Figures published last month indicate that the registry includes 34,500 people. Mental health doctors say that this figure far exceeds the number of people who actually have dangerous mental illnesses in the state.
“That seems extraordinarily high to me,” said Sam Tsemberis, the former director of New York City’s involuntary hospitalization program for homeless and dangerous people. “Assumed dangerousness is a far cry from actual dangerousness.”
The state of New York requires doctors, psychologists and social workers to notify county officials about patients who they believe should be prohibited from owning firearms. The decision for who qualifies for gun confiscation appears to be completely up to the doctor.
There have already been at least two cases where guns were confiscated from law-abiding citizens.
In 2013, a college librarian in Amherst, NY was forced to surrender his weapons despite no criminal record or indications of mental instability. Why? Because he had briefly been prescribed anti-anxiety medication.
Another individual, who remains anonymous, also had his pistol permit revoked after the state found out that he was seeing a therapist for anxiety. He had no criminal record or history of violence.
Now it appears that thousands of other peaceful citizens could face similar consequences.