- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 3, 2015

A U.S. Navy veteran and retired police detective is suing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state officials for confiscating his gun permit and four handguns after he voluntarily sought medical treatment for insomnia.

In a lawsuit filed Dec. 17 in a U.S. District Court in Rochester, N.Y., Donald Montgomery claimed his constitutional rights were violated by the state’s SAFE Act — a law Mr. Cuomo signed in Jan. 2013 that is considered one of the toughest gun laws in the country, the Daily Caller reported Friday.

Mr. Montgomery sought treatment for insomnia on May 6, shortly after he and his wife moved to N.Y. from another state to be closer to family. The stressful move involved the purchase of a new home and selling an old one, hundreds of miles away, according to Mr. Montgomery’s complaint.

Several days after his first doctor’s visit, Mr. Montgomery went to the emergency room at Eastern Long Island Hospital, still suffering from insomnia. He was diagnosed with depression and insomnia, prescribed medication and told to follow up with a doctor if symptoms did not improve, The Daily Caller reported.

On May 23, Mr. Montgomery was back in the doctor’s office with the same complaint and was monitored at the facility for 48 hours.

Now Mr. Montgomery is alleging in the suit that hospital staff mistakenly listed him as an involuntarily admitted patient, which triggered a portion of the SAFE Act that requires health professionals to report individuals who are deemed threats to themselves or to others according to mental health directors, the Daily Caller reported.

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That notification is then reported to the department of criminal justice services.

But Mr. Montgomery’s suit claims that there is no documentation that he was diagnosed with mental health issues.

He was labeled as “mildly depressed,” but “insight, judgment, and impulse control are good,” the assessment reads, The Daily Caller reported.

Four days after leaving the hospital, New York State police informed the Suffolk County clerk’s office that Mr. Montgomery had been determined to be a mental defective and was prohibited from owning any firearms.

Mr. Montgomery received a call the next day notifying him that his guns would be confiscated and on May 30, officials from the county sheriff’s department came to his house and took his gun license and four handguns, two of which he had earned during his 30-years of police service.

In June Mr. Montgomery was told by the sheriff’s department that his pistol license had been suspended and by September he was notified that the permit had been terminated.

Mr. Montgomery is now alleging that the state violated his Second, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment protections and the the hospital violated his privacy by sharing his medical information with police.

He demands the judge strike down the Mental Hygiene Law under the SAFE Act and the state issue a new law to require written notice for all individuals whose health information has been shared with police under the state law, The Daily Caller reported.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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