A decorated retired New York cop who served in the U.S. Navy, Donald Montgomery was the owner of four guns -- a Colt .38 handgun, a Derringer .38, a Glock 26 9-mm. and a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380.
His troubles started when he visited a Long Island hospital in May complaining of insomnia. He was discharged with a diagnosis of “depression, insomnia” and then returned a short time later for a 48-hour stay. The lawsuit says that during that visit, staff erroneously listed him as an “involuntary admission,” triggering the SAFE Act reporting provision. Those deemed at-risk for owning guns by mental health professionals have to be reported and their names entered into a database.
The lawsuit claims Montgomery should not have been reported because he was not a threat to himself or others. The suit says a hospital psychiatrist told him “You don’t belong here” and “I don’t know why you were referred here.”
The Daily Caller reports that on May 30, a week after his hospital stay, Suffolk County sheriff’s deputies confiscated Montgomery’s guns. His pistol license was then suspended in June and revoked three months later.
Montgomery is demanding in his lawsuit that the state issue written notification to all individuals whose names have been collected in the SAFE Act database.
Last month, the Syracuse Post-Standard found nearly 39,000 names in the database and that 278 of those were gun owners who were in danger of losing their firearms. The list of 278 included 16 in Suffolk, where Montgomery lived.Big deal. If a mistake was made about the voluntary nature of his hospitalization, the courts should straighten it out. That's if there's nothing more to the story. The Fox News headline left out the depression part and in their typical mendacious way, mentioned only insomnia. The real question was down to whether it was a voluntary or involuntary commitment.
But what struck me is where were all the tough-talking 2nd Amendment protectors when this guy's guns were taken? I keep hearing how they will never let this happen. Were there none of them in Suffolk County?
"Big deal. If a mistake was made about the voluntary nature of his hospitalization, the courts should straighten it out."ReplyDelete
Well Mike, its now been seven month since his property was taken. A better question might be, why is he having to spend thousands of dollars to fix a clerical error? If it were any other state, I could also wonder why it wasn't taken care of at what would be a predictable administrative appeal hearing, but this is the SAFE Act we're talking about and I have no idea if its in the procedure.
Every time something like this happens, it illustrates that the "common sense" that these laws are supposed to contain is missing, either through incompetence of design.
Lets not forget that the SAFE Act was passed with pretty much no debate after the Governor declared that an emergency existed and waived the mandated three day waiting period between the law being introduced and then voted on.
The original law was so poorly written that they then had to hold a special session to fix the most glaring mistakes, and even then, they missed many, such as mandating a magazine size limit without taking into account that no magazines that conformed to the law existed for many firearms.
And, as the article states, it also seems that you don't get to find out ahead of time if your name is even on the list. So the first time you find out about it is when the police knock on your door to demand your guns, or you get denied when you want to buy one.
I'm sorry you're disappointed in gun owners overwhelmingly willing to take care of their grievances with laws such as this through legal means. The most effective way to fight these things is to expose them to sunlight. When problems such as this are plainly visible, there is hope that things will change, and it makes future attempts hard to sell.
Well, maybe it's like this. He went to the hospital voluntarily because of a dangerous depression, one symptom of which was insomnia, others being homicidal tendencies, suicidal fantasies, acute paranoia. He was hospitalized. He was, and perhaps still is, a raging danger to himself and others in spite of the fact that he was not involuntarily committed.Delete
I call a law that keeps people like this disarmed common sense indeed. If he's a true innocent victim of the system it'll be straightened out in court.
Maybe you need to read your own article a little better.Delete
"The suit says a hospital psychiatrist told him “You don’t belong here” and “I don’t know why you were referred here.""
It looks like to me that he is or ever was any danger to himself or anyone else according to the article. If the doc felt he was, a statement like that would not have been made and a involuntary commitment would have occurred.
Its the gun grabbers that are too quick to grab, will not admit to a mistake and too slow, if ever make things right. Common sense, my rosy red.
Well, that's a witness his defense lawyers came up with. Maybe there were other professional caretakers who had different opinions. That's what the court case will sort out.Delete
It's not that we're too quick to grab guns, it's that you're too quick to allow criminals and dangerous mental patients to have them.
This seems to be what was sent in when someone incorrectly clicked on the involuntary box on the form. Its stuff like this happening and the lengths that must be taken to correct them that have resulted in people no longer being willing to put any trust in the ability of government officials to exercise their discretion with anything resembling common sense.Delete
Again, why is this guy having to go to the expense and time to sue the government to get this fixed? There seems to be no mention of any formalized process to appeal the decision. No one was willing to step up in the government, look at the report, call the provider up, discover the clerical error, then cancel the order and return his property with hopefully an apology?
If that had been done, the SAFE Act would not be getting held out for, how many times it? The most poorly crafted law to date?
"Donald Montgomery visited his primary care physician on May 6, 2014, to seek treatment for insomnia, which he begun experiencing after moving from another state in order to be closer to his adult children and grandchildren. Days later, according to The Blaze, Montgomery returned to his doctor with the same symptoms and was diagnosed with depression and insomnia. On May 23, 2014, he voluntarily checked into the hospital for 48-hour treatment.
A hospital report described Montgomery as “mildly depressed,” though it was determined that “no evidence of any psychotic processes, mania, or OCD symptoms” was found.
“Patient has no thoughts of hurting himself. Patient has no thoughts of hurting others. Patient is not having suicidal thoughts,” the report said. “Patient is not having homicidal thoughts.” Despite the report, Montgomery’s file was forwarded to the Mental Hygiene Legal Service."
If that's the case, that someone ticked the wrong box, then what the hell are you carrying on about. That kind of mistake can happen anywhere and although it's a terrible shame that it might take so long to sort it out, it does not reflect on the system at all. The system of disarming dangerous people is important and good.Delete
"If that's the case, that someone ticked the wrong box, then what the hell are you carrying on about."Delete
How about there having a person's right to possess firearms with none of the protections provided by due process. Why is this man having to go to court to fix a clerical error?
Lets keep in mind that events like this don't do a lot to sell the public on the "common sense" claim.
"Why is this man having to go to court to fix a clerical error?"Delete
Well, that's exactly what led me to think there's more to it. Maybe he was dangerously mentally ill and his case needs serious scrutiny. Either way, the process of disarming dangerous people is a good one.
Mike, why doesn't this process have even the most simple of appeals processes built into it? There are two choices, either they rushed it through without the normal debate period and just forgot it, or they left it out deliberately.Delete
The law also has some issues in the areas of transparency and accountability. And it appears that even the federal government has problems with the law.
"On March 11, 2013, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it would not follow the provision of the NY SAFE Act requiring mental health professionals to report patients who seem more likely to hurt themselves or others. A Department spokesman stated that federal laws protecting the privacy of veterans take precedence over state laws. Advocates for military veterans had expressed concern that the reporting requirement would deter some people from seeking needed treatment."
The big deal is that these types of policies discourage some people from seeking treatment.ReplyDelete
Yeah, that's a problem. So, your solution is to let the ALL have guns?Delete
Well, if they don't seek treatment because they fear liberties will be stripped (not just guns, but being tracked by the government as "dangerous"), then they remain unstable and they keep their guns. How's that going to work out for you?Delete
MikeB: " So, your solution is to let the ALL have guns?"Delete
No. Those who do actual harm would be imprisoned or treated in a secured facility. You did a lot of speculation about this guy being dangerous (including throwing in a unrelated to depression accusation of "acute paranoia")- but it was just that- speculation.
Disarming people who are incapable of responsibly owning guns is what we should be actively doing. When mistakes are made, they can be corrected in the courts, like in this case. People who don't seek treatment FOR ANY REASON will be dealt with just like they are now. You keep pretending that everyone who needs help is quickly seeking it but if we start disarming them they'll suddenly stop. That's bullshit. Most people who need help are already reluctant to get it, that's part of the disease in many cases. Disarming them wouldn't change it all that much.Delete
MikeB: "People who don't seek treatment FOR ANY REASON will be dealt with just like they are now."Delete
And you'll have more of them if you start treating people like crap just because they wanted to get a little help.
Why does this have to go to the courts? Why can't the state just correct the error?
It shouldn't have to go to the courts, so? This is an anomaly. The system of disarming dangerous people is a good one.Delete
"The system of disarming dangerous people is a good one."Delete
Except when it disarms people who aren't dangerous.
It's not a good system if it's not as easy to fix the mistake as it is to make it in the first place? Mike, you need to advocate for good procedures to protect the innocent if you want to push for these types of laws. It should be in your best interest too.Delete
No, you guys need to stop using anomalous situations like this to condemn a basically good system. For every person who is temporarily disarmed wrongly, many more dangerous mentally ill people will be disarmed permanently. That's a good deal.Delete
No, you guys need to stop using anomalous situations like this to condemn a basically good systemDelete
Wrong. Absolutely, utterly, disgustingly, egregiously, unforgivably, appallingly wrong. Tell him, Sir William.
The issue is disarming dangerous people who are mentally incapable of safely managing firearms. They kill themselves and others. Then occasionally, someone is temporarily disarmed wrongly. That's a little different than "It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer", We're talking about preventing firearm violence vs. inconveniencing some poor persecuted gun owner.Delete
That's a little different than "It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer",Delete
It's precisely the same.
Right, like 101 is hundreds.Delete
Right, like 101 is hundreds.Delete
"101 is 'hundreds'" is technically true. "'Voluntary' means 'constrained by law,'" isn't even close.
"The Fox News headline left out the depression part and in their typical mendacious way"ReplyDelete
Mike you calling others Headlines mendacious Gave me the first good laugh I have had this year thanks
"Big deal. If a mistake was made about the voluntary nature of his hospitalization, the courts should straighten it out."
Different rules for different people right Mike . Big deal his right were violated this is about guns and guns are scary
Well, we don't know if his rights were violated or if he really needs to be disarmed. That's what the courts will determine.Delete
About the headline, you're right, that is pretty funny.
Disarm them all and let a judge sort it out, eh?Delete
No, not them all. Only the ones who seem to be a danger.Delete
. " Only the ones who seem to be a danger."Delete
Who SEEM to be a danger,,,,,,, Got it.
Where are the medical professionals who diagnosed him? Are they recanting their diagnosis?ReplyDelete
His lawyer came up with one guy who's sympathetic. He must have had dealings with several others.Delete
That could be said about many test cases in all kinds of legal areas. Is this supposed to be a basis for denying the petitions and not correcting problems in laws? Or were you just posting non sequiturs?Delete
Your solution is to do away with the law. That would do more harm than the abuses you're trying to correct.Delete
We do away with the bad laws in other areas, either getting rid of the offending section or sections, or getting rid of the whole law if need be. Legislators with IQ's above room temperature can then try to draft new laws that accomplish their goals while avoid these pitfalls.Delete
This works with every other type of law; why should your favored laws be treated differently?
If someone made a mistake, that doesn't mean the law is bad. Correcting a mistake by any large bureaucracy (government, corporation, etc.) is always a pain in the ass fight.Delete
"Correcting a mistake by any large bureaucracy (government, corporation, etc.) is always a pain in the ass fight."Delete
As I said in my original comment, this particular law was passed without the mandatory debate process and then requires calling everyone back to fix the most glaring issues. And there still doesn't seem to be any kind of appeal process in place to fix simple mistakes like this one seems to be.
For example, pretty much all carry permit processes have an appeal process built into it to address improper denials, suspensions, etc. Why isn't there one here?
And a law that leaves no way to correct mistakes like that is a badly written law, Fred.Delete
It's not a badly written law. As was pointed out above, this was a simple clerical mistake.Delete
But without a simple fix, that makes it a bad law.Delete
There isn't NO way to fix it, just takes a while.Delete
"There isn't NO way to fix it, just takes a while."Delete
Considering that its been five months plus already and will likely go much longer, and cast several thousands of dollars, its morally unacceptable.
I think its great when governments pass stupid laws like this because it exposes their claims of "common sense" as the falicy it is.
Agreed, but it's not something only gun owners are facing. People who have "mistakes" with the IRS, immigration, passports, or any other government agency have had recorded years long fights getting things straight. It's not just the way laws are written, it's the bureaucratic nightmare dealing with any government agency. There is no common sense in most of the laws written, or the bureaucratic process.Delete
"People who have "mistakes" with the IRS, immigration, passports, or any other government agency have had recorded years long fights getting things straight."Delete
I think you'll find that in most of those agencies there are built in processes to appeal decisions that take care of most of the issues that come up. This doesn't even seem to have that.
Plus, considering this,
"Montgomery is demanding in his lawsuit that the state issue written notification to all individuals whose names have been collected in the SAFE Act database."
It sounds to me like they don't even tell you when your name is added to the list, which would enable a person to fix the issue before a purchase. At least they could if there was an appeal process in place.
Seeing where this is going? This kind of thing shouldn't require filing a lawsuit to fix what seems to be a clerical error. If this guy is successful, it would be fair if the state were required to pay costs and fees for the suit. But I imagine that wont happen.
"its morally unacceptable."Delete
No more so than those examples Fred gave. And there is a process for correcting errors. He's going through it. What more would you want? What could be written into a law that gives a person more protection than the normal appeals process or the right to sue the powers that be?
What could be written into a law that gives a person more protection than the normal appeals process or the right to sue the powers that be?Delete
Mandatory life imprisonment for anyone who bears any responsibility for an illegitimate disarmament would be a start.
"No more so than those examples Fred gave."Delete
You seem to be suggesting that passing a law in which the only way to remedy errors in record keeping is to sue the government is a good thing.
The examples that Fred gave have many administrative avenues to take care of issues such what has happened in this case. In this case, there not only doesn't seem to be any such procedure, there doesn't even seem to be a policy in which the person is informed that their name has been added to this list so they can potentially address any errors.
Why do people who have been declared disabled (physically unable to work) by doctors have to get a lawyer and go to court to get their SSDI? That's the way the system works. Is it fucked up? You bet.Delete