When elected officials, at both the federal and state levels, propose new gun control laws we are given the same speech every time. Stop crying wolf. It’s not as if armed officers are about to go door to door confiscating everyone’s guns.
When you listen to that speech repeated often enough you might even become tempted to start believing it.
Well… don’t. Yet another story has emerged from New York State detailing the travails of a citizen who had his firearms taken away by armed officers with a warrant. The NRA-ILA brings us the tale of Don Hall, a 70 year old Vietnam veteran who received an unpleasant visit from Sheriff’s deputies at his Talberg, N.Y. home. They informed him that the state had provided them with a writ to seize his firearms. Compliance was not voluntary and his weapons were taken.
Thankfully, Don Hall of Talberg, N.Y., was not subject zero in a long-feared government round-up of civilian firearms. But his story – detailed in a lengthy article on the Syracuse.com website – is still a chilling and cautionary tale that underscores the dangers of firearm registration, antigun fanaticism, and laws that dispense with constitutional due process on the pretense of protecting “public safety.”
Fortunately, Mr. Hall kept his head that night last February and did not overreact to a confusing and provocative situation. Instead, he contacted a lawyer the next day and began the arduous process of clearing his name and securing the return of his lawfully-owned and constitutionally protected property.
Don Hall was labeled a “mental defective” leading to the seizure of his property. But the documents the Sheriffs presented had obvious flaws, including multiple Social Security numbers. It was a long and arduous journey to discover the hospital where a clerical error was made entering Don’s information instead of a patient who was being treated for mental health issues. So this turned out to be a bureaucratic blunder, but it’s hardly an isolated case.
The NRA-ILA article declares that, “thankfully, [Hall] was not subject zero in a long-feared government round-up of civilian firearms.” With all due respect to the NRA-ILA (and they are due a lot of respect), they may be correct in saying so but not the way they meant. Don Hall was not “subject zero.” Subject Zero was actually David Lewis of the Buffalo area in 2013. He was accused of the “crime” of once having been prescribed anti-anxiety medication. In that case it also turned out that they had the wrong David Lewis, but even the correct David Lewis had done nothing to merit being deprived of his Second Amendment rights without a chance to defend himself in court.
Keep in mind that this is New York we’re talking about. The “long-feared government round-up of civilian firearms” began here after the passage of the SAFE Act and it hasn’t slowed down. By October of 2014, the New York Times finally got the state government to admit that they had suspended the Second Amendment rights of more than 34,500 citizens. How many of those people have actually had their guns confiscated? Nobody knows for sure because no matter who you submit a Freedom of Information Law request to in Albany you get a response saying that they “have no records matching your request.” (Believe me.. I’m one of the people who tried repeatedly.) But New York is still confiscating guns and they’ve been doing it for at least four years now.
I’m glad that Don Hall was finally able to get this straightened out and have his firearms returned. But that doesn’t solve the underlying problem which is still going on to this day.