Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- The goal of a new statewide database in New York is to keep guns out of the hands of unstable people.
Mental health professionals are supposed to report patients who are considered a threat to themselves or others. Family therapist Theressa McMorris worries good intentions may be too broad since several of her clients could be considered temporarily suicidal.
"Now they’re on a national registry for being dangerous. These people aren't dangerous. There are some that are, but the average person isn't. They’re just struggling and having a hard time. That violates a really important place that clients and therapists have,” McMorris told NewsChannel 9.
McMorris poses one of many questions and concerns about the details of New York's new gun control law, even among those who supported more restrictions.
State leaders were both applauded and roundly criticized for negotiating privately before a bill was presented to the full body of lawmakers for a swift vote. Opponents of the bill say it was rushed though the legislature without enough healthy discussion.
Police could be allowed to seize weapons from people reported to the database by mental health professionals. Despite debate over a constitutional rights to bear arms, there is precedent for seizing guns from some convicted criminals. Ultimately, Attorney Ed Menkin argues the law is often a matter of interpretation.
"It really depends on the semantics. Is this a right that is being taken away or is this a right that you forfeited through your own conduct and you have to balance the interest and needs of the community,” Menkin said.
Mental health professionals are already required to report concerns of child or elder abuse and homicidal or suicidal behavior. But, McMorris fears the new law could have serious ramifications.
"We're throwing a whole bunch of people in a cattle car and saying well, what if? No. That’s not the answer. The answer is more services, get people out there, make it available. Let us do our job. Don't handcuff and make us responsible for what other people choose to do. That's not fair,” McMorris continued.
The bill identifies mental health professionals as physicians, psychologists, registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers.
The National Rifle Association had some strong words about the new law and they’re already considering legal challenges, saying, “These gun control schemes have failed in the past and will have no impact on public safety and crime.”
The group also accused Governor Cuomo of using the law to fuel his personal political goals.