the slightest that there are this many people who demonstrate violent or self destructive behaviors enough to alarm a thoughtful psychiatrist?

  15. Sounds rather complicated, but if it prevents one innocent child (or adult) from being murdered, so be it.

    The part about this law preventing people who are on the mental health list from "getting help" is questionable. Mental health "help' is so limited here in the United States it would not be surprising to see that most that do harm have not sought help, or if so minimal. We need more mental health resources available to those who need it.

  16. People who aren't "getting help" in the first place are the ones who commit mayhem with guns.

  17. As reported the list of 34,000+ of people released from mental hospitalization contained 300 with a permit for possession of a gun. This is a small number but that hardly matters. The people in households with a gun are 22 times more likely to be wounded or killed by another using that gun according to the Brady organization.

    As nominee for Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy said, guns are a health problem.
    Not just a mental health problem.

  18. Lets start at the beginning. There is a lot of stress in the world. Human beings, in large measure men, have a great deal of difficulty dealing with the pressure of modern life without making risky decisions that frequently lead to disaster. Make guns available to men who are poor decision makers and the result is dead bodies.

  19. "Among the newest cases was a patient who had threatened to kill his partner. “Becomes aggressive and unpredictable, has history of noncompliance with medications,” the narrative said.

    Two patients had attempted suicide with guns. Another “is exhibiting manic behavior,” the note said. It added that the patient was “not sleeping in the past few days, throwing lit cigarettes and matches around the house,” and had “a history of fire setting.”

    Still one more involved a man who had threatened a housing office worker if he was not helped immediately and was so agitated that it took six police officers to bring him into the emergency room."

    I am totally fine with all of those people not permitted to own a gun,

  20. And I am totally fine with no one being permitted to own a gun.

    When the list of people with concealed-carry permits came out, I checked the neighborhoods around my home. Several neighbors own guns, and one neighbor asked pointed questions about when one can rightfully claim self-defense (e.g., Does the person I perceive as a threat actually have to enter my home, or merely stand on my porch?) at a neighborhood meeting. I am more frightened of other people fearing crime and making mistakes than I am of being a crime victim. And I would not want to be the teacher whose gun-purse malfunctioned, resulting in the shooting of a student or a family member. None of these people would likely qualify for the no-gun database, by the way. Is a death less tragic because it was not intended?

  21. Of course, you have been through every name on the list and found that your examples are representative of the whole. Or, God forbid, you cherry-picked??

    It is a list of persons deemed by a doctor of some sort to be unsafe to have a gun. You would expect to find people on it who would be unsafe. Trouble is that you want to tar all gun owners with the same brush. That's really fair. Or, oops, maybe it isn't.

  22. I’ll wager you that at least 90% on this list have never exhibited any of these behaviors.
    Mental health professionals are required by law to have any patient who poses
    an imminent threat to himself or others be hospitalized.People in psychiatric wards are unlikely to be carrying firearms while hospitalized,and are unable to leave the hospital.This legislation is thus redundant,in terms of those who are actually dangerous.

  23. Why would the reporting requirement in this law discourage an individual from seeking help for mental health issues? Is it the stigma of being reported or one's name on the list? I don't get the connection.

  24. The reporting requirement may lead to the loss of one's rights to possess a firearm. If a person suffering from mental illness knows that if he/she seeks assistance from a psychiatrist, other physician, mental health hospital/clinic, etc., that he/she may denied the right to possess a firearm in the future, then he/she may not seek this assistance in the first place.

    A person in need of mental health care who refuses to obtain assistance for his/her psychological problems may end up more dangerous to himself/herself and others than someone who obtains the appropriate level of care.

    Anytime there are impediments or punishments for seeking mental health care, many people may be less likely to pursue it.

  25. You really don't understand why any person seeking help from a therapist would object to having their name and other reported to the State?

  26. CMR, I guess you have never been in therapy. Don't ask that question in Manhattan : )

  27. The irrational fear of leaving your home without a gun should put a person on the 'no gun' list.

  28. "irrational" depends on your ethnicity, where you live and where you're going.

  29. Then when someone gets raped or robbed, and is defenseless because they left their gun at home? What planet are you on?

  30. You said it! And like so many mental illness, perhaps it should also be labeled and treated as 'Obsessive Gun Anxiety'!

  31. This is an incredibly tough issue on which to strike the right balance. Like most issues, there are a bunch of well-intentioned, honest and thoughtful people trying to find the best way through. This is a great example of an issue where the ultimate answer, should we collectively arrive at one, will involve a nuanced middle way.

    The trouble arises when zealots, (in this case, it has to be said, that means the gun lobby) refuse to recognize the competing interests and instead stick to fundamentalist, sloganeered positions with complete inflexibility. That's how nothing gets done to address very real problems, and how citizens lose faith in their institutions. I generally support the SAFE Act, but I understand the concerns raised by mental health pros, and wherever it needs adjusting I'm open to adjusting it.

  32. The concerns raised by the mental health advocates is nothing. I dont see how it will discourage them from seeking help. Their names only end up on the no-guns list.

  33. From where I sit, the reasonable and rational response is to honor the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The extreme ideologic position would involve legislating someone's rights away based on a subjective opinion. To me, this is rank tyranny, and tyranny should be forcefully resisted.

  34. Never send personal medical information to a county bureaucrat. Send to the county the list of individuals who have somehow eluded the system and managed to acquire a gun and this can be used by the county to enforce the law. This program is pro-active and that is what is needed to prevent the horror of families losing their children to insanity and a gun.

  35. Turn in your enemies!

  36. really? not able to own one is a first world problem; people without them are not just perfectly happy but safer as well.

  37. I am glad to hear. The less people have guns the better. Particularly if they have mental health issues. The right to live trumps the right to own a gun.

  38. Statistically,mentally ill individuals are far LESS likely to commit violent crimes than those who are not mentally ill,but you can surely sleep better at night knowing that guns are being toted around by drug dealers,gang members,mafia members,who are unlikely to have ever reported their “urges to kill people with a gun”to mental health professionals.After all, surely a mentally ill person is far more likely to commit a violent crime than a gang member or drug dealer.

  39. All violent criminals are mentally ill.

  40. Excellent, even if it discourages every last person on the list from seeking help. Now on to rifles, shotguns, pen knives
    and firecrackers.

  41. It's not that it will discourage people on the list from seeking help, it will discourage people who need to be "on the list" from seeking help. I'm probably on the list, by the way.

  42. It seems very unlikely that there are fewer than 35,000 New Yorkers who are not mentally fit to own a gun.

  43. Anyone with a gun is dangerous. If I had to compile a no-gun list for New York, it would contain 8.4 million names.

  44. This..."Even if just one dangerous person had a gun taken away, “that’s a good thing,” said Brian Malte, senior national policy director of the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence. "...and comments like yours and several others here, is why gun owners call it the "slippery slope". Irrational over the top emotionalism. It is not just the far right.

  45. Then we should administer a No-Knife List of the same magnitude.
    Round em up, think of the scrap metal we could recycle into Nissan Leafs and Glitter. Yay !

  46. We loose tens of thousands to gun violence. NO ONE should probably have a gun. And people go crazy over one death to ebola.

  47. anyone with a gun who isn't a police officer or a military person shouldn't have a gun. We should consider anyone with a gun, dangerous. Not even the police or military people can shoot straight, so regular people have to get over the idea that they're Rambo and always hit just their target and only their target. More likely, they'll kill someone in their family. Everyone with a gun should be considered mentally ill.

  48. You have no idea how guns are used.

    You live in a tiny corner of the world where guns have been outlawed so you only hear about guns being used in the commission of crimes. There's a big world outside of NYC where people use guns to feed their families, protect their homes and businesses and for sport and recreation.

  49. I don't feel safe with police having guns. They have proven to be quite dangerous, particularly to minority men. I think many police, especially in New York, are mentally ill. I do not understand why citizens would be willing to disarm themselves and leave themselves to the tender mercies of criminals, who won't disarm themselves.

  50. 34,500 is a ridiculously low number.

    The criteria should not be anyone who is NOW proof positive dangerous to themselves or others but anyone who has a reasonable chance to become dangerous to themselves or others should not have access to guns. So anyone who is abusing alcohol and also and strikes and kicks their wife when drunk, if they have access to a gun may become dangerous. Anyone on antidepressants who misses their pill or circumstances prevent them from taking it may become dangerous to themselves or to others.

    Of course not everyone who loses it when they are drunk and also has given blue and black marks to their wife becomes a murderer. Not every person diagnosed with clinical depression that misses taking medication suicides. However alcoholic wife-beaters or people missing antidepressant medication are epidemiologically MUCH more likely to murder or suicide than someone being killed in a car accident (do the math).

    Yet we have laws mandating seat belts. The car manufacturers fought these laws tooth and nail resulting in millions of fatalities. We need laws for epidemiological murder that should receive the highest penalty allowed under the law for murder including death, if it can be proven that hundreds or thousands lost their lives because a law measurably preventing death was knowingly delayed.

    This approach would result in millions to be added to the list preventing access to guns no just 34,500 and would prevent hundreds from suicide or murder.

  51. It makes sense to restrict firearms from people deemed dangerous to the extent it is possible to make such an unambiguous determination. I have seen estimates from the psychologist community that up to 25% of the population suffers from mental disorders. Of course that would include a range of disorders with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Anyway, 25% is about 79 million people nationwide and about 2.1 million in NYC. Were the stereotype true about the kind of people becoming psychiatrists, psychologists and presumably other mental health caregivers, a greater percentage than that would populate those fields.

    Aside from labeled mental health sufferers, there are then those unlabeled ones operating under the radar. Note that narcissism, which is or can be a useful trait for politicians, businesspeople and showpeople, can sometimes be diagnosed as a mental condition, narcissistic personality disorder. I wish our society good fortune in this endeavor and hope the risks of "inmates running the asylum" can be avoided.

  52. "Anyway, 25% is about 79 million people nationwide and about 2.1 million in NYC." Do those figures include the military and the police force?

  53. After my experience with the broken mental health system I am not surprised. Until they fix it, its better this way. And mental health advocates?; from my experience that term in meaningless.

  54. My brother should have been on that list. Nine years ago our family noticed he was slipping into some form of mental illness. He thought we were out to get him, that we had the problem. When he bought his rifle we contacted the police. We were told he has no criminal record, that there was nothing they could do until he posed a threat to himself or someone else. Seven years later he is awaiting trial for attempted murder. I would rather his rights have been "infringed upon" and still be a free man seeking mental help than in prison getting none.

  55. I live in a public building where the housing managers must wait for something bad to happen before they do anything about a person who they know from other residents' reports is becoming dangerously aggressive. (We recently had our own situation where a mentally unstable man had become dangerously aggressive and
    assaulted a maintenance worker before he was taken away in handcuffs by several police officers.)

    Waiting for actual damage to occur before taking a person's rights does not seem like a good way to run things. Many people are put at risk.

  56. Glad to hear you would rather your brother's rights be infringed. That's the sticky wicket, you see. Be careful, the tread of a tyrant can occasionally be as soft as that of a patriot.

  57. Thank you for sharing that story. I am deeply sorry for the pain your family has had to suffer, and the lack of options you faced.

  58. 34,500? That's all????

  59. My sister and her husband from Long Island are not on that list and are both mentally unstable and own multiple guns.....licensed too. Agree, numbers are way, way too low.

  60. how many of those people seek treatment for the advantages of obtaining a diagnosis - SSI income, disability, immunity from prosecution or legal culpability: maybe a lot. the fat cuts both ways. yet, for the genuinely unstable, why would society want them armed.

    why not approach it a different way: create a fitness profile. want a gun license, have to take a course, pass some tests, be evaluated mentally, physically, and in performance, take annual violence-prevention classes, evaluations, and renewals. sort of like the DMV, minimum competency, but take it up a notch. or like the FDNY certificates of fitness for handling combustible materials, they are laughably easy but at least they set a minimum bar and require a workplace recommendation to qualify. or like construction, which now requires a revolving door of classes, tests, and photo ID card updates if you want to be allowed to work in what used to be a low-entry job.

  61. Your suggestion is fine as long as the prospective gun purchaser pays a fee for this testing and evaluation, the infrastructure for which would be complex and costly.

  62. Rather than have the gun owner pay for the infrastructure, how about having the anti-gun folks pay for it? Bloomberg could devote some of his money from his anti sugar efforts.

    People who want government programs should be the ones to pay for those programs. I'd prefer my infrastructure dollars go to roads.

  63. I worry about the ones who are not on the list.

  64. Given the vastly larger number of people killed and maimed by automobiles driven alcohol drinkers and drug using drivers, perhaps New York state should likewise confiscate the cars and trucks of anyone documented visiting a bar or purchasing alcohol. All prescriptions written could be searched by computer and all users of psychoactive pharmaceuticals would have their vehicles seized and sent to scrap yards to be destroyed just as all seized firearms are automatically sent to smelters.

  65. Alarmist nonsense. What percentage of the population is "having their rights violated"? The article doesn't tell us, but it is less than two-ten-thousandths of a percent of the population of the State of New York. I'm willing to believe that number of people are dangerously crazy. And how many people on this list who desired a weapon were denied one?
    Little to no real information in this useless article. It tells us practically nothing, but does supply the NRA with a new, meaningless factoid to brandish.

  66. I'd sent in a correction right after subbing this comment. My fuzzy headed early morning math was off; should be less than two-tenths of a percentage point. But the point remains the same.

  67. Do we, as a society, attach so much importance to the alleged 'right' to own a gun, that we are willing to risk harm to self and others just because "assumed dangerousness is a far cry from actual dangerousness?" That's like saying just because someone is driving while intoxicated doesn't mean they are going to cause an accident. After all, I suspect there have been hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people in the US who have driven while intoxicated and weren't involved in an accident while driving intoxicated, and yet people are arrested for driving intoxicated even if they haven't been involved in an accident because the risk they represent is considered to be significant.

    Later in the article, there is anecdotal evidence that the people being entered into the 'no-gun' list appear to be, more often than not, a rather self-selecting group, having been "brought to an emergency room by the police or ambulances," based, as a few cited cases reveal, on such attributes as being "aggressive and unpredictable" with a "history of noncompliance with medications;" "attemted suicide with guns;" "exhibiting manic behavior...not sleeping in the past few days, throwing lit cigarettes and matches around the house [with] a history of fire setting;" or someone being so agitated "that it took six police officers to bring him into the emergency room."

    If, in fact, this is "the way the law has played out," then it seems to me to be working as intended.

  68. Which other rights to you claim are "alleged?" Just curious.

  69. Why do you think this right to own a gun is "alleged"?

  70. Mental health advocates consider that high?

    Just curious but have these advocates walked the streets in NYC, taken the subways, road in cabs, attended criminal justice proceedings, studied the crowds during a major hometown sporting event like hockey or football, etc. Who better to know the mindset of their patients then mental health professionals. Ah but the great liberal reluctance to stigmatize ANYONE.

    And the body counts continue to rise.

  71. Are mental health advocates all liberals? Unless you have a survey or some data to back that up it would surprise me if it were true.

  72. In response to F C Lausten, NJ
    Good comment.

    As a Mental Health Professional, I was taken aback when, like you, read that Mental Health Advocates considered these numbers high.

    Often, in our society, we are unable to apportion appropriate weight to competing priorities and err in the wrong direction. Sadly, pragmatism does not triumph in such circumstances.

  73. The desire not to stigmatize the mentally ill should not be confined to liberals. If so, the right winger's are more malevolent than many presume. It is also not merely a conservative agenda to want a law restricting constitutional rights to be the least restrictive way to achieve public safety.

  74. Seems like a pretty good start to me.

  75. "Too many people have been categorized as dangerous…."
    Like me, I am sure there are many who feel like anyone with a gun is dangerous. In a state of many millions, 34,500 is a minuscule percentage, but it is a start. Our nation needs to adopt more laws like this and the new one in California that asks family members to report those whom they feel are a potential threat.
    Finally, as we've clearly seen with the NRA/Surgeon General/Ebola fiasco, the organized thinking of the gun lobby is a danger to our society even without a gun in their hand.

  76. Which of these two outcomes promotes the greater good? (1) The Health department has a list that's too long and unduly prevents several thousand people from exercising their second amendment rights; or (2) a list that's too short and allows several thousand people to purchase and carry guns, thereby putting themselves and other people at risk of injury or death. If you didn't choose outcome two, maybe your name should be added to that list.

  77. I choose 2. What do I win?

  78. This doesn't sound like a perfect system but neither is turning ones head to the elephant in the room. We have a big problem in this country. Let's handle the obvious and proceed in healing a sick society that has been ignored since the 60's with deinstitutionalization. To continue to allow a person that has been treated for schizophrenia, to carry a gun puts "us", in danger. How about a focus on the victims rights!

  79. I am getting tired of "advocates" for the mentally ill telling society that we will hurt their feelings or stigmatize them if we do anything to protect the innocent members of society. First pedophiles, now paranoid schizophrenics with a history of medication noncompliance. Enough already.

    New York City's gun laws are strict and smart. I would like to see them implemented nationwide. If you are calm and don't end up PECed in a hospital after threatening to kill yourself or others, chances are good that you can have your hunting rifle. That's as much as anyone needs.

  80. Whether one is pro or anti gun this program should send shivers down the spine of any American. Using mental health as a way of measuring the level of one's rights in society echos the habits of the former Soviet Union. Any mindset can be described as dangerous and anti-social by the mark of a pen. This Orwellian policy does little to keep anyone safe (look at the almost daily shootings from Buffalo to New York City) and much to move New York and the rest of the country into a new dark future.

  81. I havne't come down on one side or another here; I understand the risk of stigmatizing mental illness, and it also makes sense that society should attempt to keep guns out of the hands of potentially dangerous people.

    However, there is one massive piece of irony. The same people who are arguing that "people who pose no threat at all would their rights infringed" are, by and large, many of the same people who think kidnapping suspected terrorists and locking them up in Guantanamo, or annihilating them (and any completely innocent people who may be in their vicinity) with missiles fired from drones, is totally justifiable, no matter how scant the evidence, because those actions will "protect the American public."

  82. Better check your facts there. Obama's killed more with drone strikes than Bush and unless I missed the story, GitMo is still up and running.

  83. There is great irony in your comment. You support denying mentally ill people guns, but you favor expanding rights to suspected terrorists. How many of those terrorists do you imagine would pass a psychological exam that asked the question of whether they are likely to be at risk of injuring themselves or others?

  84. "...that has raised concerns among some mental health advocates that too many people have been categorized as dangerous." Wrong. I have about 5,000 more in my neighborhood, and maybe another 150 among my friends who I wouldn't trust with a BB gun.

  85. All policies have unintended consequences. We put innocent people in jail and take away their voting rights. Since 18% of NY households have guns, if 10% of those on the list are incorrectly labeled, it might be only 1.8% of the list affected. Compare that with 16% of Kansas voter unable to register under the new law for 5 cases of verified incorrect registrations. Let's object to the most egregious policies and ameliorate harm from reasonable policies through modifications.

  86. Kansas voting laws, after the recent changes, are more lenient than New York State voting and registration laws.

  87. A gun in the house is far more likely to kill family members by so-called normal people, than being used only to protect the home.

    We are treating the wrong ones - the whole gun lobby should be on the no-gun list!

  88. Comments like this one (and many others here) just validate the right-wing's insistence that the true goal is confiscation of all guns. Ironically there is a similarity to pro-life activists, who, unable to overturn Roe v. Wade, attempt to gut it through a myriad of laws and regulations, that make it almost meaningless for many people.

  89. Doesn't sound like too many people. Probably not enough.

  90. It's incredibly sad that the benchmark for full citizenship in our society is now presumed to be the right to own instruments for taking the lives of other citizens. NRA-driven hysteria has gone too far when the foundation of our dignity becomes the ability to kill.

  91. I do not know why anyone needs a gun outside of hunters and the like; However, I think this law doesn't take into consideration that people can have a full recovery from mental illness.

    I was diagnosed with schizophrenia a year ago and have had no recurrence of any symptoms since accepting that a delusion I had for 2 years was "all in my head." I expect to go on and lead a normal life, as long as those around me allow me to do that, which is not always the case, unfortunately. I was also diagnosed with celiac disease around the same time as I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and as noted in a recent NYT's article, celiac and schizophrenia seems to have some relationship to each other.

    When I tell people I have schizophrenia, I often feel like "Casper the Friendly Ghost." I have had people, many who consider themselves liberals, drop our friendship like a hot potato. Anytime I am angry or upset, it is always cause for grave concern, even though under the circumstances anyone would feel the same. When I walk into my therapists office, the receptionist is behind bullet proof glass. Sometime I look at these people and think they must be crazy to think I am so dangerous.

  92. Liane, why and under what circumstances do you tell people you have schizophrenia? One scenario could be that you have gotten to know someone really well and are about to enter an intimate relationship - then it makes sense to tell. But I can't think of any other circumstance where you need to make that known.

    As for the bullet proof glass at your therapist's office, I am sure that it is there because of some past bad experience. Just like the bullet proof glass at a check-cashing agency and many other facilities. You know very well it is not directed specifically toward you.

  93. I tell people I have schizophrenia for the same reason I tell people I am a cancer survivor, or that I have celiac disease. It is a health issue and I am not ashamed of it.

    How many convenience store clerks have had a "bad experience" with an armed robber. They don't all put up bullet proof glass.

  94. @Liane
    Telling people you don't know very well that you have schizophrenia isn't going to help other mentally ill persons, and it certainly isn't going to help you! Shame or no shame.

  95. Our nation has mental illness: It has re-interpreted the second Amendment to make the streets of Washington DC the wild-west. Our nation believes in corporal punishment in the home. Though the social science evidence is clear that guns in the home, as physical punishment in the home, begets violence and aggressiveness, we blind our eyes. It all has something to do with hating government, denial of our commonality, and believing the worst about our fellow men. Yes, that's what real mental illness is: The delusion of evil in our government and in our collective; and the creation of aggression through imagining our world as a video game after spanking the kids and locking our guns away. What a sick nation!!!

  96. Perhaps these same people should not be permitted to drive a motor vehicle either (if not already), especially if new Administration in NYC has true concerns of reducing pedestrian deaths to motor vehicles...

  97. For 15 years, I have volunteered at a soup kitchen that serves many people with mental health problems. I have never been threatened or felt unsafe; nevertheless, I don't believe any of our mentally ill guests should be allowed to own guns. Paranoia, delusions, wild mood swings, and periodic breaks with reality are not qualities that are consistent with safe and responsible gun ownership. I'm sure the 34,500 mentally ill people on this list are not all actively dangerous, but most of the mentally ill spree shooters had not done anything actively dangerous prior to their horrific acts. The point of the law is to keep guns out of the hands of people with a high potential for using them unwisely. I wonder how many NRA members would feel comfortable going to a shooting range or on a hunting trip with a paranoid schizophrenic?

  98. I wouldn’t feel safe going ANYWHERE with an N.R.A. member.

  99. As an NRA life member with a brother in law that would be on this list if he lived in New York I can tell you without a doubt that a person suffering from paranoid schizophrenia should not be in possession of any firearms.

  100. I also don't feel comfortable with paranoid schizophrenics driving cars. Should we deny them driver's licenses, too?

  101. We are obliged to report.
    Suspect the press and the legal system would have issues if someone with contact with the mental health system killed someone with a gun and had not been reported.

  102. And there you go. It's called CYA. The bureaucrat has one incentive: don't find yourself in a situation where someone you came in contact with goes on to shoot someone. Everyone goes on the list and you never find your name on the news.

  103. The all seems skewed to the idea that "packing heat" is a constitutional right which is all wrong; the second amendment applies to the states' right to have a militia which in the 1790's was pretty handy.

  104. Is this a joke? 1% of New Yorkers have schizophrenia. That's 190,000 out of 19 million that should all be on the list. That's just schizophrenia. Folks with mania, severe depression, autism should also be on the no-gun list. 34,000 is a joke. The list should have had more than a million people on it.

  105. Guns are one of our biggest public health issues. If I had my way, we'd have a "gun list" instead of a "no gun list." You'd have to do a lot to qualify as responsible owner, and it would definitely have to include surprise home inspections & hunting licenses. For anyone who just enjoys the thrill of shooting (which I do understand) there would be highly supervised gun ranges.

  106. Guns are not one of our biggest public health issues. Let's outlaw McDonalds and tobacco before we take away any more guns.

  107. Never mind little things like probable cause and warrants, huh?

  108. It's difficult to pas a law, impossible to enforce it.

  109. This is exactly this type of thinking, by professionals or, say, by the mother of the newtown shooter (not my kid!) that allows these messes to go forward. Better to keep guns out of the hands of thousands with mental problems, and the heck with "the stigma", then to risk another massacre. This is not the issue to bow to the minions of political correctness.

  110. I'm not pro-gun by any means, but isn't a gun-lover with a mental illness exactly the type of person who should be encouraged to seek treatment?

    It seems to me that this type of "no-guns list" likely deters many suffering, angry, and disturbed gun owners (whether "dangerous" enough to get on such a list or not) from seeking treatment in the first place -- even if they want, and know they need, mental health treatment, they may avoid it simply for fear of permanently losing their guns.

  111. 34,500 down; tens of millions more gun owners to go.

  112. Finally we have a law honoring the "well regulated militia" clause of the Second Amendment.

    A policy that bans one out of five people hospitalized for psychiatric problems from owning a gun will not turn us into the former Soviet Union. It may, however prevent the next VA Tech or Newtown massacre. The Safe Act gets it right.

  113. It's unfortunate if someone is on the list wrongly, but moreso if they are discriminated against in other areas due to it.

    However, this seems like a reasonable precaution. If we assume you only get onto this list due to some diagnosed or adjudicated mental healthy issue, there will be a record of why you are on the list. Any person feeling aggrieved of this status (if aware of it), should have a due process right to an administrative hearing challenging that status.

    Let's say the burden of proof can be flexible: it will the state's burden to show the risk for some diagnoses - especially if not recent. But with other, more recent diagnoses the burden will be on the applicant to show there is no risk.

  114. This part of the law sounds reasonable, as do the numbers on the list, especially the duplicates......., and an individual has the right to appeal being on list.

  115. So 34,500 people with mental illness in New York have lost the right to privacy because of guns. Appalling, disgusting, and outrageous. Where are their constitutional rights? Since when do we make lists of people for crimes they haven't committed yet?

    The answer lies in stopping a different kind of craziness: A willfully false, wrong interpretation of the second amendment.

  116. Why Americans are so fixated in guns and the Second Amendment is beyond reasonable. Guns should be outlawed. Having said that, if only one group of people is singled out to have their rights taken away by an arbitrary set of guidelines, the name for this is discrimination.
    People who are mentally ill will not seek help, not because they will be afraid they will not be able to buy guns. They will not seek help because they know that their names will be leaked.
    Stigma is not about how a person feels. It is about their quality of life and tier ability to exercise their rights.
    Another red herring to pretend that the cowards who will not stand up to the NRA are doing something about a problem that is about culture and evil, not mental illness

  117. I own a few hunting guns. No pistols simply because I never had an interest. And I will tell you this. Regardless of party affiliation I will not vote for any candidate who attempts to restrict or take away my guns. That singular issue is as important to me as other singular issues that drive other voters. And my passion about this is because of people like you who want to ban all guns. This has nothing to do with the NRA. But I am glad they are there. I enjoy hunting with friends and family. And I sleep better at night knowing if someone wants to come into my home and cause harm to my family I have a fighting chance. Restricting people who have mental health issues and are deemed dangerous from ownership makes sense. The issues for me are who decides, what's the criteria, what checks and balances, how do we prevent someone like you from making the decisions?

  118. If the state of one's mental health would keep him or her out of the Armed Forces, police, fire dept. etc., then that should be enough to prevent them from acquiring a gun.

  119. Given the fact that NY State has a popluation of 19.56 Million people and the NIMH National statistics for Mental Health show the following: One in four adults−approximately 61.5 million Americans−experiences mental illness in a given year. One in 17−about 13.6 million−live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder; 34,500 is NOT a large number of individuals who might pose a public safety risk if issues a license for a firearm.

    Scott El Torquato, MS, LCSW

  120. The great irony of this law is that it would not have prevented Adam Lanza from using his mother's rifle at Sandy Hook Elementary.

  121. Of the 30,000 Americans who die every year from gunshots about 20,000 or 2/3rds are suicides. That makes gun control predominantly a mental health issue. It is not known how many Americans who kill other Americans have a mental illness that has some responsibility for there action.

    America does not have a permanent Surgeon General because the current nominee is opposed by the National Rife Association for stating that gun control is a health issue.

  122. My son owned 2 guns. He suffered (and suffers) from chronic depression. One day he came home after being out for several hours and asked me to take him to the hospital. He said he had been sitting in his car for those hours, with one of his guns, contemplating suicide. He was admitted as a suicide risk.

    He is generally pretty much OK now, after a couple of years of treatment. He no longer owns guns - his choice.

    I think NY's law makes sense. If someone has mental health issues and is acting out enough to be taken to an ER, I strongly believe that person should not possess or have access to a gun.

    If 144,000 people were admitted in 2012 (one year - 2012) for treatment, and only 34,500 overall (all years) are on the list of people deemed so mentally unbalanced that they should not own guns, that strikes me as a very small percentage.

  123. "..their action...."

  124. I had a cousin who was a Vietnam era veteran who suffered from PSTD along with alcohol and drug abuse.

    One morning his mother knocked on his door to wake him up for breakfast. Although he appeared to be asleep he had shot himself in the head with a .22 pistol. Afterwards they found the family photo album where he had methodically excised his image from every family photo. He did not leave a note. Nor did anyone know that he had the gun.

    He was mostly a gentle thoughtful outgoing soul before Vietnam. But after Vietnam he could be withdrawn explosive and unpredictable. But no one thought about suicide or a gun. Until it was too late. His mother gave me a watch and a tie that she planned to give him as gifts.

  125. 34,500 is less than 0.2% of the state population. I'd call that a small number, not a large number.

  126. The question is this: Who is compiling the list? People do have agendas and grudges. A very slippery slope here.

  127. I have been waiting patiently for the NRA to emerge with a few specific, factually documented examples of the SAFE Act being applied arbitrarily and egregiously in specific instances in an attempt to ''prove'' it is ''flawed'' legislation. After all, this legislation will be two years old come January. But, so far, not a single example of ''outrage'' to be echoed by FOX News and the other trumpets in the choir of NRA gun fixation. By that fact alone they should shut up and stand down, as they have no real issue.

    In upstate New York the roadside is littered with yellow signs rallying the converted to ''STOP'' the ''SAFE Act.'' And upstate there have been numerous charges brought for violations of the SAFE Act - without any howl of protests arising. Perhaps it's been because in the instances where violations have been levied it was part of a list of charges for things like selling automatic weapons with serial numbers intentionally removed to ex-felons by drug dealers. You know, the 'bad guys.'

    I'm sure, there will be a ''good guy'' who simply wants to ''kill his wife for being unfaithful, and taking away his family,'' who rallies his friends to his support against the 'mental nannies' and the SAFE-Act.

    The argument that someone who wants to go out and shoot people will avoid seeking mental counseling out of fear that someone will 'put him on a list' that inhibits him getting a gun just doesn't outweigh the prospect of helping to arm such an individual.

  128. Selling automatic weapons with the serial numbers intentionally removed is not a SAFE Act violation. It was a state and federal crime before the SAFE Act.

    The Orwellian "SAFE Act" does nothing to keep New Yorkers safer.

  129. The mental health issue is a straw dog where guns are concerned - and so is the SAFE Act as we need real gun control like Japan, England, Austria or Australia to make a dent in the U.S. gun problem.

  130. When the NFA was passed in '32, where do you think those Tommy guns went?

  131. The Pandora's box is open and now we are a gun owning society; no amount of regulation can deter an angry, gun-owning person from using it in a fit of rage.

    I'm not sure what the answer is in this case, but one thing I do know, unfettered capitalism and democracy are at a fork in the road; people 's rights and the rights of gun manufacturers is the conundrum we are facing.

    Where is King Solomon when you need him?

  132. we are a gun owning society...

    We have always been a gun-owning society, which is why they play a large role in the American psyche. New York, Boston and San Francisco are the outliers on this issue. And again, the Democrats commit political suicide by failing to recognize that.

  133. Thanks, JBR, for the correction; however, that still doesn't solve the question of a society with guns. It's a very serious situation and a certain maturity as a people is required to control the problem. Semi-automatics are insane. I can wrap my brain around rifles for hunting, but, IMO, a blanket license to own any weapons geared for mass destruction reeks of an immature, irresponsible and paranoid people. Add to that the profiteering by the arms manufacturers and unbalanced people claiming rights for owning weapons, and you have the problem we are experiencing now.

    Again, I'm not sure what the answer is but it does need a Solomon to solve it because, in the meantime, there is unspeakable pain suffered by victims, their families and friends with the situation we have now.

  134. By and large, the majority of comments so far (20) seem to say everyone should be on the list, nobody should have a gun for any reason, and that owning one, or wanting to, is a sign of mental illness. These views selectively ignore facts, history and the constitution. Had Mr. Cuomo passed a property or gasoline tax increase in the same manner he passed the "safe act", you'd all be up in arms, no pun intended. I suspect many of you are the same folks decrying government's involvement in women's health decisions, how's that for hypocrisy? These positions, as put forth in those comments, are indicative of an insular frame of reference divorced from the realities of everyday life, and I'd recommend each and every one of you to seek treatment, and get your names on that list. You all trust your local authorities and county supervisors to look out for your well being, right?
    Say what you will about my own state, but I lived in NY for 50+ years and have seen the extent of the corruption and secrecy in government there. Arizona government may be more contentious but it's a lot more open, and places far fewer restrictions on our individual choices. Sure, there's lots of room for improvement, but I'll take the professionalism of the Pima county sheriff's department over that of the NY or Suffolk county police any day of the year. I can see more of government's operations here on my computer than most of you can with a F.O.A. request and a lawsuit.

  135. If this law prevents deaths, including suicides, then I am for it. Having a gun handy makes a snap decision to use it much too easy. In my perfect world, no one would be able to have a gun that wasn't in an occupation that absolutely required it (i.e., law enforcement and the military). But, unlike the NRA, I realize I probably will never live in my perfect world. So this law is a good start.

  136. Given the number of gun murders in this country, maybe being overly cautious is warranted. There are plenty of guns in the wild already.

  137. Each of the situations described in this article seemed to be a very appropriate reason to refuse a gun permit. I'm wondering, though, why alcoholism and drug addidiction aren't included in this list.

  138. This is one of the questions on ATF form 4473 "e. Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?"

  139. Even if just one dangerous person had a gun taken away, “that’s a good thing,” said Brian Malte, senior national policy director of the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence.

    This is so wrong and so un-American I don't even know how to respond. The second amendment is a Constitutional Right for God's sake. IF you don't like the Constitution, there's a process to change it.

  140. wasn't the second amendment, specifically to legalize the 'posse's' used to recapture slaves.......
    I doubt if many people had guns at the time this ws passed...

  141. All we get from the gun-obsessed in the US is gross distortion and outright lies about the meaning of the words "well regulated milita" imposed with guns.

  142. Millions of New Yorkers are too mentally unreliable to have guns.

  143. Mental health will never be fair.

    End the 2nd Amendment. That's the only reform worth having in a global sense.

  144. This study just goes to show what percentage of New Yorkers are mentally ill. I'll bet not enough folks have been categorized as dangerous, imho. A national study would be very enlightening.

  145. This headline is not disturbing. If the law were repsales the headline would read "34,500 New Yorkers Who Were Found Mentally Dangerous Have Their Access To Guns Restored." Now that would be disturbing, indeed shocking.

  146. Just a couple of thoughts from an outsider to New York:

    In general, this reporting requirement seems like a good thing. Certainly we need to do something to quell the violently disturbed. This is an excellent effort.

    But I certainly hope that none of the supposedly rational folks who have commented so far would ever be in a position to confiscate my guns without a trial and without compensation. But who's to say that some of your doctors don't share your irrational lopsidedness? How would you like to have your driving privilege stripped and your car confiscated when you sought treatment for hypochondria? I don't hear anyone calling for this kind of action against the 40K automobile fatalities every year.

    Just something to think about when you set yourselves up as judge, jury and executioner against fellow citizens who mostly pose no danger to anyone. Maybe it is better to leave such decisions to professionals, as the law says, and maybe add an appeal process to help correct the inevitable injustices perpetrated by the do-gooders.

  147. Actually, some states do take away driver's licenses when they determine people are no longer capable of driving safely. That just happened to my dad.

    Additionally, your logic is flawed. You assert that you believe unsafe drivers are allowed on the road, therefore unstable people should be allowed to own guns.

    What a horrible two-wrongs-make-a-right argument.

  148. If I understand this article correctly, the list is indeed compiled by professionals.

  149. Auto fatalities are in the low 30K range. Way too high, but just about even these days with firearm fatalities.
    This list is appealable, as described in the article.
    But it is the role of "judge, jury and executioner" that the gun industry and the NRA sells. You think you shouldn't be on the list? Go see judge. You think you shouldn't be shot dead because someone mistook you for burglar? Well, there is no appeal.

  150. Data please? There are roughly 19.65 million residents in new york state. NIMH data shows roughly 4.1% of the population has a serious mental illness. Using those two numbers, 805,650 people in New York State are likely to have a serious mental illness. Is 42,900 even close? Further, the review process at least seems to have some semblance of working. Given those facts, what is wrong with a precautionary principle? As to Mr. Tsemberis, what data is he using?

  151. ". ....what is with a precautionary principle?" Can preventive detention be far behind?

  152. Since you may not be aware, here is the definition

    The precautionary principle is intended to apply to situations where there is considerable scientific uncertainty; it is not a substitute for evaluating potential effects when sufficient information exists and is typically invoked when data are not available to evaluate potential effects

  153. Sounds like a violation of second amendment rights. Unless someone has committed a crime, I doubt this would withstand legal scrutiny. Using someone's "judgement," professional or otherwise, to deny a constitutional right seems a weak argument. Besides, how many lists does the government keep now? Gun bans, no-fly lists, Occupy protest lists, wrong chat room, wrong mosque, etc. People commenting here with glee should keep in mind that it is their rights - to protest, to travel freely, to speak the truth, to worship without harassment - that could disappear next. Fearful Americans' have given up our rights to privacy because they are afraid of terrorists, now they want to give up other peoples rights to self protection. The ogligarchs and their political minions (who themselves have heavily armed security guards) must be quite pleased.

  154. This is pre-crime. Don't worry about due process or the Constitution. It's not America, it's New York state.

  155. "Well regulated . . ."

  156. My sister and her husband both live on Long Island's Old Brookville area and they are without a doubt "mentally unstable" and own multiple guns. Scary thought that two delusional persons are carrying pistols......legally of course. Scary world we live in.

  157. This is a perfect example. Nasty in law trying to get the police to raid his relatives.

  158. This article misses the point: the SAFE Act establishes a governmental process marking people as dangerous - a largely secret one at that.

  159. Seems like a waste of time and money. How much does this cost?

  160. Maybe its just me but "anybody who expresses any kind of dangerousness” as the article cites should be denied the right and privilege (and never forget that all rights are conditional privileges) of gun ownership until given a clean bill of mental health.

    Sure, individual mistakes will be made, but the law enables court appeal. One mistake is more than counterbalanced by, say, 26 grade schoolers and teachers gunned down in their own classrooms.

  161. I'd be happy if the name of every person in the country was on this list. People who "think" they need to have a gun in their pocket in order to go to the mall, supermarket, church etc. do have a mental health issue called paranoia. On Friday in FL, a 47-year old was sentenced to life in prison with no parole because in a fit of rage at a group of teenagers playing their car radio loud in the parking lot of a convenience store --- he fired ten rounds into the car killing a 17 year old. If that nut hadn't had a gun, this event wouldn't have happened but people with guns suddenly become "superman" and decide that that they can become the law. Let's go for equality and put everyone on the list and end the gun insanity in this country.

  162. No argument from me. In the case of the Florida man just convicted of murder, had he not been, up until he took the life of the 17 year old, been considered nonviolent? Would the NRA have held him up as an example of a responsible gun owner? Would we not have assumed that the retired police officer who carried a gun into a movie theater and shot a man he claims threatened him with a kernal of popcorn have been considered responsible and well-trained in how and when to use a gun? Guns have a way of empowering otherwise benign Joe-Shmows to become judge, jury and executioner, a version of a movie action hero in their own minds. We in the U.S. allow this to happen every time we make excuses for our gun culture and continue to elect people who bow to the alter of the NRA.

  163. Yeah, and those tragic circumstances are played out again and again, ones of times per year in this nation of 300 million. We need to act now to prevent the next loud music shooting spree.

  164. Nice try but criminals don't shop in stores where they check a list. They buy on the street or in Mexico and pay to have an illegal walk them across the border that Obama has wide open, so your idea only disarms the good people who aren't the problem.

  165. everyone should be on that more guns

  166. The predictable outcome of handing a bureaucracy a charge such as this one. They invariably will opt for a means of carrying it out that leaves least to chance and that minimizes the likelihood that someone they DIDN'T catch will commit a horrific act, that will be blamed on the bureaucracy.

    But I wouldn't be excessively concerned about the number in and of itself. Almost 35,000 sounds like a big number, but consider it in context of a state population of almost 20 million.

    Beyond that, aggressive profiling of this nature, for this purpose, shouldn't surprise anyone in one of our national hotbeds of anti-gun sentiment. It's unlikely that we'd see the same level of concern in other populous states, such as Texas or Florida -- and certainly not in some of our smaller ones, such as Wyoming.

    But it's a choice we make, isn't it? Perhaps one we should make by state. It's more important to New Yorkers to guard against another Sandy Hook, that claimed 26 victims, than it is to brand almost 35,000, possibly for life and for unintended consequences beyond gun ownership, as too unstable to exercise a constitutional right. Not as punishment for what they did, but for what they might do.

  167. The kid who committed the Sandy Hook killings, so far as I know, did not own guns... his mother did... The other school shootings I am less sure as to how kids obtained the weapons... Shoot em up seems to be a specific kind of "action." Any explanation?? Does this have something to do with our preferred forms of entertainment??

    Should anyone have a gun? Rifles are for hunting... as I understand it.

  168. What me worry:

    Actually, rifles are for any lawful purpose the owner chooses to use them for, including ridding cornfields of pests such as crows, or even target-shooting.

    Your question is moot. People have a recognized constitutional right to have a gun -- or 500 guns. Changing that would require a constitutional amendment, which hasn't a chance of passing Congress, and even less of a chance being ratified by the states.

  169. Suicidal and homicidal people should not own guns, and if this law discourages them from seeking help, it is because they wish to keep their suicidal or homicidal thoughts as well as their gun ownership secret, which is because they are planning on acting on those thoughts. There is nothing wrong with this law, although it is somewhat redundant as mental health professionals were already required to hospitalize a patient who is suicidal or homicidal, and guns aren't allowed in hospitals.

  170. The process of involuntary hospitalization is nowhere near as simple as you assume. It requires a legal process and even then the threshold for keeping individualized hospitalized beyond the assessment period is often incredibly high. Mental health professional, including the referring doctor, are often helpless to keep a person at inpatient treatment after the inpatient team determines that the crisis is past - and that might be in less than 24 hrs.

  171. Our national gun illness unique to our peer countries is being played out here.

    Many of the comments here are from the the way to cure our illness is to take as many guns away as possible.

    The answer from the right is to arm everybody as possible.

    Both sides miss the point that it is a national cultural illness and knee jerk reactions will not work.. and only a program of legality, regulation, responsibility and non promotion will work like with cigs, drunk driving etc.. where we have drastically reduced the death toll carnage.

  172. Do you have some suggestions? Isn't this regulation for more responsibility, especially when the burden for responsibility cannot be discharged by the mentally ill themselves?

    More suggestions are welcome food for thought to move in the right direction.

  173. Viewing the numerous comments essentially saying everyone should be on a no gun list leads me to understand the objections to the SAFE act from the pro firearms people. The plan is to make private firearms illegal and this law is but a first step.

  174. Repeal and replace. The 2nd amendment is the most ambiguous, contradictory, unspecific, historically misconstrued and outmoded, and impractical amendment to the Constitution. Time to re-write it for the exigencies of modern times.

  175. The gun control lobby uses the same tactics as the anti-abortion lobby - passing incremental legislation that gradually makes it more difficult and onerous to own guns or get an abortion. An unending procession of 'common sense' laws that will ultimately end with confiscation of firearms and banning of abortion nationwide.The right and the left - strange bedfellows using the same cynical strategy to take away American freedoms.

  176. I doubt that the commenters who seem to advocate no private gun ownership really mean that (no hunting?). But even if some do, this is not evidence of a 'plan' to make all such ownership illegal. That conclusion suggests paranoia.

  177. As a taxpayer, it seems burdensome and risky, to pay for S.S.I., or any other cash benefit, to someone who's receiving it based on their mental condition, and at the same time allowing them to possess guns. Guns and mental illness? That just insane.

  178. It's an East coast kind of thinking, Krevich. Sure, you and I can see that, but they are completely oblivious to their insane thinking. This is NOT your father's liberalism. This is, as you suggest, insanity.

  179. The law, ...compels licensed mental health professionals in New York to report to the authorities any patient ..." Depressed, a NYC gun owner? Get a your mental health referral at the pistol range or hunt club.

  180. Can people on this list buy a hunting knife, an ax, or purchase gasoline?

  181. That's a facetious comment. Gun advocates often use that too. Think about what is at stake, super fast killing machines versus caveman style axe? Go figure.

  182. All of those things require some planning, some extended effort, some thinking. Guns require only the pulling of a trigger. Category error. I will trade the loss of those who are killed by axes for those killed by guns any day!

  183. That's a totally fair question. The question I'd have for you is would you rather see a stronger mental health response for people exhibiting dangerous behavior or for people to have generally easy access to guns?

  184. Only 34,500? New York has way more dangerous people than half a percent.... We all do.

  185. I can hardly believe that the U.S. is actually debating which right is more important - the right to live free from the threat of gun violence or the right to possibly own a gun even if you are mentally ill just to prevent the perception you might be dangerous. Doesn't the right to live itself supersede all else? When the consequences of being wrong are dead innocent people, I believe the answer is abundantly clear.

  186. If you want to live in a world where the role of government is to eliminate all danger I'd recommend Ben Franklin's famous saying to you.

    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

  187. Hogwash. First, it's hard to be free when you're dead. And your perception of liberty that implies I should rejoice in the freedom of someone with no criminal record to be able to purchase a gun and threaten me in a theater, church, school, or mall is pure distortion. And no, I am not free if I need to be armed myself and forever in battlefield "situational awareness" to stay alive. The rest of Western civilization has managed to stay quite free without having to live with their heads in constant lookout over their shoulders.

  188. And what good did common sense and logic and reason and facts do to deliver meaningful gun control in the wake of dead kids and teachers at the Sandy Hook CT. elementary school?

    Any mentally ill person with a gun bent on mayhem can evade any "good guy" with a gun unless we want to convert every American venue into Tombstone, Dodge City or Deadwood.

  189. I am surprised the number is so low. We need to reduce the risks to coworkers, family members and school children. I agree that a person should have an ability to challenge the assessment that puts them on the list. I also think too many people own guns for the wrong reason or fail to adequately lock them up, and that is why so many children are hurt by guns.

  190. I'm sure the other rights enumerated in the first 10 amendments to the Constitution should also require people who want to exercise them to appear before a judge and make their case for why they should be able to enjoy the rights the Constitution supposedly guarantees.

  191. Statistically,mentally ill people are far less likely to commit violent acts against others than those who are mentally ill.
    This law does not protect society from gun toting drug dealers,gang members,and any number of truly violent individuals who are unlikely to report their urge to murder people to mental health professionals.
    The risk is far ,far higher in the latter group.

  192. This is a good start on protecting Americans from gun violence, but it still won't protect children from accidental gun deaths or all of us from undiagnosed people with mental illness. No doubt it will keep a few from therapy, but I doubt if it will keep very many from treatment.
    Of course, I think we need to put even more limits on the right to carry fire arms, but I believe this data base is a good start.

  193. No, This isn’t a "good start on protecting Americans from gun violence “. Mentally ill people are statistically far LESS likely to commit violent crimes than those who are not labelled as mentally ill. What this legislation does is to take the focus off guns,and place it on mentally ill. How many gun toting gang members and drug dealers are reporting their urgent to murder people with guns to mental health professionals?

  194. Maybe these people should wear a yellow star armband as well. . . just so we all know who we are around.

  195. And there is scientific evidence that proves that drug and alcohol use in children is damaging, and yet our society continues to produce massive amounts of drugs and alcohol that end up hurting children.
    You cannot attack gun ownership without addressing other public health issues as well.

  196. Anyone who has spent any time at all in New York knows there are a heck of a lot more than 34,500 people who should be on that list!

  197. Going after the mentally ill is just another insane idea by the nra to stop real gun legislation. This does not stop the drunken, drug-crazed or jealous man who shoots his wife and kids and it wouldn't have stopped any of the school shooters because they were not in the mental health system. Bullet-riddled bodies do not lie. Guns kill. Get them off the streets of America. Every gun in America should be licensed, registered on a national database and insured for full liability. Let's elect the Independents and Democrats who want to restore a civil, just democracy in America.

  198. This data base likely doesn't include the thousands that are serving time in the New York penal system. How many professional sports figures currently on rosters are on it? This data base reflects a strange way of looking at the problem and society so consequently has created a "list" that doesn't come close to addressing the problem.

  199. This is exactly why 2A supporters call gun control advocates, "gun grabbers". It turns out to be an entirely appropriate term. Secret lists of citizens created by nameless bureaucrats, gun confiscations for assumed dangerousness, purging, criminalizing thought — a progressive's dream come true!

  200. Oh get real. Modern adherents to efficient market theory simply want the expenses of gun ownership to fully include their social costs, to facilitate more efficient allocation of capital.

  201. Our nation has been whipped up into a panic over 3 Ebola cases in the U.S. -- demanding government action, quarantines, limits on travel, the head of the CDC head on a platter -- but when it comes to the daily slaughter by gun violence in our country, any limit whatsoever seems like too much. Any government intervention is grounds for a militia uprising, according to the NRA. And tens of thousands of dead every year, including the first graders at Newtowne, now approaching its December anniversary, changes not one things in the collective mass delusion of Americans that guns keep us safe. That is a far crazier statement than if I claimed that Ebola keeps us safe.

  202. Too true. More people will die in gun violence today than have contracted ebola in the USA. and tomorrow. And Tuesday......Last year three times as many Americans died from gun violence as have died worldwide from ebola so far.

  203. Individuals identified as domestic abusers are also barred from having firearms. Certainly a much easier population to identify than the debatable concept of mental illness and what constitutes dangerousness. I wonder how many domestic abusers are on NY's No-Gun list compared to this?

  204. There are two classes of citizens within this paradigm, and that is the problem.

    People who have not presented or been labelled with psychiatric "diagnoses" are not preemptively deprived of their full civil rights (in theory). They may not be involuntarily detained, incarcerated (hospitalized), restrained, treated, etc. without their full informed and voluntary (without coercion or threat) consent. The sole means to restrict or deprive them of these rights is to be deemed not to have the capacity to make decisions (from a medically diagnosed alteration in consciousness,dementia or other objectively measured cognitive deficit). Physicians have the ability to recommend that drivers' licenses be revoked, that proxy guardians make healthcare decisions for patients and that other placement and social restrictions be enacted.

    People who have been psychiatrically "diagnosed" are subject to arbitrary loss of civil rights, may be detained at whim, are subject to seclusion, physical and chemical restraints, the loss of the ability to determine one's own healthcare treatment decisions absent of threat and coercion, and the conflating of "therapeutic containment" with criminal justice incarceration.

    This entire separate but equal entirely subjective application of civil rights violations should be abolished. All people should not subjectively be exposed to arbitrary and preemptive rights restrictions. Either one has the capacity to make decisions or one does not.

  205. Statewide, New York ranks number 47 out of 50 in the number of gun deaths. That means only three other states have lower gun death rates, MA, HI, and RI. In a state as large and varied as NY, one that hosts a city of 8 million people, that is proof that strict gun control laws work.

    State Firearm Deaths Ranked by State, 2011

  206. The rankings are based on per capita which means your post is misleading and dishonest. You want us to believe that VT has more gun deaths than the entire state of NY? Less than ME? Nice try but NY, even with strict gun control, ranks near the top in total gun deaths. The good news is NY will never catch the Liberal gun control state of CA which no other state even comes close.

  207. Secessionism still thrives among those who proclaim themselves patriots in the US, eh?

  208. Better to live in NY, MA, HI or RI than Stand Your Ground Florida!

  209. Are the same 34,500 individuals who are on this registry currently in psychiatric wards? The law requires that mental health professionals hospitalize any patient whom they believe poses an threat to himself or others to be hospitalized.Governor Cuomo’s law is redundant ,as well as likely unconstitutional. ,for all patients who are considered to be dangerous must be hospitalized. Any mental health professional who reports to New York State that a patient is too dangerous to be carrying a firearm,who does not have that patient currently hospitalized,is breaking the law by failing to have said patient hospitalized.

  210. This stigmatizes individuals who are already suffering from mental health issues. The problem is not who purchases guns, but that they are so widely available in the first place. This is a supply side solution that persecutes a minority group, when a more effective solution would attack the supply side of gun production. Why are so many guns available in the first place? Why is it a foregone conclusion that the United States will have hundreds of thousands of guns in homes and on our streets? This is like the government restricting access to ice cream for people with heart disease. We know that cholesterol is likely to kill this minority affected group at higher rates, but are we really prepared to establish the precedent of withholding individual autonomy? The issue lies not with ill individuals, but with society as a whole. Particularly, with the NRA, which has institutionalized both the proliferation of fire arms and a belligerent tone surrounding discussion of gun law reform. This is scape goating at its most transparent and its shameful that we and the politicians we ellect don't have the courage to push back against weapons advocacy groups.

  211. I am not a gun person. Still, the idea that nobody should have a gun because a relatively small group of people shouldn't have them seems wrong. Should peanuts be outlawed because some people are allergic to them?

  212. So the answer is to take away guns from all the law abiding people? This solution is far from perfect but at least it attempts to deal with people who are higher risk. Your solution is more like dealing with drunk driving but banning cars. We need to set a high bar to take away what is a protected constitution right whether you like that right or not.

  213. I would have to believe it comes to a question of civil rights, and perceived personal liberty. To diminish an individual's validity as to whether "mentally ill", or not, can fall to some ambiguous criteria. There are cases of a diagnosis of mental illness being postured to describe a patient, when after much scrutiny, it was found that the reasoning behind the diagnosis was simply a differing opinion of philosophy between said patient, and said examiner.
    Willful abuse of power, legislation, and rhetoric does nothing to solve these problems. If, through lawful legislation, we were finally able to eliminate all guns from public possession, it would bring a significant rise to an already astronomical number of knife assaults and murders. Eliminating knives may be the answer, however this would lead to a prosperous growth of baseball bat sales. I hate to come to this conclusion, however the truly sick, demented and skillfully murderous among our population, will never be diagnosed. Both they, and their victims fill the back pages, or at least the obituary columns of every newspaper. The over dramatization of these isolated killing sprees, though they warrant great concern and prayer, falls to decisions made that propel a ideology along with a market that sells advertising views, and popular content. You must address the largest demographic of murderers first. To distract to "lesser" allows proliferation of the most violent cultures among us.

  214. The strange issue about this list is that, according to many in the mental health community, this may not identify those who may act out violent aggression with guns. But, if it even stops one incident that harms or kills an innocent person, then the database is worth it. However, the civil liberty issue remains unresolved.

  215. In other words,it is lawful to violate the constitution in order to theoretically keep one person from committing an act of violence.

  216. Wake up DJS: The Second Amendment is a relic of the colonial and frontier days. To save one life... you bet it's worth it!

  217. By definition schizophrenia s the inability of a person to tell the difference between reality and non-reality. And People who are enrolled in anger management classes are folks who cannot stop themselves from an inappropriate expression of their frustrations. Even people with memberships to the National Rifle Association (BTW that's RIFLE assoc, not GUN association) The list goes on and on. Their is no Recovery for mental illness, their is therapy and medication, and it is a lifelong struggle to ensure the people stay on their meds and go to therapy. And then there are the folks with protective orders against them. I can see where 35000 for 8 million is not an unreasonable number. And who hunts in Manhattan? This is just more Koch Brothers Propaganda and for the sake of children in schools I am not buying it..

  218. This is an example of how very little people understand about mental health. People can end up in anger management classes for verbal outbursts, people who are not likely to inflict physical violence on someone. And MANY people go through depressive episodes and "recover." While some people struggle with it all their lives, other people do not. I think the bigger issue here is how this registry puts people on a list that marks them as unstable, and everyone from employers to insurance companies to condo boards might get access and be able to keep people from accessing things. I support limiting gun access, but absence of knowledge about mental health issues and the potential for abuse of this list make it very dangerous.

  219. So the Dutchess County Commissioner of mental hygiene "...began simply checking off the online boxes, sometimes without even reviewing the narrative about a patient." The result is that citizens can have their constitutional rights suspended in what amounts to a star chamber process. Nowhere else would such a system of suspending or revoking a person's constitutional rights be accepted by the ACLU or the public except in the case of gun ownership. Indeed, as the Times reports, very few of these individuals would likely commit a crime. I suspect this is headed for a court case, as indeed it should.

  220. Listen up, New Mexico. I understand that you think the constitution gives you the right to kill people if they cross you, but it doesn't. Furthermore, the 2nd Amendment states:

    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

    It is one complete sentence with the part about the militia first so we the people don't misread it. Our Constitution gives the right to bear arms to those involved in militia. It does not confer that right to an individual not associated with a militia. It seems to me that a member of "a well regulated militia" would receive formal, yearly training in the use and appropriate discharge of arms. Perhaps suicide hotlines and outreach might even be an issue championed by modern day militia and their gun owners if we followed the plan laid out by our Founding Fathers. We do not and the consequences are dire. Suicides by firearms are 5 times to hundreds of times higher in this country than in any comparable society. By definition then, the unstable are the victims this list is trying to protect. Your lack of compassion, sir, is matched only by your lack of constitutional learning.

  221. I guess you don't know much about New Mexicans. We may be in a forgotten backwater of the nation, but no one, including this native New Yorker, thinks the Constitution gives anyone the right to commit non-justificable homicide.

    The first clause of the 2nd amendment gives the justification of the second; a militia was to be formed of the general male citizenry, i.e., "...composed of the body of the people trained to arms..." and thus the Founders gave the people the right to keep and bear arms (obviously, there can be restrictions on kind of arms and place of keeping). One could as easily state the First Amendment as "an engaged and informed citizenry, necessary for the proper functioning of a democracy, the right of the people to free speech and free assembly shall not be infringed."

    Much of the thinking of the 2A is laid out in several of the Federalist Papers. I suggest you go read them.

    As far as this law? My concern is not that we review people to ensure someone who is medically certified as dangerous can be prohibited from owning a gun. My problem is the low bar of review. Seems to me this law could run afoul of not only the 2A but the 4th. Meanwhile, two things in closing. One, this only applies to handguns in most of NYS. It would not, presumably keep someone from buying an AR. The NICS system would already do that. Two, it does not screen those who do not seek treatment and I suspect a lot of those who need it will now have second thoughts.

    thank you.

  222. I understand being concerned about many things regarding this issue -- that too many people have been categorized as dangerous is not one of the concerns that come to mind.

  223. It should be.How would you feel if YOU were categorized as being dangerous,assuming that you are not?
    Classifying 34,500 ,most of whom are not dangerous,as dangerous,would make it a lot harder to monitor those who are potentially dangerous.

    Imagine the U.S.classifying 34,500 as terrorists .Would that be preferable to classifying those who actually pose a terrorist threat?Our government has managed to allow individual into our country who pose serious terrorist threats,inclusind some who were responsible for murdering 3000 + people on 9/11. as it is.
    Imagine if the government classified 34,500 people as terrorists?The odds of actually keeping one out would be that much more minuscule

  224. I don't think I should be allowed to own a gun.

  225. If I have a history, back over a decade ago, of depression wherein I sought treatment - and the only way at that time with the health insurance policy we had was to get in-patient treatment with medications evaluated and one on one counselling - and the only way to get in-patient treatment was to admit I was considering harming myself - I'd like to know if by seeking help at that point, but not since, is my name on that list??
    I'd also like to know just how confidential that list is. Since that episode, I've received junk mail at my physical address that only could have been obtained from someone having my name from that period of my life. For example, medications that were used short-term - two years later I get mail addressed to me personally at my home advertising a new anti-depressant.
    Do you suppose the only way to find out is to actually apply for a a firearm? I have no need for one, in fact while I understand why the constitutional right exists I believe there must be a better way to go about ensuring we aren't governed by a tyrant than to keep guns in our homes.

  226. There is no such thing as a "confidential" list. None at all. Nowhere.

  227. Has the Times become Fox News? It screams about rights being violated when 34,500 out of 19.65 million people are forbidden to carry guns? Oh My God, .18% of the population doesn't have the means literally at hand to kill someone instantly whenever they get angry!? What are we gonna do? Maybe we should airlift them to Florida where they can kill someone instantly and then go to prison for life. Couldn't some editor think of something else for the lead story? How about the so-far non-existent U.S. ebola epidemic, which also makes the front page a fear monger?

  228. It seems that if someone is put on the list they should be told they are on the list and why. Do you know whether or not you are on the list?

  229. So people with mental problems are dangerous? Democrats aren't civil libertarians?

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. By the way are Cuomo and the rest of New York politicians on the list? We have more to fear from them then some random sick person. They have systemized theft, lies and criminality.

  230. Same data, different headline: 'Less Than One Out of Every Five Hundred New York Residents on No-Guns List."

  231. Who's reporting the mentally unstable professionals? And regardless of what the ultimate "right answer" is, Dr. Russ is absolutely correct. Loss of privacy will most certainly deter some people from seeking help--whether they care to get a gun or not, their privacy is not protected and that breeds mistrust.

  232. No one believes the seriously mentally ill should possess weapons of any sort, but what was supposed to be a carefully monitored filter is in actuality a wide open drain pipe.

    A serious reason for the shortcomings you accurately note is that this law is an UNFUNDED MANDATE. The state of New York has once again directed medical and county officials to utilize their own time and resources to carry out tasks at their own expense (county dollars) without a thought for the already stretched too thin resources, the time these duties would take away from the core responsibilities of these professionals, the inevitable rubber stamp mentality that results as you well document hereand the loss of rights of the vulnerable.

    If Andrew Cuomo had to push this legislation through because it was so very important, inst it important enough to pay for at the State level so that it could be properly implemented, new suitable personnel trained and integrated, and an honest transparent system of gun confiscation where appropriate, initiated?

    Governor Cuomo here takes all of the credit and none of the responsibility. He leaves the heavy lifting to those who have no choice, aren't funded, dont have the time, and dont necessarily believe there is merit to this protocol as written.

    But hey, he gets to say he has the toughest record on guns in the country for his 30 second soundbite. And THAT in the political arena is what its all about. Watch for the trailer on your TV coming soon.

  233. _Only_ 34,500? That seems quite low, given New York's population and the percentage of that population that statistically should have a serious mental illness that would make them "likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others." Let's please err on the side of safety. Guns are hardly a necessary item these days, and while there might be some hunters with serious mental illness who are violent in that group, everyone's safety is more important than their sport.

  234. That number sounds about right, given the population of the state. An overabundance of caution in densely populated areas does no harm. Use appeals processes should an individual question the determination of their medical professional team.

  235. "law enforcement officials may not even be aware of all of the guns someone owns." The author needs to understand, when that occurs, which is the goal of Bloombug and the other control freaks, the Bill of Rights is dead.
    It is one thing to prevent a sale or transfer to a dangerous individual. It's quite another to keep a record of who has what. That's what Dinkins did. The rifle owners were promised it was just to keep society safe. The the City Council changed the law and cops went door to door to confiscate guns that held more than a certain amount of rounds.
    Every reporter for the Times needs to 1. Go to a range and meet the gun owners. 2. Remember, when you are in Vermont and like it, that state requires no permits. 3. Ask yourself why the people who empty NYC buses and parking meters and sell gems are given permits, along with Donald Trump and Bob Deniro, but permits are denied to women who simply wish to be alone at night outdoors.
    I'm in White Plains. I, my wife and my daughter all have carry permits. My friends have carry permits. But don't worry, when I'm in NYC, a mental patient who's been released with a bottle of pills is free to attack me and if I do anything other than scream I'll be charged by the Manhattan DA with criminal possession of a weapon, and get locked up on Rikers.

  236. But the truth is that in all likelihood you are the dangerous one, and the rest of us are in jeopardy from you and your relatives apparently smug in your "right" to wander about with lethal force in your pocket, making your own judgement about its application, supreme in the notion that you are the "good guys". On any given day, I am afraid you are not. And I have been to the range, possibly more than you. Please, stay in your White Plains bunker.

  237. Say half the reported individuals have simply lost their tempers, that is still an awful lot of mentally ill people just wandering around the streets. It shows how broken our mental health system is. They don't have guns now. How do we make them participating and productive in society.

  238. Using the actual population figures, 35,00 is less than

    1/2000 of the 8 million people n NYC

    1/5000 of the 20 million people in NY state

    This does not seem all that high, given the potential risk.

    Nevertheless, I think that anyone on the list who tries to buy a gun ought to have some kind of appeal rights to protect against grudges and mis-evaluations.

  239. Is there any appeal for being put on the secret "no fly" list?

  240. There is an ineffective process called TRIP.

    A district court judge in Oregon ruled in June that Homeland Security must provide a more effective appeal process.
    Look for Case 3:10-cv-00750-BR

  241. The reality is that 'common sense' or 'fairness' will take a backseat to political views. We are either going to have too many people on this list or too few and our opinions about this will reflect whether we are pro-gun or anti-gun. I'm anti-gun so I believe there are not nearly enough people on this list. I'd much rather have someone who should not be on the list prevented from owning a gun then someone who should have been on the list allowed to own one.

  242. The really dangerous ones are those who didn't make onto this list.

  243. Adam Lanza would never have made this list -- he had Asperger's and some learning disabilities, but nothing to suggest he was dangerously mentally ill. He was not under treatment. He'd never committed any crime.

    Elliot Rogers would have never made this list. No criminal history, no dangerous behavior or suicidal actions.

    Most of the mass murderers of recent incidents would never have been prevented by this law. Meanwhile, a lot of harmless people who ONCE had a depressive incident are being penalized.