SAFE Act mistake leads to pistol permit seizure, reversal

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A mistake centered on a portion of New York’s new gun laws led to a fair amount of finger-pointing in western New York on Wednesday.

From Gannett’s WGRZ-TV in Buffalo:

It could be the first foul up involving the state’s new gun legislation. Who’s to blame? That’s still being hashed out.

The attorney for a Western New York gun owner who was told to surrender his pistol permit because of the SAFE Act says his client will get his guns back. The Erie County Clerk is now blaming New York State Police for making the mistake that could have cost the 35-year-old librarian his gun collection.

“Who messed this up?” asked Channel 2’s Kelly Dudzik.

“I think that first and foremost, it stems from a flawed law that was passed so quickly without forethought on how something would be implemented. Certainly, I am disappointed on the fact that we were given information from State Police that this was an individual that we needed to act immediately on,” says Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs.

That individual is David Lewis. He is a 35-year-old college librarian. His attorney says he has an anxiety-related medical issue which prompted a doctor to prescribe him medication. Lewis owned seven guns until he received a letter from Jacobs’ office. That letter told Lewis the New York State Police wanted the County Clerk to suspend his pistol license right away.

“They made the mistake. They handed the mistake to us, to our local judges, and it’s really disappointing that they’re not standing up and taking responsibility here,” says Jacobs.

Jacobs feels the State Police are targeting his office, which he says only serves an administrative role when it comes to enforcement of the SAFE Act.

New York State Police issued a statement Wednesday saying “No guns are being taken because an individual is on anti-anxiety medication” and refused to answer our questions or do an interview.

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3 Comments

  1. Thus was a screw-up by the State Police from the get-go. The State Police letter, signed by a Sgt Jackson, told the county what to do. Mr. Lewis has been through hell and all the State Police have to say is no comment. By the time this is over I hope Andy will have bought Mr. Lewis a nice summer home in the Adirondacks. Bad law and what gun owners said would happen is happening. Andy keeps on grandstanding about how great he is and how he is showing the rest of the country the way. When this law is repealed Andy can take refuge under a rock in his no grass park. God I feel better now!

  2. With HIPPA laws (under the 4th amendment) in place, how did the State Police find out what medication this guy has ever taken???? No comment on that I’m sure also. What is safe under the “SAFE” act?

  3. DID NOT TAKE THE STATE POLICE LONG TO SCREW UP IN POLICING THE SAFE ACT , 1 QUESTION WILL WALMARTS, DICKS , GANDER MOUNTAIN , BASS PRO STORES THAT SELL GUNS BE DOING PRIVATE SALES MANY GUN DEALERS ARE NOT OPEN ON SUNDAY. NICE GOING CUOMO .