Does NY's SAFE Act Impact The Sick? Sure Looks Like It

AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File

New York’s SAFE Act is problematic on so many levels it’s not even funny. It’s probably the most anti-gun piece of legislation we’ve seen in a long, long time. The sweeping gun control act created a lot of different regulations, and none of them are good.

What’s worse is that while we know the cost of gun control is born by the law-abiding and not criminals who create the problems in the first place, it’s especially problematic when the law seems to hurt those who are also vulnerable to those criminals.

Like a sick, elderly woman.

“We just want to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and others who should not have them.”

That’s the mantra every time Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other politicians snooker the public with “reasonable” gun control measures like the SAFE Act or the plethora of bills Democrats have unleashed since taking full control of Albany.

But the next time you hear that political poppycock, remember Lois Reid.

Reid is not a criminal, a terrorist or a madwoman.

She’s just a 71-year-old law-abiding citizen who was stripped of  her guns for five years because of the SAFE Act, before finally reclaiming her Second Amendment rights last month.

How did that happen?

Well, it seems that during an admission to the hospital, she refused to answer a question.

Yes, seriously.

Her ordeal began shortly before Christmas 2013 when Reid went to Buffalo General Hospital and was transferred to Erie County Medical Center. She suffers from a form of mitochondrial myopathy, a neuromuscular disease she said left her disabled since 1990 and bedridden most of the time until it was finally properly diagnosed in 2011. An expensive compound medication she calls “a miracle” got her back on her feet until her insurance company stopped paying for it two years later.

That’s when she went to the hospital and the SAFE Act kicked in, with an interrogation about whether she owned a gun – which she refused to answer – and what ended up as an erroneous designation as an “involuntary” admission, which can imply mental health issues that trigger a report to the Integrated SAFE Act Reporting System.

That started a chain reaction that led to her pistol permit being suspended the following month. Because her guns were co-registered with her husband and son, she didn’t have to turn them in, as is normally done. But they had to be locked in her husband’s gun safe and the court barred her from “any physical contact with any of these weapons.”

And all because of an erroneous report she suspects was triggered by a hospital staffer angry over her refusal to answer the gun questions.

A judge was more understanding of the hospital, believing that the woman was simply misdiagnosed. It seems that sometimes her symptoms are similar enough to some psychiatric disorders to cause some misconceptions.

I’m not buying it, though. As we’ve seen recently, far too many in the healthcare field believe they’re experts in firearms and gun control and aren’t above using their position to advance an agenda.

The truth of the matter is that it shouldn’t have mattered. Federal law calls for someone to be stripped of their gun rights if they’ve been “adjudicated as mentally defective,” a now archaic way to describe a debilitating mental illness where they’re likely to be a threat or, at the very least, not responsible for their actions.

None of this applied to the woman in question.

New York’s SAFE Act disarmed this law-abiding citizen who, thankfully, was able to get her rights back. However, it makes me wonder how many others have been stripped of their rights for similar reasons and don’t have the means to resist. How many people are sitting there, vulnerable, due to either misunderstanding or shenanigans on the part of hospital staff?

We won’t know, but that’s enough reason to repeal the stupid law all on its own.

Sep 21, 2021 10:30 AM ET