Experts: Proposed NY gun law might hinder therapy

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Associated Press

Posted on January 15, 2013 at 10:04 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — Mental health experts say a proposed New York state gun control law might interfere with treatment of potentially dangerous people and even discourage them from seeking help.

One provision would require therapists and doctors to tell government authorities if they believe a patient is likely to harm himself or others. That could lead to revoking a patient's gun permit and seizing the gun.

Dr. Paul Appelbaum, director of law, ethics and psychiatry at Columbia University, said that provision might discourage people from revealing thoughts of harm to a therapist, or even from seeking treatment at all.

Dr. Mark Olfson, a psychiatry professor at Columbia, said if the law is crudely applied, it could erode the trust patients have in their doctors which is needed for effective care.

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