New bill could keep guns from mentally ill in Suffolk

A new bill would require police to report the name of anyone they take to a psychiatric emergency room to the Pistol Permit Bureau. (2/28/13)

SMITHTOWN - Suffolk County could take more aggressive steps to get guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.

Suffolk Leg. Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) is proposing a new law that would require police to check whether anyone involuntarily committed to a psych ward has a pistol permit.

If the bill passes, police would be required to report to the Pistol Permit Bureau the name of anyone they take to a psychiatric emergency room.

Authorities say more than 3,000 Suffolk residents are transported to psychiatric emergency rooms each year. Opponents of the bill worry that the new legislation could violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) medical privacy laws and discriminate against legitimate gun licenses.

The entire Legislature could vote on the bill as early as next Tuesday.
 

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