New York bans gun ownership for 34,500 citizens without due process

posted at 10:41 am on October 20, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

This is one case where I have to give the New York Times full credit. They have managed – at least in part – to dredge some information out of the New York State government which I have been unsuccessfully trying to obtain since May of this year. (More on that saga below.) The paper has now released details of a database kept by Empire State law enforcement of people who have had their Second Amendment rights terminated on the basis of being “mentally unstable.” The number of people in this database – created as a result of the odious New York SAFE Act – has swollen in a little over a year to more than 34,000 names.

A newly created database of New Yorkers deemed too mentally unstable to carry firearms has grown to roughly 34,500 names, a previously undisclosed figure that has raised concerns among some mental health advocates that too many people have been categorized as dangerous.

The database, established in the aftermath of the mass shooting in 2012 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and maintained by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, is the result of the Safe Act. It is an expansive package of gun control measures pushed through by the administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. The law, better known for its ban on assault weapons, compels licensed mental health professionals in New York to report to the authorities any patient “likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others.”

This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Andrew Cuomo and the New York Democrat party. Efforts to get this blatantly unconstitutional law overturned in the courts have thus far failed, but this revelation should add new fuel to the fire and inspire people to redouble their efforts. For the vast majority of the people on this huge list, they have never had a day in court to challenge their accusers as to their fitness to exercise their Second Amendment rights, nor have they been adjudicated as being truly dangerous. In New York you can show up on this list and lose your rights simply because some anonymous “medical professional” (who doesn’t even have to be a doctor) has reported you.

What’s really shocking is that the Times actually got any information at all. New York has been secretive to the point of paranoia regarding the implementation of this law. As mentioned above, I began knocking on the doors of Albany over this issue back in May. I filed a series of Freedom of Information Law requests asking for the total number of persons who have had their weapons confiscated under the provisions of the NY SAFE Act, their names, addresses and the status of any charges filed against them. The original response I received from Valerie Friedlander at the Division of Criminal Justice was, in its entirety, as follows:

Dear Mr. Shaw

Please be advised that the Division of Criminal Justice Services has no records which are responsive to your request.

I appealed this decision and, in September, I received a more lengthy – though no more helpful – response from Gina L. Bianchi on the Committee on Open Government.

Mr. Shaw,

As we previously advised you, the Division has no records which are responsive to your request. Please be advised that, pursuant to Penal Law §400.00(11), a firearms license is revoked upon a conviction for a felony or a serious offense. Additionally, a judge or justice of a court of record or a licensing officer may revoke or suspend a license. If a license is revoked or suspended, the license holder must surrender the license to the county licensing officer and all firearms, rifles and shotguns must be surrendered to an appropriate law enforcement agency. Accordingly, any data pertaining to the surrender of firearms would be maintained by the county licensing officer and/or police agencies within the State. Such information is not reported to the Division. Crime data and criminal history record information maintained by the Division does not reflect whether an individual was required to surrender weapons.

Please be advised that pursuant to Public Officers Law §89(4)(b), you may initiate a court proceeding pursuant to Civil Practice Laws and Rules Article 78 for review of the portions of your request that were denied.

As I wrote in a follow-up, this answer seemed not only unsatisfactory, but highly unbelievable. I noted to the committee that with only a few clicks of the mouse, anyone could visit criminaljustice.ny.gov/ and find similar statistics, broken down by county, for crimes ranging from violent offenses such as murder and rape to offenses including DWI, drug possession and theft of property. The idea that they don’t track weapons confiscations is highly suspect to say the least.

But the Times didn’t ask for the actual records of confiscations. They asked about the database of all names which have been added to the government’s No Guns For You list. I see that New York is sticking by their secretive policy and claiming that they can’t name the people on the list because of concerns over medical records privacy. This is also preposterous. Nobody is asking to see their medical records, just the public record of our law enforcement agencies who are taking action against citizens.

I was advised that the only way I could proceed would be to request interviews with the individual sheriffs of each of New York’s 62 counties. This process has begun, but the stonewalling at every turn is frustrating beyond belief. We already know that gun confiscation has been taking place in New York since the new law was passed thanks to the unfortunate experience of David Lewis. But it’s taking place under the covers and the state is still fighting tooth and claw to prevent anyone from finding out the details. This must end. We have the right to know what the government is doing, particularly on such a sensitive issue which affects the constitutional rights of our citizens.

UPDATE: (Jazz) More on the history of these laws from Outside the Beltway.

If you happen to take the view that the best way to approach this issue is a “better safe than sorry” approach, then it likely isn’t a problem for you that people who shouldn’t be dragged into the Safe Act’s net are being deprived of their right to own weapons, a right guaranteed by the Second Amendment and that the Supreme Court recognized in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago. More importantly, they are being denied those rights without any notice until a decision is made any then given the burden of having to apply to a court to try to overturn the decision of the permitting authority. Given that in many cases in some of New York State’s rural counties those are sometimes the same people, or at least people who are closely related politically and personally, the odds are often stacked against a gun owner who has had their property taken from them without due process or proper notice. Regardless of how one feels about gun rights, that ought to be troubling.


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Comments

Bumping around the apple with a gun and 44 oz big gulp is two strikes.

RAGIN CAJUN on October 20, 2014 at 10:45 AM

You to have to be “mentally unstable” to continue living in that cesspool…

Pelosi Schmelosi on October 20, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Since this garbage apparently passes Constitutional muster somehow, what’s to stop the government from compiling an “unfit to buy a gun” list with 300 million names on it, or to make it illegal to buy firearms that can carry more than 0 rounds of ammunition in their magazine?

TaraMaclay on October 20, 2014 at 10:51 AM

It is their goal: the ultimate seizure of all privately owned firearms. I once read a book called “The Manufacture of Madness” which showed how the definition of “madness” is in the eye of the beholder, and when the beholder is the government, you can be found “wanting” simply on their say so.

Sandy Hook was a tragedy on more than one level; it gave liberals another means of attacking our rights.

DimsdalePiranha on October 20, 2014 at 10:54 AM

You didn’t vote Democrat? Well if that isn’t “mentally unstable,” I don’t know what is.

Occams Stubble on October 20, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Sometimes you’d think the Supreme Court, while watching a train wreck in progress, would step in and put a halt to obvious violations of the Constitution. Instead, they wait until every “i” is dotted and every “t” is legally crossed and step in years later after the damage has already been done.

I imagine the criteria used to be placed on this list is flimsy at best and subject to the whims of the Democrats in power.

iamsaved on October 20, 2014 at 10:58 AM

New York State does not have the legal authority to void the 2nd Amendment any more than it has the ability to start sending people to prison without trial.

ConstantineXI on October 20, 2014 at 11:02 AM

It is their goal: the ultimate seizure of all privately owned firearms. I once read a book called “The Manufacture of Madness” which showed how the definition of “madness” is in the eye of the beholder, and when the beholder is the government, you can be found “wanting” simply on their say so.

Sandy Hook was a tragedy on more than one level; it gave liberals another means of attacking our rights.

DimsdalePiranha on October 20, 2014 at 10:54 AM

If they seize all the firearms what will stop them from imposing “utopia” on us?

A good person has a healthy fear of God.

A good government has a healthy fear of The People.

ConstantineXI on October 20, 2014 at 11:04 AM

This goes on in every state…it’s called the PPO system.

gdossetto on October 20, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Don’t EVER apply for a permit for anything. I won’t, not EVER.

southsideironworks on October 20, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Cuomo wants to be POTUS….! Good times….

d1carter on October 20, 2014 at 11:08 AM

New York bans gun ownership for 34,500 citizens without due process

New York bans gun ownership for 34,500 citizens without due process?! /Shaprton.

nobar on October 20, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Are there lawsuits challenging this Safe Act? It seems to violate a lot of constitutional rights and current fed laws. See HIPPA.

Kissmygrits on October 20, 2014 at 11:08 AM

So what is new???

A man can be ACCUSED not convicted of domestic violence and lose his rights under the 2nd amendmant.

Thanks democrats – the lout – loutenberg

Kuffar on October 20, 2014 at 11:08 AM

At the heart of every Leftist is a frustrated dictator.

mankai on October 20, 2014 at 11:10 AM

New York: The Empire (Strikes Back) State

Kraken on October 20, 2014 at 11:10 AM

Bullets First. Drown on your way to starvation leftist progressive shits.

Bmore on October 20, 2014 at 11:10 AM

I think a lot of you, as usual, overestimate the American public.

Millions of British people had privately owned firearms, and when each new set of bans were passed, the citizens showed up in an orderly fashion and handed them in to be destroyed.

You can certainly tell me about them being British serfs, but my question to counter that is why did they buy so many guns in the first place, then?

TaraMaclay on October 20, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Can you imagine all of the “concerned citizen”, utopian leftest gun-hating “health care professionals” in NY turning in the names of everyone who admits to owning a gun as mentally unstable, for the only reason that they MUST be a danger to themselves or others simply because they decide to exercise their 2nd Amendments rights?

vnvet on October 20, 2014 at 11:15 AM

We have the right to know what the government is doing, particularly on such a sensitive issue which affects the constitutional rights of our citizens.

Jazz, in New York, the only ‘rights’ you have are the ones that the Democrats are willing to give you.

GarandFan on October 20, 2014 at 11:17 AM

New York: The Empire (Strikes Back) State

Kraken on October 20, 2014 at 11:10 AM

The Evil Empire State.

Bitter Clinger on October 20, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Don’t EVER apply for a permit for anything. I won’t, not EVER.

southsideironworks on October 20, 2014 at 11:07 AM

I totally agree. This is the main reason why I refuse to get a CCW permit. I don’t need to go beg the government for permission to speak, write, blog, go to the Church of my choice, assemble, or petition the government, and don’t need a piece of paper, to pay a fee, or take any tests to do any of that. The same is true of the Second Amendment. Every law outside Constitutional Carry (and there are a number of states that are 2nd Amendment carry) are illegal.

I will not have a firearm that is registered as well. Those, uh, sank to the bottom of the lake when I took them all boating.

ConstantineXI on October 20, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Wait until liberalism is considered a mental disorder.

Tater Salad on October 20, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Jazz, no picture on guns? Every thread should have a picture.

Put Bloomberg up, if nothing else.

Schadenfreude on October 20, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Or put the 2nd up.

Schadenfreude on October 20, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Jazz, in New York, the only ‘rights’ you have are the ones that the Democrats are willing to give you.

GarandFan on October 20, 2014 at 11:17 AM

All the animals on the farm are equal, but some are MORE equal than equal.

ConstantineXI on October 20, 2014 at 11:20 AM

I think a lot of you, as usual, overestimate the American public.

Millions of British people had privately owned firearms, and when each new set of bans were passed, the citizens showed up in an orderly fashion and handed them in to be destroyed.

You can certainly tell me about them being British serfs, but my question to counter that is why did they buy so many guns in the first place, then?

TaraMaclay on October 20, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Meh. Seven words come to mind when I think of what it means now to be American:

Lust

Gluttony

Greed

Sloth

Wrath

Envy

Pride

gryphon202 on October 20, 2014 at 11:21 AM

Wait until liberalism is considered a mental disorder.

Tater Salad on October 20, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Leftism. There is nothing liberal about the Left, they are pure fascist authoritarians. Conservatives are actually liberals, the Left has hijacked the word and made it poisonous.

And, yes, it is a mental disorder to be unable to live one’s life without lusting for control of the lives of others.

ConstantineXI on October 20, 2014 at 11:22 AM

New York State does not have the legal authority to void the 2nd Amendment any more than it has the ability to start sending people to prison without trial.

ConstantineXI on October 20, 2014 at 11:02 AM

I would bet you are technically correct. But what about the NDAA? Isn’t there a blank-check clause in there that says if one is deemed a terrorist, they lose rights of due-process? Is that Feds only?

Tsar of Earth on October 20, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Can you imagine all of the “concerned citizen”, utopian leftest gun-hating “health care professionals” in NY turning in the names of everyone who admits to owning a gun as mentally unstable, for the only reason that they MUST be a danger to themselves or others simply because they decide to exercise their 2nd Amendments rights?

vnvet on October 20, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Wait until liberalism is considered a mental disorder.

Tater Salad on October 20, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Leftism. There is nothing liberal about the Left, they are pure fascist authoritarians. Conservatives are actually liberals, the Left has hijacked the word and made it poisonous.

And, yes, it is a mental disorder to be unable to live one’s life without lusting for control of the lives of others.

ConstantineXI on October 20, 2014 at 11:22 AM

More broadly, it’s an old Soviet and Cuban trick to keep political prisoners by declaring opposition to Communism a mental illness. Since Communism is a perfect utopia, surely anyone who criticizes it must have some kind of psychological issue and need to be confined for their own safety.

More narrowly (and more threateningly in context), I remember a gag on the show “The Thin Blue Line” where a stack of firearms applications are brought to the police chief while he’s talking with someone in his office and he promptly deposits them in the trash. The person he was talking to says “Aren’t you supposed to review those first?” and the chief replies “Well you can’t have a gun if you’re mentally ill, and anyone who would want a gun is bonkers in the first place.”

The audience laughed and applauded.

TaraMaclay on October 20, 2014 at 11:32 AM

If, after reading this you are in desperate need of a grin, read the reviews of Andrew Cuomo’s book on Amazon.

My personal favorite

Solved Years of Frustration
For as long as I can remember, my office desk has had a bad wobble about its diagonal axis. I placed this book under the far right corner to prop that end of the desk up and the thickness was PERFECT to stop the wobble. Desk now sits steady and level. Minus one star because the exposed portion of the photo cover scares my cat.

kurtzz3 on October 20, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Some Constitution-loving NY healthcare professional needs to find out the names of Gov Cuomo’s body guards and report them as being too unstable to have firearms.

Use their own rules against them. I think that’s an Alinsky tactic, but you have to fight fire with fire.

Dexter_Alarius on October 20, 2014 at 11:35 AM

a licensing officer may revoke or suspend a license. If a license is revoked or suspended, the license holder must surrender the license to the county licensing officer and all firearms, rifles and shotguns must be surrendered to an appropriate law enforcement agency.

Amlicensing officer, for whatever reason can just ‘revoke’ someone’s license at their discretion? WTF!? And then after that you have to turn in your guns, for no reason other than a licensing officer decided to revoke you pe constitutional right to bear arms. I can’t see this law standing if/when it reaches the SC.

Who the [email protected] would live in NY with this law on the books.

Patriot Vet on October 20, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Don’t EVER apply for a permit for anything. I won’t, not EVER.

southsideironworks on October 20, 2014 at 11:07 AM

I totally agree. This is the main reason why I refuse to get a CCW permit. I don’t need to go beg the government for permission to speak, write, blog, go to the Church of my choice, assemble, or petition the government, and don’t need a piece of paper, to pay a fee, or take any tests to do any of that. The same is true of the Second Amendment. Every law outside Constitutional Carry (and there are a number of states that are 2nd Amendment carry) are illegal.

I will not have a firearm that is registered as well. Those, uh, sank to the bottom of the lake when I took them all boating.

ConstantineXI on October 20, 2014 at 11:19 AM

The ONLY reason to live in Vermont: (other than foliage season) No permit needed to carry a concealed, loaded handgun.

Lord Whorfin on October 20, 2014 at 11:41 AM

I can’t see this law standing if/when it reaches the SC.

Patriot Vet on October 20, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Add up the probability in your head of Hillary Clinton or Cory Booker or Fauxcahontas naming the replacements for Scalia and Kennedy.

Pretty sure a carefully enough appointed court could declare that the Constitution is unconstitutional and should be discarded.

TaraMaclay on October 20, 2014 at 11:43 AM

1 Crazy people can not be allowed to own guns
2 If you own a gun, you are crazy
3 therefore anyone who owns a gun cannot be allowed to own a gun.

See how that works?

kurtzz3 on October 20, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Cry me a river New Yorkers…I’ll care when the Conservative media and talking heads LEAVE that state for friendlier pastures…untill then… just yelling at the storm.

Von Kleist on October 20, 2014 at 11:55 AM

A newly created database of New Yorkers deemed too mentally unstable to carry firearms has grown to roughly 34,500 names, a previously undisclosed figure that has raised concerns among some mental health advocates that too many people have been categorized as dangerous.

34,500 seems low given that there are 8,405,837 mentally questionable people in NYC alone.

Happy Nomad on October 20, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Never prouder to be an ex-New Yorker.

crrr6 on October 20, 2014 at 12:02 PM

I left the People’s Republic of New York because of its taxes, overweaning politicians, rampant bureaucracy, lack of jobs, and lack of any real second party in the State.

It is looking like that it is no longer The Empire State but The Imperial State.

ajacksonian on October 20, 2014 at 12:09 PM

34,500 seems low given that there are 8,405,837 mentally questionable people in NYC alone.

Happy Nomad on October 20, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Hey now! There have to be some marginally sane people in NYC! What about Soup Guy?

GWB on October 20, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Reason number 1001 why I live in FL.

Repubtallygirl on October 20, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Comply with NY’s laws and they’ll invent a reason to confiscate. Don’t comply and you are a criminal, giving them the right to confiscate. I will not go back to live in that state.

rbj on October 20, 2014 at 12:48 PM

“The database, established in the aftermath of the mass shooting in 2012 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School…”

Never let a crisis go to waste.

I despise these fascists.

locomotivebreath1901 on October 20, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Comply with NY’s laws and they’ll invent a reason to confiscate. Don’t comply and you are a criminal, giving them the right to confiscate. I will not go back to live in that state.

rbj on October 20, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Or you could bury them.

Then again, if there ever comes a time where you have to bury your guns to hide them from government is also the time you should be digging them up to use them to PUT DOWN THAT GOVERNMENT!

The Second Amendment is the People’s check and balance against a Tyrannical Government that trounces on our enumerated and non enumerated Natural Rights. It is our RIGHT to Revolution. It has nothing to do with hunting OR personal protection (those are Natural Rights).

ConstantineXI on October 20, 2014 at 1:12 PM

It is difficult for tyranny and abuse of power to happen in an open society with a transparent government that is bound by law, and subject to public examination of its proceedings. In this form of government with accountability and personal responsibility falling on public servants, you will find that the officials are forced to respect and uphold the rights of the citizens, or else they will be thrown out of office in disgrace.

For a good example of what happens in the alternative case, see the State of New York.

s1im on October 20, 2014 at 1:13 PM

EYYYYYEE LUV NEW YORKKKK….

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — New York’s highest-ranking law-enforcement official — snorted cocaine in the back room of a bar while he was a state senator, a political activist claims.

While Schneiderman, 59, has admitted to using pot and coke as a youth, he’s denied ingesting any illegal drugs for years, including since 1998, when he became a lawmaker.

“I saw him, Schneiderman, put it up his nose, a white powder’’ in 2005, insisted Democratic activist and comic Randy Credico.
http://nypost.com/2014/10/20/activist-claims-schneiderman-snorted-coke-in-the-back-of-a-bar/

Pelosi Schmelosi on October 20, 2014 at 1:19 PM

By the way, this couldn’t happen without electronic medical records being handed over en masse to the government. This is a big part of the reason why the government wants those records digitized and why they want a copy of them.

HakerA on October 20, 2014 at 1:20 PM

So, 34,500 people have had their right to bear arms, their right to not suffer search and seizure without a warrant, their right to a trial, and their right to full due process under the law (4 amendments!) violated because, statistically, 0 of them are going to go on a mass shooting spree.

Aren’t the Dems always claiming to be the party of logic and science?

Asurea on October 20, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Where is the ACLU on this one???

I’m going to go sit in a corner and hold my breath until they take up this obvious violation of our constitutional rights.

KMC1 on October 20, 2014 at 1:43 PM

Where is the ACLU on this one???

KMC1 on October 20, 2014 at 1:43 PM

The ACLU’s official stance is that the Second Amendment gives the states the authority to establish National Guard units and nothing else.

TaraMaclay on October 20, 2014 at 1:56 PM

Where’s the list? So I can check and see if I’m on it.

MaiDee on October 20, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Hey, what about all those kids who were fed Ritalin to make them sit still in school? That’s a psychotropic medication – are they all going to be banned from ever owning any firearms?

If Cuomo and Bloomberg have there way, you can count in it.

ss396 on October 20, 2014 at 2:32 PM

Didn’t California just pass the same law that Gov. Brown signed – if so word news to get out more by you guys at Hot Air.

kpm01428 on October 20, 2014 at 2:36 PM

Felons can’t own guns. Nor can/should the mentally ill. I do not see much of a problem with this.

HIPPA always allowed covered entities to release medical records to public health authorities when requested, or to comply with the law.

I suspect that most here would not cry about felons not getting due process. You might say, why, they were convicted! That was the due process. Now maybe at the time, but 20 years later one could argue that the issue should be looked at again at the point of attempted purchase.

There does not have to be a court proceeding to be quarantined due to suspected Ebola. Would you challenge any health authority from quarantining someone from Liberia? A citizen or otherwise? Or one of the nurses?

If you are all worried about being declared mentally ill and unable to purchase or keep a permitted firearm, I would say yes. That is a good possibility based on your posts. Ha! I kid. But seriously, why the heck would you even declare a weapon anyhow.

antisense on October 20, 2014 at 3:31 PM

No Guns For You list

Heh… although the idea of a “Gun Nazi” is more than a little disturbing.

“NO GUN FOR YOU COME BACK ONE LIFETIME!”

They’ll end your life now if you’d like to try again sooner!

Marcola on October 20, 2014 at 3:58 PM

So, you got the bureaucratic brush-off too, eh? I interviewed a county mental health director and a county clerk. Here is my response to the NYCT fabrication without justification:

1. Nowhere is it made clear that these “dangerous individual” reports have been required for YEARS—long before SAFE. Just ask any practitioner (Clearly, the Times didn’t)

2. All SAFE did was to route them through Division of Criminal Justice Services (State Police computer)

3. Routing them through DCJS they have come up with LESS than 1 PERCENT match.

4. Of those reported matches, the article claims the highest was in MONROE County (Rochester area)??

5. Apparently, NYC was excluded? (although, some quoted psych in Queens has “filled a lot” of reports.

6. The tangential practitioners’ interviews are nothing short of absurd: only advocates, public bureaucrats and shrinks. Nowhere were VETS and PTSD treatment reports counted or analyzed.

7. NO ENFORCEMENT people were interviewed. County JUDGES, CLERKS, SHERiFFS

8. Judges, County Clerks and Sheriffs are the enforcement people–they were NEVER contacted (or reported…)

9. Could it be because the County Clerks and Sheriffs Associations PUBLICLY OPPOSE the SAFE act?

10. The President of the State Sheriffs Association is running for Republican Lt. Governor.

11. 500 reports /week Statewide? (Glatt thinks he’s a “rubber stamp”?)

12. In the first 6 mos of the 2013 law, there were 2000 reports filed; thereafter, according to DMH and counties, reports fell off dramatically.

13. It is very suspicious “journalism” that only selected “advocates” for the ill were interviewed.

14. No report on County-by-County breakouts: No county ENFORCEMENT breakouts (from Clerks or Sheriffs. State Police or Judges).

15. The headlines of 34,500 and overall commitment rates of 144,000 are worthless; they may as well have logged calls to the police department.

16. The spooky picture of the doctor reflected in the glass is strictly Halloween.

Bottomline: This was a feeble attempt by the NYCT to bolster the Governor’s SAFE act and it backfired/failed in every aspect. Suddenly Cuomo et al realize that the mental health practitioners hate this law too. I knew this from early 2013 research.

All one has to do is peruse the 800 Comment/Responses to see that most people didn’t buy it and in fact found it lame.

OCULUS on October 21, 2014 at 11:04 AM