As of March 16, 2013, the Secure Ammunitions and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act adds Mental Hygiene Law 9.46, which places a responsibility on Licensed Mental Health Professionals (which the law defines as Physicians, Psychologists, Registered Nurses, and Licensed Clinical Social Workers) to use their "reasonable professional judgement" to report to the Director of Community Services, "individuals who are likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others." The subject of the report is not required to own or possess a weapon for this report to be made. Other Licensed Professionals may not report via the SAFE Act.
Reports are to be made electronically via a NY Office of Mental Health web portal. The report will be directed to the Director of Community Services in the County where the individual resides. Click on the links below to make a report, read the law, or to view Frequently Asked Questions or other announcements.
Mental Hygiene law 9.46
* § 9.46 Reports of substantial risk or threat of harm by mental health professionals.
- For purposes of this section, the term "mental health professional" shall include a physician, psychologist, registered nurse or licensed clinical social worker.
- Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, when a mental health professional currently providing treatment services to a person determines, in the exercise of reasonable professional judgment, that such person is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others, he or she shall be required to report, as soon as practicable, to the director of community services, or the director's designee, who shall report to the division of criminal justice services whenever he or she agrees that the person is likely to engage in such conduct. Information transmitted to the division of criminal justice services shall be limited to names and other non-clinical identifying information, which may only be used for determining whether a license issued pursuant to section 400.00 of the penal law should be suspended or revoked, or for determining whether a person is ineligible for a license issued pursuant to section 400.00 of the penal law, or is no longer permitted under state or federal law to possess a firearm.
- Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a mental health professional to take any action which, in the exercise of reasonable professional judgment, would endanger such mental health professional or increase the danger to a potential victim or victims.
- The decision of a mental health professional to disclose or not to disclose in accordance with this section, when made reasonably and in good faith, shall not be the basis for any civil or criminal liability of such mental health professional.
The Office of National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Appeals and SAFE Act is the New York State Office that provides the guidance to mental health professionals on reporting requirements. Please visit https://nics.ny.gov/safe-act.html for FAQ's, Guidance Documents, and more information on MHL 9.46 reporting.
SAFE Act Law