(Memphis) A Tennessee Senate mental health gun bill was passed with support from both sides Thursday.
“Physicians and health care professionals have a responsibility of confidentiality. What we are trying to do with this bill is equalize the duty they have to warn the public,” said bill sponsor Senator Ferrell Haile.
Senate Bill 789 will require mental health professionals to report any patient who threatens to harm someone to law enforcement.
Once law enforcement investigates, they are required to report the patient to the FBI for NICS, so they will no longer be able to purchase a firearm once a background check is done.
“I could’ve called a family member and say I’m really worried about them and he needs to go into Lakeside (Behavioral Health Center), he needs to have 24 hour observation. I tell people on the forefront, I have it in my intake that if I hear these things I have a duty to report,” said Licensed Professional Counselor Eric Cassius. “I think it’s a step in the right direction to make sure we are taking more precaution with people who may be violent.”
The new bill will also require courts to report patients they committed to mental institutions with in three days.
Right now, the courts only have to report to the FBI and department of safety once every three months.
The House will address the sister bill Wednesday in the Civil Justice Committee.