Access to Firearms: When and How Do Mental Health Clients Become Prohibited From Owning Guns?

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Abstract

Psychologists and other mental health clinicians are often called upon to assess violence and suicide risk. Access to firearms has important implications for client safety, but most psychologists report receiving little or no training on discussing firearms with clients in the context of delivering psychological services such as screening, assessment, or psychotherapy. Understanding the extent to which firearm legislation limits legal firearm ownership among people with mental illness can help clinicians identify and respond to situations in which people at high risk for violence may legally own or acquire a firearm. In this article, we discuss three clinical cases and review firearm legislation as it pertains to people with mental illness.

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