A retired police detective and U.S. Navy veteran was stripped of his legal guns and pistol permit by the local sheriff because he sought treatment for temporary insomnia.
Donald Montgomery’s guns were confiscated under New York’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Act, or SAFE Act, a strict gun control law that was rushed through the state legislature after the shooting rampage at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in December, 2012.
Montgomery has filed suit in federal court in Rochester, N.Y., against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other officials for allegedly violating his rights under the Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteen Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The Second Amendment protects the right of American citizens to keep and bear arms.
Cuomo’s gun law contains a new reporting requirement pursuant to the New York Mental Hygiene Law that once a mental health professional alerts authorities that a person might be a danger to himself/herself and others, gun licensing officials can pull that person’s pistol permit and his weapons can be confiscated.
According to The Daily Caller, Montgomery first sought help for his sleep issues from a primary care physician in early May, 2014, after a stressful move from another state. A few days later, he went to the emergency room of a local hospital with the same complaint.
“Staff there diagnosed Montgomery with ‘Depression; Insomnia’ and he was prescribed medication and told to report back to his primary care physician if symptoms worsened over the next several days. Montgomery went back to the hospital on May 23 with the same complaint. He stayed at the facility for 48 hours. Though Montgomery voluntarily sought treatment, he alleges in the suit that staff at the facility erroneously listed him as an involuntary admission — a designation that appears to have put the SAFE Act’s wheels in motion… ‘Nurse’s notes’ from Montgomery’s stay show no documentation of mental health issues.”
Subsequently the ex-cop was allegedly deemed a so-called mental defective, several state agencies got involved, and on May 30, sheriffs showed up at Montgomery’s home and confiscated four handguns and his gun license. Authorities later suspended and then revoked his firearms license altogether.
“So essentially what happens is once you are tagged as a mental defective or involuntarily committed, your personal health information hits the bureaucracy and goes statewide,” Paloma Capanna, the attorney representing the decorated 30-year police officer in the federal lawsuit, said in an interview.
When asked to summarize what he was after in the 56-page legal complaint against the government, Montgomery declared that “What I would like is the Constitution to be observed and not send medical reports willy-nilly throughout the state and to every Tom, Dick, and Harry who isn’t authorized to see them.”
The gun rights lawsuit, among other things, seeks a court order that would toss out the pertinent section of the New York Mental Hygiene Law as it pertains to legal gun ownership, and calls for measures that would further protect medical privacy.
Foes of gun control and the SAFE Act in particular have argued all along that it would lead to the confiscation of firearms from law-abiding citizens.
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