Attention: LawAtlas has moved. This archived version of LawAtlas contains some datasets pending migration. Visit us at our new location, .


Long-term involuntary commitment laws permit psychiatric facilities to accept a patient for an extended amount of time, without the patient’s consent, if they are displaying dangerous symptoms of a mental illness. Generally, long-term involuntary commitment proceedings may be initiated when an individual poses a danger to himself or others as a result of mental illness, or is unable to meet their basic needs.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws regulating long-term involuntary commitment. State laws vary on the duration of commitment, the rights that must be provided to a committed patient, and the subsequent limitations, if any, on a patient’s right to possess a firearm under state gun laws.   

This is a longitudinal dataset, displaying laws from March 1, 2015 to May 1, 2016. To explore these laws, click the "Start Here" button below. 

John P. Petrila, JD, LLM and Jeffrey W. Swanson, PhD, MA contributed to this dataset as subject matter experts.

Related Resources

Police Interventions with Persons Affected by Mental Illnesses, a monograph, by Jennifer Wood, PhD, Jeffrey Swanson, PhD, MA, Scott Burris, JD, and Allison Gilbert, PhD, MPH

Firearms Laws, Mental Disorders, and Violence, by Jeffrey Swanson, PhD, MA


Did you know?

In 46 states and the District of Columbia individuals who have been involuntarily committed have limited rights for possessing firearms.

Read more
Map Legend: State Included in research.

Pick a year