Law Empowers Nurses to Help Stop Gun Violence

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Signed Bill A1181 Requires Reporting by Health Care Professionals

TRENTON, N.J.—June 14, 2018—The New Jersey State Nurses Association applauds new legislation that allows mental health practitioners, including advanced practice nurses (APNs), to keep firearms away from mental health patients who seek to harm themselves or others.

The bill (A1181), signed into law yesterday with five other measures by Gov. Phil Murphy, amends current regulations to require that licensed mental health practitioners exercise their duty to protect by alerting law enforcement if a patient threatens or intends to commit imminent, serious physical violence against themselves or others.

“This is a great step forward in promoting the safety of New Jersey citizens and is keeping with the multi-year call for measures to end gun violence by the New Jersey State Nurses Association (NJSNA)” said Dr. Benjamin Evans DD, DNP, RN, APN, PHMCNS-BC, president of NJSNA and a mental health APN with his own practice. “NJSNA is vitally concerned with the health and welfare of all who are served by nurses in our state.”

NJSNA continues to view gun violence as a public health emergency. Since demanding action on Capitol Hill in 2016, the association has advocated for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study to review the impact of gun violence on the healthcare system its root causes and prevention strategies.

Instructions accompanying President Donald Trump’s March spending bill give the CDC the authority to conduct research on the causes of gun violence without funds to support it, which leaves gun violence researchers pessimistic that any research will ever happen.

“While the instructions are a baby step forward, gun violence incidents seen to be happening more frequently,” Evans said. “We would like continued movement on this critical public health issue. We will be discussing the issue in-depth next week on Capitol Hill with our federal legislators.”



NJSNA, which was established in 1901, is a constituent member of the American Nurses Association.  The New Jersey State Nurses Association (NJSNA) represents the interests of 125,000 registered nurses and advanced practice nurses as an advocate for the nursing profession. NJSNA’s lobbying arm continues to protect the nursing profession through legislative victories. Its nonprofit foundation, Institute for Nursing, helps nurses further their careers by providing continuing education, scholarships and research grants in addition to invaluable networking opportunities. For more information, nurses can visit or contact NJSNA at or (609) 883-5335.


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