“The NYS SAFE Act is billed as a necessary law to protect the public and keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people,” wivb.com reports. “But Hamburg attorney Jim Tresmond says his client was notified by letter that his gun permit was suspended upon the recommendation of State Police, who learned the man is on anti-anxiety medication.” With gun owners suffering prohibitions and regulation and fearing federal infringement, this story has gone viral. “Here’s one from The Department of We ****ing Told You So!” a TTAG reader wrote in an email heads-up. Yes, well, I’m not so sure . . .
When I first wrote this post, I hadn’t spoken with Jim Tresmond. I knew him as the Buffalo lawyer who went online looking for Empire State gun guys to participate in a class-action lawsuit against the SAFE Act. I reached out and he responded.
Tresmond and I spoke at length about the story. He emailed me the redacted document featured in the news report above [click here to read it] and provided some more details of the incident. . .
The gentleman in question is 35-year-old librarian David Lewis. According to Tresmond, Mr. Lewis received a prescription for Zoloft last year, after experiencing anxiety about blood tests. He has not been hospitalized for mental illness. He does not have a criminal record. He is no longer taking the drug.
When I asked Tresmond how he knew that the New York State Police pulled Lewis’ license because of his meds, the lawyer said that the information was provided by the court. Unofficially. When I asked Tresmond how he knew that the cops trawled prescription records for a pistol permit holder—as opposed to a medical professional alerting them to potential danger—same answer.
Tresmond sounds sincere enough. And he promised to provide updates. But I’m still left wondering: did this happen? Did the New York State Police really pull Lewis’ pistol permit simply because of his anti-anxiety meds?
It doesn’t make sense. The SAFE Act only directs mental health professionals to inform the state when there’s a public safety danger. As far as I know, it does not authorize access to HIPAA protected medical records. Any such move would bring down a significant shit storm at a time when Empire State gun grabbers are trying to amend and “correct” their anti-gun abortion.
I bring this to your attention for two reasons. First, to point out TTAG’s limitations.
In case you didn’t know, TTAG doesn’t have a team of reporters. While we’re cynical bastards and we dig around for “extra” info on stories as often as possible, we take a lot of stories at face value. We also edit stories for accuracy after publication (often thanks to our readers’ comments). And yes, there have been more than a few times when we’ve got it completely wrong and pulled a misleading or bone-headed post. So it behooves you to read anything we publish with a grain of salt.
Which brings me to point two: there’s a lot of fear and loathing out there. During these dark and dangerous days for American gun rights, gun guys are extremely sensitive to the slightest infringement—editorial or legislative, planned or actual. As well they should. But it’s our ability to see things clearly, as they really are, that distinguishes gun rights advocates from the civilian disarmament utopians. In other words, things are bad enough without making shit up. Or believing the worst without solid evidence.
This website has come a long way since it began, both in terms of traffic and coverage. I’m determined to use the income we generate from your patronage to improve our reportorial and, equally, our editorial standards. But ultimately it’s you, our readers, who keep us honest. Your comments and emails (firstname.lastname@example.org) are critical to our success. As you formulate your thoughts and share your knowledge, please remember that things are not often what they seem. Even when they seem bleak.