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Amherst Man Gets Confiscated Guns Back

5:38 PM, Apr 16, 2013   |    comments
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Attorney James Tresmond represents David Lewis.

AMHERST, N.Y. - A local man mistakenly ordered to turn in his guns last week has finally gotten them back.

This afternoon, David Lewis walked Amherst Police Department to pick up the seven pistols he was wrongly ordered to hand over last week, which turned into an embarrassing and confusing ordeal for him.

"He's just elated to get them back and that people are taking note that he is a fine, upstanding citizen and not a threat to anybody," said attorney James Tresmond, who represents 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.

Assemblyman Ray Walter will meet with the Superintendent of State Police Tuesday.

WALTER: I think we need to hear right from the source, right from the top, what went wrong and what they're going to do about fixing it, and what they're procedures are going forward.

REPORTER: Is there some question as to what, exactly, they are doing?

WALTER: I think there's a huge question, and this is a terrible case of mistaken identity or something worse. And we want to make sure that it's not something worse.

Mr. Lewis's case will not end with him picking up his guns Monday. His lawyer said he plans to file a federal lawsuit within the next two weeks, accusing the state of violating Mr. Lewis's Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

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