House Substitute 1 for House Bill 302
149th General Assembly (Present)
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 11 AND TITLE 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO INDIVIDUALS WITH MENTAL ILLNESS.
This Substitute Act incorporates House Bill No. 302, and also makes the following changes to House Bill No. 302: (1) Creates a new § 5403 of Title 16, which permits a mental health service provider, institution, agency, or hospital to disclose confidential communications to a law enforcement if the mental health service provider, institution, agency, or hospital concludes that the patient is dangerous to self or dangerous to others. (2) Adds definitions for “dangerous to others” and “dangerous to self” that are based on the definition in § 5001 of Title 16, but expand the temporal imminence of the individual’s actions. (3) Permits a law-enforcement officer to obtain an order of relinquishment from the Justice of the Peace Court if the officer has probable cause to believe that an individual who is the subject of a report from a mental health provider under § 5402 or § 5403 of Title 16 is dangerous to others or self and in possession of firearms or ammunition. This process is an expedited process, akin to obtaining a search or arrest warrant. Under this process, if the Justice of the Peace Court finds probable cause, it must order the relinquishment of firearms to law enforcement and may prohibit the individual from residing with others who possess firearms and grant permission for law enforcement to search for and seize firearms. An order from the Justice of the Peace Court is good for 60 days. If the Department of Justice does not file a petition in Superior Court within 60 days, the Justice of the Peace Court’s order is void and law enforcement must return the firearms. (4) Makes clear that if the Department of Justice files a petition in Superior Court, the individual has the right to a hearing before an order of relinquishment may be granted by the Superior Court. (5) Makes clear that the Justice of the Peace Court and the Superior Court may, as part of an order of relinquishment, order an individual to not reside with an individual who owns, possesses, or controls firearms. However, the Courts may not impair or limit the right to keep and bear arms of an individual who is not subject to an order. (6) Adds consistent relinquishment provisions to Title 16 so that if the Superior Court finds probable cause for an involuntary commitment hearing or orders an individual to outpatient treatment, the Court must also order the individual to relinquish firearms or ammunition. It also makes clear that an individual subject to the order of relinquishment may seek relief from the Relief from Disabilities Board. (7) Makes technical changes to correct a designation in § 1448C of Title 11 and to add “, institution, agency, or hospital” to § 5402(a)(1) of Title 16.
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