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Informed Consent and the "Red Flag Law" in Maryland: An Ethics Discussion for Maryland Clinicians

  • Tuesday, May 14, 2019
  • 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM
  • Sunrise of Chevy Chase | 2201 Colston Dr, Silver Spring, MD 20910
  • 32


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Presenter: Linda Friskey, LCSW-C

Category 1 | 3 CEUs 

Workshop Description:

This workshop is for clinical social workers and other mental health clinicians in Maryland who want to learn about the new "Red Flag Law" in Maryland as it pertains to clinicians. Also known as "Extreme Risk Protective Orders" law, this law which went into effect in October gives clinicians the legal right to petition for the removal of firearms from the possession of a patient/client who may use them to harm themselves or others. This law has been called a tool for safety, and as such it is not a mandate that we use this tool. Nevertheless, there are important questions we need to ask ourselves: how can we use this tool ethically? When should we use it? When should we not use it? How do we use it? Do we tell our patients/clients about the potential of our going to court to make a petition to remove their gun from their possession? This workshop is an opportunity to learn the steps to take to make a petition for gun removal and to contemplate questions clinicians need to ask themselves regarding this law and whether they want to make changes in their practice. Specific focus will be on the topic of informed consent. This is uncharted water, and together we can work on shaping best practices regarding gun removal as it pertains to our clinical practices and to our patients/clients. 

About the Presenter: The workshop will be presented by Linda Friskey, LCSW-C, who specializes in the intersection of biological/somatic and emotional/psychological concerns. Linda is a seasoned clinician practicing at Linda Friskey, LLC in Columbia, Maryland. 


  1. Discuss the main points of the law.
  2. Discuss what the law states specific to clinicians in Maryland. 3. Begin to formulate answers to questions discussed in this ethics course.
  3. Think of three ways this law may change their practice of clinical work, or make the decision that they do not need to make any changes.
  4. Know where to find articles to read more about red flag laws as they pertain to clinicians.
  5. Discuss pros and cons of requesting that guns be removed and breaking confidentiality in cases in which the situation does not rise to the level of emergency petition or hospitalization.


Hour One: Introduce "red flag laws". Each participant will read the law and we will discuss it as it pertains to clinicians

Hour Two: Discuss the law within the context of the Maryland social work ethics law. (Please note: non-social work clinicians will need to ask their boards whether this course will count for them as ethics credits or as other credits)

Hour Three: Case discussions, pros and cons of making a petition. How to make a petition

Recommended Reading:

APA Resource Document on Risk-Based Gun Removal Laws, June 2018, violence restraining orders"

American Psychological Association. "Keeping Guns Away from Potentially Dangerous People", September 2018, Vol. 49, No. 8, online.

Maryland Psychiatric Society,online 12/6/18, "Maryland's ERPO (Extreme Risk Protective Order/Red-Flag Law)

Category I Ethics CEUs for Maryland Social Workers; others will need to check with their boards
PO Box 711 | Garrisonville, VA  22463 | 202-478-7638 |

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