Thursday, April 11, 2013

New York State Confiscates Guns Because Owner Once was on Anxiety Medication

This is just an amazingly scary story.  A 34 year old college librarian had his gun permit revoked and his guns confiscated by New York State police because he had once been on anti-anxiety medication.  This is all due to the passage of the SAFE Act in that state which allows for an almost Orwellian intrusion into your personal information in order to decide whether you are worthy of your constitutional right to bear arms or not.  This is so wrong on so many levels, but here are a few:

1.  His permit was revoked and his guns were confiscated without any due process.  The State Police simply sent him a letter and that was it.  No hearing, no nothing.  They made a bureaucratic decision and that was it.  Guns aren't cheap, so we are talking about likely thousands of dollars worth or property simply seized.  Also, gun permits also cost money, and I'm sure the state did not refund him his permit fee either.

2.  All of this was due to the government having access to personal medical records.  Why does the state have access to these anyway?  What ever happened to Doctor-Patient confidentiality?  Or just the inherent Right to Privacy?  It seems that if the Right to Privacy can be used as a reason why the state cannot ban all abortion, then it certainly can be used to keep the government out of personal medical records, especially without any sort of probable cause.

3.  Even if there was due process in this case, I'm not sure I like it any better.  So some law is made retroactive so that things you already did are made illegal.  Does it really help if you are allowed to have a hearing?  What if they make a law saying all houses need to be at least 15 feet apart and yours is 10 feet from your neighbor. Will a hearing really help?  You're still screwed.

4.  Fighting these kinds of bureaucratic decisions is very expensive.  May be the 1% has thousands and thousands of dollars to spend on lawyers to defend their rights, but what about the rest of us?  Normal people are just going to be steamrolled here, due process or not.  So they have a hearing, what if they can't afford competent legal help?

In this particular case, the State Police said they "had the wrong man" in the end.  Was it the wrong man who took anti-anxiety medication?  Who is going to compensate him for all of this harassment and the error?  Nothing ever seems to happen to these bureaucrats when they make an amazingly stupid and costly error.  Nobody loses their jobs.  Nobody even gets a pay cut.  And the victim doesn't get reimbursed.

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