ALBANY, NY-- The New York State Police is responding to a SAFE Act mistake that lead to an Amherst man losing his pistol permit. They say the mistake is the fault of the Erie County Clerk's office.
The attorney for a Western New York gun owner, says his client, David Lewis, was told to surrender his pistol permit because of the SAFE Act.
Lewis, 35, is a 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 Erie County Clerk's office. That letter told Lewis the New York State Police wanted the County Clerk to suspend his pistol license right away.
Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs said on Wednesday the blame lies with New York State Police for making the mistake that could have cost the gun owner his gun collection.
"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.
State Police in Albany issued this statement on Thursday:
The SAFE Act requires mental health professionals to file notification when a medical professional determines that an individual he or she is treating is at risk to themselves or others. Medical prescription records are strictly private and not shared with the state, and no firearm license would ever be revoked for an anti-anxiety prescription.
The notification forwarded to the Erie County Clerk's Office required additional follow-up before a positive identification of a person at risk to themselves or others became final. The State Police was very clear in its letter to the Clerk's Office regarding the need for due diligence and the need for a positive identification by the County before they removed any weapon.
The final determination on whether to revoke or suspend a pistol permit license rests solely with the County and the licensing officials. The State Police has no authority to suspend or revoke a pistol permit in these circumstances.