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David Lewis, 35, is a college librarian who lives in Amherst, N.Y., not far from Buffalo. He is a licensed pistol-owner who enjoys target-shooting. He has no criminal record and has never issued threats or done anything that would cause concern about his access to a firearm.
Although there is no evidence of any mental instability, for a short time, Lewis was taking anti-anxiety medicine. And that, apparently, was enough for anti-gun zealots in Erie County to use New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s newly adopted SAFE Act to pull his pistol permit and demand his firearms be confiscated.
New York’s gun control measure adopted in January includes a provision requiring mental health professionals to alert authorities when a gun owner might be a danger to himself/herself and others.
Lewis’ lawyer, who is suing New York state, told the Associated Press on May 1 that his client received a letter from the Erie County Clerk in April telling him that his pistol permit was suspended and that he was required to surrender his guns.
Lewis did so, then promptly hired an attorney and challenged the suspension. A state judge on May 1 reinstated his pistol permit and told local officials and the state that the law needs to be revised to prevent the same thing from happening to gun owners across the state without any review of the circumstances.
“Due process’ should come before the suspension,” said James D. Tresmond, Lewis’ attorney. “That is where due process comes in — before your rights are taken, due process must occur. That is our Constitutional right, not the reverse.”
State legislators have expressed no interest in revisiting the SAFE Act to revise it, since they’ve had to do so at least once already, so it is virtually guaranteed that this will become a rather common story as the full ramifications of the hastily adopted SAFE Act become more apparent.
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— New York Gun Control Law: State Police Confiscate Weapons From The Wrong Guy