New York State is set to confiscate firearms from nearly 300 individuals who the state has judged to be “mentally unfit”, reports say.
New York’s SAFE Act gun control law allows the state to confiscate firearms from people who health professionals believe are too dangerous to own weapons. The law does not require health workers to inform the individual before reporting them to the state.
Health professionals have already reported 38,718 “at risk” individuals since the law was enacted in 2013. Of these individuals, 278 currently have pistol permits, the Syracuse Post Standard recently found.
Several of these gun owners have already been forced to surrender their weapons. Although the state won’t say how many confiscations have taken place, the Post-Standard found evidence of at least four.
Other confiscations have reported elsewhere, including one where a college librarian was forced to surrender his weapons simply because he had briefly been prescribed anti-anxiety medication.
Most people agree that dangerously insane individuals should not have access to firearms, but experts have also said that the New York’s “no-gun” database far exceeds the actual number of mentally ill people in the state.
Sam Tsemberis, the former director of New York City’s involuntary hospitalization program for homeless and dangerous people, said in November: “[38,000 at risk individuals] seems extraordinarily high to me. Assumed dangerousness is a far cry from actual dangerousness”.