A measure that requires mental health facilities in New York to obtain extreme risk protection orders for discharged patients or those on conditional release was approved this week by Gov. Kathy Hochul.
The new law is meant to strengthen the state's Red Flag Law, which is meant to bar people who show signs of being a threat to themselves or others from obtaining or buying a gun.
But after the new law was approved, a woman in Westchester County named Treva Foss Thoms voluntarily checked herself into a mental health facility and was subsequently discharged. She later died by suicide after purchasing a gun.
In addition to the extereme risk protection component, the new law also requires mental health facilities to provide information about the Red Flag Law.
“Supplying concerned family members and others with information on an extreme risk protection order when a patient with a mental health diagnosis is released from a care facility will definitely save lives in the years to come,” said Sen. Peter Harckham, a sponsor of the provision in the state Senate.
The new law will take effect immediately.
“Gun violence and their ensuing tragedies cannot continue to be par for the course in this country. New York’s Red Flag Law was a necessary action to allow courts to order the temporary seizure of firearms from people believed to pose a danger to themselves or others,” Assemblywoman Amy Paulin said. “Now that Gov. Hochul has signed this bill into law, patients and their representatives will automatically receive materials informing them of New York’s Red Flag Law prior to their discharge from a mental health facility. This logical requirement will help minimize risks and ensure the safety of our loved ones and neighbors.”