New York State Safe Act

New York SAFE Act

The NY SAFE Act (Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act) passed the New York State legislature on January 15, 2013 and was signed into law.  The Act added Section 9.46 to the Mental Hygiene Law.  The act specifically aims to prevent gun violence by creating a mandatory reporting requirement for all mental health professionals who find themselves in situations where a patient may harm him or herself or others. This new law imposes an additional duty on mental health professionals as mandated reporters.

How the SAFE Act Affects SUNY

Amendment to the Mental Hygiene Law:  State University of New York campuses offer health and counseling services to students. Recent changes in the law merit guidance on the responsibilities of all campus mental health professionals. Current State Law imposes several legal duties on mental health professionals. All mental health professionals currently treating students for a mental health condition have a duty to warn and, in some cases, take action when a student is reasonably believed to be a threat to him or herself or others.

New Mental Health Reporting Requirement:  The SAFE Act specifically aims to prevent gun violence by creating a mandatory reporting requirement for all mental health professionals who find themselves in situations where a patient may harm him or herself or others. This new law imposes an additional duty on mental health professionals as mandated reporters.  For purposes of this amendment, a mental health professional includes any physician, psychologist, registered nurse, or licensed clinical social worker who is currently treating a patient for a mental health condition. The focus is on whether or not a patient is being treated for a mental health related condition. For example, a general practitioner treating a patient for depression would be considered a mandated reporter.  A report is warranted when a mental health professional reasonably believes that a patient may harm him or herself or others. A patient’s perceived ownership of, or access to, a weapon is irrelevant. All campuses should ensure coordination in reporting to avoid inaccurate, duplicated, or missed reports. Mandated reporters should have a discussion with the campus Director of Counseling (or equivalent position) regarding whether or not a report is warranted.

When making a report:

After a report is made, DCJS will determine if the student has a weapons permit. Local law enforcement will be contacted to aid in the removal of all weapons from the student’s possession. Further guidance is still needed from DCJS on several issues and, as guidance is forthcoming, we will provide it to you. Questions about this guidance may be addressed to your campus counsel.

Applicable Laws and Regulations

New York SAFE Act (Secure Ammunitions and Firearms Enforcement), Enacted January 14, 2013

References to Supplemental Materials and Best Practices

SUNY Presentation on the Safe Act, February 2013

SUNY Campus Safety Conference:  Balancing Safety & Support on Campus
Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 in Liverpool, NY 
The Office of University Life and Enrollment sponsored the University-wide safety symposium: Balancing Safety and Support on Campus. Over 150 campus personnel attended sessions.  The focus was to review legal mandates related to Title IX and the SAFE Act. There was also a best practices session on campus behavioral intervention teams.  The session topics along with materials distributed are available via the link above.

New York State Safe Act Frequently Asked Questions Webpage

The FAQ, on the New York Rising webpage, is intended to help gun owners in New York understand and comply with the NY SAFE Act enacted on January 15, 2013. If your question is not answered here, the State advises to continue to check back, as the list will be updated regularly.

New York State Office of Mental Health: the Safe Act

Key Provisions of the New York Safe Act

according to NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo's Press Release, "Governor Cuomo Signs Groundbreaking Legislation That Will Give New York State the Toughest Protections Against Gun Violence in the Nation"

Mental Health Alert: Under the legislation, mental health professionals will be required to report to local mental health officials when there is reason to believe a patient is likely to engage in conduct that will cause serious harm to themselves or others. This information will then be crosschecked against the new comprehensive, and regularly updated, gun registration database. If the patient possesses a gun, the license will be suspended and law enforcement will be authorized to remove the person's firearm.

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The information contained on the SUNY Compliance website is for general campus guidance only and is not intended, nor can be relied upon, as legal advice or the imposition on SUNY campuses of specific policies or requirements. The site is intended to be an informational-only clearinghouse for some of the laws, rules, and regulations that may impact the State University of New York’s campuses. Additionally, given the rapid, changing nature of laws, rules and regulations, there may be delays or omissions contained on this site which therefore cannot be relied upon as complete. For complete compliance information, consult your campus compliance officials. For legal advice, consult your lawyer.

Compliance