Buffalo, NY — New York’s new gun control law has more issues.
The mental health provisions of New York’s strict gun control law rushed through the state legislature after the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., apparently caused the pistol-permit suspension of a law-abiding, innocent citizen who also had to surrender his firearms to local authorities.
A state judge, however, today reinstated the man’s gun license in ruling that the authorities made a mistake and went after the wrong guy.
The man, identified in local media reports as David Lewis, 35, is a college librarian who uses his guns for target shooting.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new gun law (known as the SAFE Act) contains an additional provision that indicates that once a mental health professional alerts the authorities that a person might be a danger to himself/herself and others, gun licensing officials can pull that person’s gun permit and his weapons can be confiscated.
According to Lewis’ lawyer, who is now suing the state of New York, his client never made any threats and has no criminal record. Apparently the man was taking anti-anxiety medicine for a short period of time but there is no evidence of any mental instability. Moreover, the odd thing is that his doctor never reported him to the state — and evidently no one else did either.
Nonetheless, Lewis received a letter from the Erie County Clerk telling him that his pistol permit was suspended and he was required to surrender his guns — which he did, in compliance with the letter.
The state police and Erie County officials are now engaged in finger-pointing as to who is to blame for this bureaucratic foul-up under the new gun control law. The citizen’s health privacy rights under the HIPPA law may also have been violated by unauthorized access to his medical records.
Before the ruling came down that reinstated the pistol permit in question, Lewis’ lawyer said that “‘Due process’ should come before the suspension. That is where due process comes in – before your rights are taken, due process must occur. That is our Constitutional right, not the reverse.”
According to Erie County Clerk Christopher Jacobs, “the Safe Act is flawed. ‘Until the mental health provisions are fixed, these mistakes will continue to happen.’ ”
Late last month, Cuomo himself admitted that the law was flawed in another respect. He conceded that the provision banning magazines that hold more than seven rounds is unworkable because no manufacturer makes seven-round magazines.
Watch a report from FNC’s Megyn Kelly about this case of mistaken identity that led to gun confiscation: