TTAG has repeatedly highlighted the lax administrative procedures surrounding the mental health provisions of New York’s SAFE Act. Front line mental health professionals are legally obliged to determine if a patient should keep their gun rights – without any set guidelines on how to make that call. And so it begins . . .”The state says six people in Jefferson County, five in St. Lawrence County and one in Lewis County are not mentally safe enough to own guns,” wwnytv.com reports. The news org goes on to chart the Kafka-esque bureaucratic process that follows . . .

[The mental health professional] files a report, which in Jefferson County is sent to county Community Services.

“We review it, confirm that the license is indeed appropriate and that the case meets the criteria of the SAFE Act,” said Director of Jefferson County Community Services Roger Ambrose.

Once they’ve verified the report, it’s sent to Albany.

From there, State Police find out if the person identified has a gun permit.

If he or she does, police present their findings to the local county court judge.

The judge decides whether or not to suspend or revoke the permit and has local law enforcement confiscate the guns.

Notice something? It’s pure bureaucratic fiat. The gun owner can’t contest facts or file an appeal until after the police show up at his door. After his firearms are in police custody. The subject of the judge’s decision never had a chance to contest what might be a frivolous statement, one taken out of context, or one maliciously filed for personal or political reasons.

In Lewis County one person has already had their guns seized as a result of this process according to the county court clerk.

For the 11 remaining in Saint Lawrence and Jefferson counties, it may just be a matter of time.

Of course, this also points out the dangers of the permitting process. Registration leads to confiscation. First, for gun owners determined to be “dangerously” mentally ill (without due process). Then what?

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

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40 Responses to How New York Confiscates Guns From The Mentally Ill

  1. “The gun owner can’t contest facts or file an appeal until after the police show up at his door.”

    And if he/she *does* “contest facts” when they show up at his/her door, they will blow his/her shit away on the spot.

    What could possibly go wrong here???

        • Yeah, probably in that order. Usually the cat’s a biter and those claws do take their toll.

        • Our three cats would immediately disappear, of course, and the dawg would open the door for them. (golden retriever, ’nuff said). Meanwhile I’m thinking of peeling the vet stickers off the car and dumping the license plate frames ASAP; why get put on someone’s bureaucratic/court radar?

  2. No due process huh?? Register your guns and then loose them with no personal redress??.
    Seems just another unconstitutional aspect of the fine NY Safe Act.
    This is why you must practice head shots.
    Im so glad I no longer live in that rat hole state.

      • I watched a clip of a crook… I mean prosecute explaining asset forfeiture. It’s messed up how they determine the money they stole…I mean legally confiscated was in connection with drugs. They actually test for drug residue on the money which is just a sneaky scam to justify their theft since almost all of our money will test positive for certain types of drugs.

  3. Exactly. Registration makes it all too easy for the government and local law enforcement to know who has guns and just how many. It’s complete crap.

    All you need is the 2nd Amendment, we should never have to register to carry concealed, open carry or own and purchase a firearm or ammunition.

    It’s too bad if you live anywhere in New York since they’ve pretty much repealed the 2nd Amendment.

    • Another name for the Empire State, coined by one of my longtime web correspondents and FaceCrack friends, is the “Vampire State.” Mrs. davidx was raised in Glens Falls, and I have another correspondent friend in the “Capital District.” The City and genuine “upstate” and “north country” New York are worlds apart.

      • So New York City is Panem and the other counties are The Districts.

        Thanks for the warning. I’ll keep hanging here in District 13.

  4. What concerns me about this is the totally random element of a doctor’s interpretation. What are they calling “mentally unsafe”? Is it a bout of seasonal depression? Did they need to go on Prozac for a couple of months? Or did they actually talk about wanting to commit acts of mayhem because of feelings of uncontrollable, unfocused rage?

    Or is it just that the person is seeing a shrink and mentioned owning a gun? Is that doctor a hoplophobic hysteric with a phobia about firearms? Is it possible that it isn’t the PATIENT that’s mentally unstable, but the DOCTOR, because of this irrational fear of weaponry?

    We’ve already seen a woman with a case of post-partum depression having her guns confiscated in California. This can totally happen elsewhere — this is a devastatingly bad law.

  5. I wonder if cops, judges, politicians, mental health professionals, journalists, etc. are subject to the mental health provision of NY’s SAFE Act? The destruction they can reap on mankind is far greater than what a few crazies can incur with guns. Certainly many of them are mentally incompetent and are a menace to society. They all should be screened annually as a condition for keeping their jobs, and all the more so if they possess firearms. Bet the SAFE Act would just go away if this were to occur.

    • “I wonder if cops, judges, politicians, mental health professionals, journalists, etc. are subject to the mental health provision of NY’s SAFE Act?”

      Maybe after a shooting in the line of duty or a choke hold gone wrong?

  6. Still trying to understand why they trust the police in New York with guns. Or tasers. Or to be loose on the streets!

  7. Seems to me that these victims could sue that their sixth amendment rights (right to face your accuser) were violated. It might not change the law, but at least it would make some noise and pull some fence straddlers to our side. Does anyone have real legal training to clear that up?

    • I’d say never. SCOTUS seems to be out of the 2A business. Both the right and left wings of the Court are concerned about what Kennedy (the swing vote) will do, and so neither side wants another 2A case.

      Remember that “longstanding prohibitions” language? That was Kennedy’s. The four pro-2A justices had to put that language in the opinion or Kennedy would have voted against.

    • This coming Tuesday (Dec 9) the 2nd Circuit Fed District Court is hearing oral arguments on the SAFE Act. These are the same justices hearing the Conn case. It has cost the NYS NRA organization a ton of money in legal fees so far and it has been a slow battle. SCOTUS may or may not be in the future, but would suspect it is at least a year away if so. You can check out the legal time line …

      http://nysrpa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=860&Itemid=199

      • Yes, it’s cost the NRA a ton of dough, which the NRA has, but the intent is to keep bleeding them and dragging out what should be obvious conclusions as long as possible. (I realize more than a few gun owners are peeved at the NRA for various reasons, but the truth is, they’ve fought long and hard for us and won us some things we otherwise probably would have never seen, since the various legislation of the Glorious Sixties. Full disclosure: I’m a longtime NRA member and currently at the Patron level and an occasional gun rights activist with them).

  8. I’m sure NJ will see a “Safe Act” when Christie is gone and we have a Dem governor to go with our Dem legislature. Then the nightmare starts since they have a permit record for virtually every handgun in the state. I’m sure they’ll declae every gun owner mentally unstable.

  9. My biggest fear of something like this is what actually gets labeled “mentally ill”. Schizophrenia with a history of violence? No guns for you, and that’s understandable. But what if it gets to the point of “You had ADD or ADHD back in grade school? No guns for you.

    • Therapist: hello Mr Waits, good to see you.
      Me: Hey Doc, my mom just died and I would like to talk to someone.
      Therapist: Oh my, that’s terrible, it seems your depressed, wait one second while I fill out this form.
      Me: Huh?
      Therapist: You could be a danger to yourself and those around you, I must file this form with the police so they can help you dispose of any weapons you might have.
      Me: But Im not going to hurt anyone, I loved my mom and I miss her. Im out of here if your taking my guns for being sad.
      Therapist: Opps! to late its already been emailed. That’ll be two hundred and ninety dollars, pay at the front desk please.

  10. Hey!!! I live in Lewis County. It wasn’t me so it must have been the other guy.

    A few demographics. The county seat is closer to the capital of Canada than the capital of the state. It is about the size of Rhode Island but instead of 1,000,000 folks it has about 28,000. There are more cows than people. I know one person who has around 400 long guns. He is pretty dangerous. His fish and game club put in the only sidewalk in 15 miles so he can get to the trap shooting line with his walker. If i cross the road from my house I am on 78,000 acres of land owned by the NYS. (That is Me)

    Tin Foil Hat Time!!!

    RE: the removal of the Veterans sticker and license plate holder mentioned above. Some of the big box stores in the area will give a discount to any veteran. It used to cost $12.50 to get a designation on your drivers license but I caught a notice somewhere recently that they would start doing the designation for free. So then they know your are a vet. And of course, because they have had some sort of weapons training, all vets are mentally unstable. If you volunteered you are crazy to begin with and if you were drafted ( some of us are still alive) it drove you crazy. Watch out!!

    • “And of course, because they have had some sort of weapons training, all vets are mentally unstable. If you volunteered you are crazy to begin with and if you were drafted ( some of us are still alive) it drove you crazy. Watch out!!”

      I had *extensive* weapons training during my time. And yes, I volunteered (low draft number, sick of skool and not enthusiastic about going on to four more years of it, and wanted to get outta the house (three brothers, sister and parents in a small ranch)).

      Yeah, I’ll be peeling off them stickers and tossing the plate-holders this weekend. Ima gon be so low-profile as to be invisible.

  11. My doctor’s office now asks (via their web portal questionnaire about medical history) if you have any firearms. I don’t think that is any of their business, and luckily blank is an acceptable answer – but that probably just means yes to them.

  12. It is simple do not for yourself or your kids ever seek any mental health counseling. Do not discuss any possible symptoms with any mental heath professional.

    These confiscations will be going beyond “adjudicated dangerous”, which is legitimate, to any instance of simple depression at any point in your life.

    15 years ago when both my parents were killed in the same auto accident I know I was depressed. I had difficulty sleeping, fatigue. Those are symptoms of clinical depression. I had no suicide ideation or any thought of hurting anyone. But if I discussed it with my doctor, a psychologist, or any counselor, it could have generated a permanent record that could at some point give some legal authority the future ability to limit my Bill of Rights civil rights in the second Amendment.

  13. I can’t wait for this to hit my State. The Peoples Republic of Maryland. Personally, I think the States will accomplish their goals without having to rely on Doctors aide.
    They will just pass a law giving the “Authorities” the power to review all prescriptions filled in the state. Then, they can take the ID info for all who are receiving Anti-Depressants, Mood Elevators, etc. and once they have those names and addresses, the police will then check the various firearm records and look for matching info. I’m sure it will not be difficult for the States to find a way to cover prescriptions delivered by mail.

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