ASSEMBLY, No. 3754

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 7, 2012

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman† JOSEPH CRYAN

District 20 (Union)

Assemblyman† JASON O'DONNELL

District 31 (Hudson)

Assemblywoman† ANNETTE QUIJANO

District 20 (Union)

Assemblyman† CHARLES MAINOR

District 31 (Hudson)

Assemblyman† JOHN F. MCKEON

District 27 (Essex and Morris)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Requires firearms seizure when mental health professional determines patient poses threat of harm to self or others.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

††


An Act concerning mental health professionalsí duty to warn and protect and amending P.L.1991, c.270.

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.††† Section 1 of P.L.1991, c.270 (C.2A:62A-16) is amended to read as follows:†

†††† 1.††† a. Any person who is licensed in the State of New Jersey to practice psychology, psychiatry, medicine, nursing, clinical social work, or marriage counseling, whether or not compensation is received or expected, is immune from any civil liability for a patient's violent act against another person or against himself unless the practitioner has incurred a duty to warn and protect the potential victim as set forth in subsection b. of this section and fails to discharge that duty as set forth in subsection c. of this section.†

†††† b.††† A duty to warn and protect is incurred when the following conditions exist:†

†††† (1)†† The patient has communicated to that practitioner a threat of imminent, serious physical violence against a readily identifiable individual or against himself and the circumstances are such that a reasonable professional in the practitioner's area of expertise would believe the patient intended to carry out the threat; or†

†††† (2)†† The circumstances are such that a reasonable professional in the practitioner's area of expertise would believe the patient intended to carry out an act of imminent, serious physical violence against a readily identifiable individual or against himself.†

†††† c.†††† A licensed practitioner of psychology, psychiatry, medicine, nursing, clinical social work or marriage counseling shall discharge the duty to warn and protect as set forth in subsection b. of this section by doing any one or more of the following:†

†††† (1)†† Arranging for the patient to be admitted voluntarily to a psychiatric unit of a general hospital, a short-term care facility, a special psychiatric hospital or a psychiatric facility, under the provisions of P.L.1987, c.116 (C.30:4-27.1 et seq.);†

†††† (2)†† Initiating procedures for involuntary commitment to treatment of the patient to an outpatient treatment provider, a short-term care facility, a special psychiatric hospital or a psychiatric facility, under the provisions of P.L.1987, c.116 (C.30:4-27.1 et seq.);†

†††† (3)†† Advising a local law enforcement authority of the patient's threat and the identity of the intended victim;†

†††† (4)†† Warning the intended victim of the threat, or, in the case of an intended victim who is under the age of 18, warning the parent or guardian of the intended victim; or†

†††† (5)†† If the patient is under the age of 18 and threatens to commit suicide or bodily injury upon himself, warning the parent or guardian of the patient.†

†††† d.††† A practitioner who is licensed in the State of New Jersey to practice psychology, psychiatry, medicine, nursing, clinical social work or marriage counseling who, in complying with subsection c. of this section, discloses a privileged communication, is immune from civil liability in regard to that disclosure.†

†††† e.†††† If a licensed practitioner of psychology, psychiatry, medicine, nursing, clinical social work or marriage counseling who is currently providing treatment services† determines, in the exercise of reasonable professional judgment, that the patient is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others, the licensee shall report, as soon as practicable to the Attorney General the patientís name and other non-clinical identifying information which the Attorney General shall only use to determine whether the patient has been issued a firearms purchaser identification card, permit to purchase a handgun, or any other permit or license authorizing possession of a firearm.† If the patient has been issued a card or permit, the Attorney General shall arrange for any firearm possessed by the patient to be seized pending a hearing.† The Attorney General shall issue guidelines governing the seizure of firearms pursuant to this subsection.†

(cf: P.L.2009, c.112, s.21)†

 

†††† 2.††† This act shall take effect immediately.†

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill would require the Attorney General to seize a firearm that is in the possession of a person determined by a mental health professional to be likely to engage in conduct that poses a threat of serious harm to the patient or another person

†††† Specifically, the bill requires licensed medical professionals in this State, including psychologists, psychiatrists, medical doctors, nurses, clinical social workers, and marriage counselors, to report to the Attorney General when, in their reasonable professional judgment, a patient they are treating is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to that patient or others.† The Attorney General would receive the patientís name and other non-clinical identifying information to be used solely for the purpose of determining whether the patient has been issued a firearms purchaser identification card, permit to purchase a handgun, or any other permit or license authorizing possession of a firearm.† If the patient has been issued a card or permit, the Attorney General is required to arrange for any firearm possessed by the patient to be seized pending a hearing.†