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Gun Safety and Persons Living with Dementia

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 94 minutes
Recorded Date: April 21, 2022
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  • Dementia and the Criminal Legal System
  • Red Flag Laws
  • Firearm Life Plan
  • Conclusion
Runtime: 1 hour, 34 minutes
Recorded: April 21, 2022

For NY - Difficulty Level: For experienced attorneys ony (non-transitional)


The U.S. population is aging. Current estimates find that there are more than 46 million older adults age 65 and older. It is projected that by 2050 that number is expected to grow to 90 million. Persons living with dementia- the loss of cognitive functioning- may experience disorientation, hallucinations, and delusions and may become a risk to themselves or others. The presence of firearms can lead to tragic results. This session will talk about the risks, how to describe risk, options for safety planning and legal options to prevent tragedy.

This program was recorded on April 21st, 2022.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Marian "Emmy" Betz, MD, MPH

Professor & Deputy Director of Injury & Violence Prevention Center
University of Colorado School of Medicine

Marian Betz, MD, MPH is trained in emergency medicine and epidemiology, with a research focus on traffic safety and suicide. She is an attending physician at the University of Colorado Hospital, as well as an assistant professor of both emergency medicine, at the CU School of Medicine, and epidemiology, at the Colorado School of Public Health. She completed medical and public health training at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Betz was awarded a Paul Beeson K23 award from the National Institute on Aging for her work to develop a tiered assessment system for older drivers. She has served as an invited member of national workgroups to develop guidelines for suicide prevention by emergency providers and currently serves as an elected section councilor for the Injury Control and Emergency Health Services Section of the American Public Health Association. She was the 2014-15 president of the Academy of Geriatric Emergency Medicine (part of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine).

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Amanda Austin

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

Amanda Austin is the Supervisor at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services with a demonstrated history of working in the individual and family services industry.

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Angela Adkins Downes

Assistant Director - Experimental Education
UNT Dallas College of Law

Professor Downes serves as Assistant Director of Experiential Education at UNT Dallas College of Law, where she teaches classes in domestic violence and interpersonal violence issues. Professor Downes’ law career has focus on public service, policy, and legislative efforts to protect the public trust. After positions with the Collin and Dallas counties’ District Attorney’s offices, Professor Downes previously served as the Attorney for Court Programs at the national office of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the largest nonprofit dedicated to drunk driving and impaired driving issues. She is a former Senior Attorney at the National District Attorneys Association in Alexandria, Virginia, where she focused on child abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking, victims’ rights, and elder abuse.

She is a frequent trainer on domestic violence cultural competency, implicit bias and diversity issues. Prof. Downes has provided training, policy expertise and technical assistance to non-profit agencies on the interpersonal violence issues of child abuse, child protection, domestic violence, human trafficking, and elder abuse. She is a recognized subject matter expert on interpersonal violence issues.

Professor Downes was appointed by the governor to serve on the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists and was re-appointed in 2013. The Board is the regulatory and licensing agency for psychologists in the state. She also served as a member of the Texas Violent Gang Taskforce from 2001-2004. Professor Downes also serves as an associate municipal judge for the City of Glenn Heights,Texas.

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David Godfrey

Senior Attorney
ABA Commission on Law & Aging

David M. Godfrey, J.D., is a senior attorney to the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging in Washington DC. He is responsible for the ABA’s role in the Administration on Community Living funded National Center on Law and Elder Rights and for producing the ABA National Aging and Law Conference. David’s expertise includes supported decision making, advance care planning, health care decision making, legal service delivery, legal ethics, and LGBT aging. Prior to joining the Commission he was responsible for elder law programming at Access to Justice Foundation in Kentucky.

Mr. Godfrey earned his B.A. with honors at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, and his J.D. cum laude from the University Of Louisville School Of Law in Kentucky.

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