AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) - An Amherst man had his guns taken away because, under the NYS SAFE Act, he was deemed too dangerous. But it was all a mistake.
On Monday, David Lewis was finally able to pick up the guns he was ordered by a state judge to turn over to Amherst Police. The 34-year-old college librarian's pistol permit was mistakenly suspended on mental health grounds under the SAFE Act, but it turns out authorities had the wrong David Lewis.
"I was really given no indication of what was going on, what I could have done wrong, what people thought of me," Lewis said. "I was really scared about it."
His attorney, James Tresmond, said, "He's been put at risk at his job, put at risk with his relationships, and it really has been a very, very difficult time for David."
State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico insists the information given to State Police was insufficient to differentiate the Amherst David Lewis from the correct David Lewis, who has severe mental health issues. Yet the state forwarded that information onto Erie County officials who D'Amico says should have figured that out.
"Our job on the other end as part of the SAFE Act is to match up the registered pistol permits," D'Amico said. "And then the county's job is to look at it, determine if it is in fact their licensee, whether they want to take some sort of action."
"I don't recommend removals. I can't do suspensions or revocations. That's the county's functions. They issue the permits; they remove the permits."
So in the end, State Police say Erie County messed up with their David Lewis, Orange County messed up with their David Lewis, and State Police did nothing wrong.
Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs has already stated this is, in fact, an error on the part of State Police, saying, "They did not do their due diligence; they did not appropriately and fully investigate this to make sure it was the right person."
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