NY Lawmaker to investigate mental-health based gun seizure under NY SAFE Act – updated 4/13/13 – 9AM

UPDATED 9AM, 4/13/13

State Assemblyman Ray Walter says when he saw the news coverage of David Lewis’ case, he knew immediately something was “seriously wrong.” Walter wants some answers, when he meets face-to-face with the State Police Superintendent in Albany next Tuesday.

…Lewis was forced to turn in his seven handguns and stripped of his pistol permit.  After State Police in Albany identified him – instead of a different David Lewis in another county – as being too mentally ill to own them…

What’s supposed to happen, according to the NY SAFE Act, is this: When a mental health professional deems someone a threat to himself or others, she reports that to her supervisor.

Definition of ‘mental health professional’ ?

Definition of ‘threat’ ?

The supervisor notifies the county health commissioner, who sends only non-clinical information – such as the person’s name, date of birth, and Social Security number – to State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice Services.

They are supposed to check that information against their records. If the person has a gun permit, police get back in touch with the county.

Walter said, “The County Clerk then has no discretion, and must either revoke or suspend the pistol permit for the individual that been notified of. There’s no gray area... via Lawmaker to investigate gun seizure | WIVB.com.

Continuing on this disturbing story, this was posted at Pakalert Press (click here for full post there)

New York State is the testing ground my fellow Americans. Yes I know, some people in the country believe Obama and other politicians when they say they are not coming for your guns. But lo and behold there is a form of gun confiscation taking place in New York. In New York they are revoking gun permits and confiscating guns if you are on anti-anxiety medication. In fact, according to one report, not only is the Second Amendment being violated, but HIPAA laws are being compromised and there is violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendment in some cases. David Lewis, 35, of Amherst, New York, who is a librarian with a Masters in Library Science from the University of Buffalo, received a notice that his permit was revoked and he was to turn in his weapons or they would come and get them and charge his with illegal firearms possession.

It looks as though the NY SAFE Act had something in it that has led to this confiscation happening so quickly. What is that you ask? There is a provision that apparently mandates the confiscation of weapons and permits if someone has been prescribed psychotropic drugs.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, back on January 9, 2013 stood and lied to his people when he said, “This is not about taking away people’s guns…that’s not what this is about. It is about ending the unnecessary risk of high capacity assault rifles. That’s what this is about.” Well, we know it’s not about that. We knew it then and we know it even more so today.

In an interview with Mr. Tresmond, he told Freedom Outpost that David Lewis has ceased taking his medication and proceeded to tell us what had taken place.

He said that Mr. Lewis is a “gentle and meek” man who owns several “custom target guns” which he does not use for personal defense, though he has the right to. He engages in shooting at his local range and competition shooting.

On April 1st, Lewis received an official notice from the state which ordered him to surrender any and all weapons to his local police department. His permit to own a gun in New York was also suspended. According to Mr. Tresmond, Lewis was “humiliated” in front of family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and his employer because of the claims of the state.

Lewis then contacted attorney Jim Tresmond (a specialist in gun laws in New York) and they went together to the Amherst police department. Lewis was not surrendering his weapons voluntarily, but was complying with their order. This took place after a New York State Trooper by the name of Sgt. Jackson “aggressively pursuing” Lewis. This pursuit stopped once Mr. Lewis obtained the legal counsel of Tresmond Law.

Mr. Tresmond said that the local police were aware of the letter to Mr. Lewis because they had already been contacted by the State Police. The guns and permits were handed over and a receipt was given to Mr. Lewis. However, they also requested he turn in his magazines since, “he wouldn’t be needing them anymore.” Tresmond’s assistant pointed out that no permit was needed to possess gun magazines, which made the officer they were dealing with nervous. She then referred them to another police officer.

After the guns were turned over, a request for a hearing was filed and Mr. Tresmond says that is still pending, but that Mr. Lewis is to have his guns returned to him. After all, Lewis is innocent until proven guilty.

In going to the New York State Supreme Court on Wednesday, Tresmond says that the County Clerk admits there was a “mistake” and that there was a “breech of Mr. Lewis’ privacy.”

Tresmond says that the state is guilty of a “gross violation of his due process rights.” They took his property first and then, if he so chose, he could demand a hearing at a later time. However, if he did not secure his firearms within one year, they were going to destroy his guns.

“Somebody broke his trust and the relationship that he had with his physician,” Tresmond said. “Somebody investigated his private medical records and without a warrant and we are going to be aggressively pursuing these charges.”

Mr. Tresmond has said that his client has never been in trouble with the law and that he has no criminal record nor has he committed any violent acts. Mr. Lewis “has never had a parking ticket in his life,” said Tresmond. What he did have was a short term health issue that required medication. So how did the government find out about personal health information that is to be between the patient and their doctor? Tresmond believes this is a clear violation of HIPAA and Health Information Privacy policies.

Broad interpretations of the policies, such as “A major goal of the Privacy Rule is to assure that individuals’ health information is properly protected while allowing the flow of health information needed to provide and promote high quality health care and to protect the public’s health and well-being,” specifically targeting the last phrase about the “public’s health and well-being” are more than likely what will be appealed to.

So how does this fit in the NY SAFE Act? According to Governor Cuomo’s website,

“The NY SAFE Act is designed to remove firearms from those who seek to do harm to themselves or others. This means keeping the minority of individuals with serious mental illness who may be dangerous away from access to firearms. This law should not dissuade any individual from seeking mental health services they need.”

I think this law should dissuade individuals considering how tyrannical New York has become.

However, what does this Mental Health Law (MHL 9.46) require to be reported? Again, according to the website,

“MHL 9.46 requires mental health professionals to report to their local director of community services (“DCS”) or his/her designees when, in their reasonable professional judgment, one of their patients is “likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others.”

The gentleman in question in the case who was to turn over his guns didn’t show any signs of either violent or dangerous behavior. He didn’t report himself and according to Mr. Tresmond, his doctor didn’t report him either. So who reported him?  Back to the governor’s website.

“The reporting requirement extends to “mental health professionals,” defined in the law as four professions – physicians (including psychiatrists), psychologists, registered nurses, or licensed clinical social workers.”

Mr. Tresmond indicated that is a legal defense fund set up to help Mr. Lewis with expenses and many have contributed simply by sending money to Tresmond Law Offices for the purpose of defending David Lewis. A Paypal account is also being established. “Mr. Lewis will not emerge from this unscathed,” said Tresmond. His reputation has been harmed by a tyrannical state that has targeted him. Obviously the psychological effect to both him and to those he comes in contact with, including the students he works with, will be tremendous. He can never get back his reputation and people, by nature, will view him a certain way simply because the state has come down so hard on him.

Tresmond says that because it will be a Federal case, this will set a major precedent. “It will set an important precedent for gun confiscation and gun confiscation procedure throughout the nation,” he said.

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