Online Program

Thinking Carefully About Gun Violence, Mental Illness and Policy Reforms in the Wake of Mass Shootings

Monday, November 4, 2013: 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Following the tragic shooting at Newtown in December 2012, the Obama administration and several states proposed new firearms laws and policies that affect persons with mental illness, as well as mental health service providers. New York's Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act of 2013 included a requirement for mental health professionals to report dangerous persons to local authorities, and also expanded and strengthened the state's Assisted Outpatient Treatment law. Pennsylvania implemented a policy of reporting gun-disqualifying mental health records to the federal background check database, including records of persons detained on short-term emergency commitments. Maryland's gun policy initiative includes selective reporting to the background check system all individuals who have been involuntarily committed for danger to others, but not danger to self; it also provides for increasing investment in mental health screening and crisis intervention services. Indiana, after a previous mass shooting, enacted a “dangerous persons” law that authorizes warrantless seizure of weapons from persons deemed to pose a danger to self or others, irrespective of mental illness, at least until a judicial hearing is held within 14 days. A number of states are developing and implementing policies to restore firearms rights to persons who have lost those rights due to a disqualifying mental health record. This presentation will describe the policy challenges and different approaches to reduce firearms injury and mortality, and will evaluate their potential benefits, drawbacks, and unanticipated adverse consequences for persons with mental illness, mental health professionals, and society.
Session Objectives: Describe federal and state firearms restrictions, laws and policies related to persons with mental illness. Compare and contrast several state-level policies on gun violence and mental illness that have been proposed or enacted in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting. Discuss the implications of these policies for persons with mental illness and for mental health professionals, and to evaluate the policies’ intended benefits as well as potential unintended adverse consequences.
Daniel W. Webster, ScD, MPH

Public attitudes about mental illness and support for gun policies affecting persons with mental illness following newtown   
Colleen Barry, PhD, MPP, Emma McGinty, MS, Jon S. Vernick, JD, MPH and Daniel W. Webster, ScD, MPH
Do firearms restrictions prevent suicide and violence in people with mental illness? new research evidence from New York   
Jeffrey Swanson, PhD, Allison G. Robertson, PhD, MPH, Paul Appelbaum, MD, Li-wen Lee, MD and Marvin S. Swartz, MD

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: Mental Health
Endorsed by: Epidemiology, Ethics SPIG, Law, Injury Control and Emergency Health Services, Maternal and Child Health, Women's Caucus, Men's Health Caucus, Black Caucus of Health Workers, Community Health Planning and Policy Development

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH) , Masters Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES)

See more of: Mental Health