Jazz wrote on Saturday about the case of David Lewis, who was ordered to relinquish his firearms because he supposedly once took an anti-depressant, which actually wasn’t the case at all. State police insist that the entire episode was a clerical error, but Lewis’ attorney says this wasn’t just a case of mistaken identity. James Tresmond told NBC affiliate WGRZ that the state of New York is now scouring medical records to find guns to confiscate. When asked for proof, Tresmond says it’s forthcoming, but he’s been hearing this from doctors and law-enforcement officials over the last several days in which he has represented Lewis:
But why did state police ever think Lewis was a threat to begin with? Authorities ordered him to hand over his guns based on a provision of the New York SAFE act, which is Governor Cuomo’s signature gun control law. It requires mental health professionals to report a patient whom they believe is likely to seriously harm himself or others.
State police said they simply notified the wrong David Lewis. But Lewis’s attorney says that’s not true, and that the state is somehow scouring the medical records of people.
REPORTER: How do you know this? In other words, what proof do you have that the state police are actually doing this?
TRESMOND: The proof, well, actual proof will be forthcoming. Right now we just have statements from various state assembly people, various state troopers who have contacted us, and doctors that have contacted us.
State police have publicly denied these accusations. But several state lawmakers are demanding answers about how state authorities are using their new power under the SAFE Act.
WGRZ has video on that question from Friday. It certainly sounds as though legislators think it’s possible that the police are scouring medical records, too:
All of this apparently stems from Governor Cuomo’s signature gun control bill, the SAFE Act, which requires mental health professionals to notify the state when they believe a patient is at risk of hurting themselves or others. State Police and the Erie County Clerk had misidentified Lewis as such a threat, confusing him with someone else with the same name. Both sides have blamed each other for the snafu.
It’s not sitting well with some State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer (R-Amherst) and State Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak (D-Cheektowaga). They are calling for an investigation of state police, specifically how the police are using medical records to seize guns.
REPORTER: What exactly are the state police allowed to do?
RANZENHOFER: That’s a very good question, and one of the things I’ve done is I’ve reached out to (State Police) Superintendent (Joseph) D’Amico to ask him that very question because, as I said, we’re getting a lot of calls from concerned constituents. I’m concerned when I hear about the state police – the state government — looking into people’s medical records, their mental health records.
Gabryszak said he is also in the dark
REPORTER: Do we know exactly what the state police are doing?
GABRYSZAK: That’s a good question, Aaron. Quite honestly, I can’t tell you right now that I know.
Legislate in haste, repent at leisure.