Legal gun owners in New York State deemed mentally unfit by health professionals are unknowingly being added to a state database for probable future gun confiscation.
As part of provisions listed in the state’s draconian SAFE Act, New York’s Division of Criminal Justice Services has found 278 gun owners whom physicians and other “mental health professionals” have identified as mentally unstable, according to a FOIA request submitted by the Syracuse Post-Standard.
Gun owners can be identified by physicians, psychologists, registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers as unfit without their knowledge, as the law does not require health professionals to inform a patient or ask their permission before reporting them to the state.
Some of those identified in the database have reportedly already been visited by police and had their guns confiscated.
Via the Post-Standard:
Cayuga County sheriff’s deputies confiscated guns and took back pistol permits from three residents, one more than the database shows, according to Sgt. John Leja of the Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office.
Police in Cortland County confiscated guns from at least one permit holder, according to Cortland County Clerk Elizabeth Larkin, whose office processes gun permits. “We had another man who came in and voluntarily handed us his permit and gave his weapons to the police and said, ‘I don’t want them anymore,’ ” Larkin said.
New York allows gun owners to co-register their weapons with another permitted family member. In that case, Cortland County Clerk Elizabeth Larkin says, “[T]he sheriff’s office or state police would not confiscate them.”
Critics of the mental health database say the fear of being identified will keep many people from seeking much-needed treatment.
“It’s bigger than I had thought,” New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services Executive Director Harvey Rosenthal told the Post-Standard regarding the amount of people identified. “It sends a message to those who might need care that there are a lot of people who are going to be in a database.”
Gun control advocates, however, say the 278 figure is small – when unfairly compared to the state’s population of 20 million – and claim that guns will only be taken from “individuals who, under no circumstances, should have guns.”
Despite tremendous opposition – scores of New York gun owners last year collectively shred their registration forms in protest of the law – the state remains steadfast in their efforts to seize firearms from the citizenry.
As reported last month, police in Buffalo announced they would begin collecting guns from families who’d suffered the loss of a permitted gun owner.
“We recently started a program where we’re cross referencing all the pistol permit holders with the death records, and we’re sending people out to collect the guns whenever possible so that they don’t end up in the wrong hands,” said Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derrenda.
Some believe SAFE Act supporters and legislators are counting on gun advocates to take their fight to federal court, where a case can be established that could effectively disintegrate the Second Amendment altogether.
“The law’s backers are calling the bluff of gun owners in a very high-stakes gamble,” writes Michael Filozof for American Thinker. “[T]he SAFE Act has – by design – implications far beyond the borders of New York. The law’s backers… know that if the law is upheld in the federal courts, it will be only a matter of time before the opportunity arises for Congress to pass similar legislation for the entire nation, effectively killing the Second Amendment forever.”
Indeed, earlier this year, one of the members of Michael Bloomberg’s now-defunct “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” group penned an alarming op-ed coming clean about the organization’s true intentions: total disarmament of law-abiding gun owners.
“Under the guise of helping mayors facing a crime and drug epidemic, MAIG intended to promote confiscation of guns from law-abiding citizens,” Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik said, confirming what many already suspected about the group.
New York Assemblyman Steven F. McLaughlin, addressing rejected democrat proposals during a New York State Assembly Session shortly following passage of the SAFE Act, also noted that the bill originally mentioned confiscating “assault weapons” and magazines from law-abiding citizens.
Police were already sending notices to people listed on another registry uncovered last year, which targeted New York residents who possessed firearm makes and models now banned under the SAFE Act.