The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said it will not comply with the provision of New York’s new gun control law requiring mental health providers to report potentially dangerous individuals to state authorities, reports the New York World. The law calls on doctors and therapists to alert county health officials about patients likely to harm themselves or others. Law enforcers would be authorized to remove their weapons if they don’t surrender them.
But Mark Ballesteros, spokesperson for the Department of Veterans Affairs, said in an email statement that “federal laws safeguarding the confidentiality of veterans’ treatment records do not authorize VA mental health professionals to comply with this NY State law.” Veterans determined mentally incompetent to handle their own affairs by the VA are reported to the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check database. While the background-check database will be used under the New York law to screen firearms sales, the information on veterans’ mental health is not included in the data viewable by states, according to the VA.