At this point, I have not been able to find the actual wording of New York’s new law or the federal government’s proposals; but I have some questions based on the information that I have found.

In general, the concept is that if a person is mentally ill, and a health care professional believes that he poses a threat to himself or others, the doctor must refer the matter to a supervisor, who will determine whether or not the threat is serious.  If he determines that it is a real threat, he is obligated to notify the appropriate police authorities, who will confiscate the patient’s guns.

  • Apparently, the NY law specifies only threats that mention using a gun illegally.  Will this be expanded to include all terroristic threats, which can be verbal, nonverbal, written, or even implied by body language?  If my doctor thinks I’m pointing a finger at him like a gun, can that result in my guns being taken?  (Or maybe they should amputate the finger?)
  • How are the doctor or supervisor supposed to investigate the threat to know whether it is serious?  Once they report to the police, do the police have to conduct their own investigation?
  • Will police need a search warrant to enter my house and take my guns?  Will the doctor’s word be enough evidence to obtain one?
  • Will there be a trial or other hearing to which I could appeal and potentially get my guns back?
  • How long will the report–even a false one–remain on file?
  • What if the guns in the home belong to someone else, like my wife or mother?  Are the police justified in confiscating them?
  • What if I make a threat to use a friend’s gun that is not stored in my home?  Can officials take it away from my friend?
  • What if I say I intend to buy a gun legally and then use it illegally?  Can it be confiscated from the seller?  (Remember, I don’t need a background check to buy from a family member.)
  • From what I can tell, doctor-patient privileges or HIPAA requirements do not apply in cases like this, even though they apply if my underaged daughter gets an abortion.  So what happens if my daughter has an abortion, and then suffers such guilt and remorse that she threatens to shoot herself with my gun?  Does that mean that the police can take my gun away, but they can’t tell me why?

When I was at my lowest, my thoughts of suicide never involved any of my guns–they always involved my car.  I wonder if the police will pay off the loan after they take that away from me.

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