Guest Viewpoint: N.Y. infringes on gun owners, mentally ill

As the executive director of The Mental Health Association in Tompkins County, a concealed-carry pistol permit license holder in New York, a lifelong resident of New York, a lifetime member of the North American Hunting Club, and a lifetime sportsman license holder in New York, I am appalled by the NY SAFE Act.

My official position as the executive director is that this new law has effectively removed many of the rights of the mentally ill. Thousands of people now must consider risking revocation or suspension of civil liberties in regard to gun ownership/hunting and mental health treatment. A veteran of the U.S. military who returns from overseas with PTSD or some other mental illness will be told that he or she can no longer possess weapons or ammunition? This new law suggests that all individuals who suffer from mental illness are criminals. The truth is that persons with mental illness are far more likely to be victims of crime than they are to perpetrate it.

Extending Kendra’s Law increased the amount of time that individuals can be forced into treatment for their mental illness. Many clinicians are reluctant to hospitalize or force treatment of individuals against their will because they’re sensitive to the individual’s rights. By extending that time period to a year, clinicians could be wearier[sic] than they were before.

This new law is so immoral, unethical and discriminating that I’m ashamed to say I live here.

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