Acting under a recently enacted state gun control statute, an upstate judge has revoked the handgun permit of man wracked with guilt over having accidentally exposed himself to an 8-year-old girl and experiencing an “uncontrollable” urge to expose himself again.
The action was based on a the report of a mental health professional of the potential danger posed by the license holder, as required under the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act.
Otsego County Acting Justice Brian Burns (See Profile) said the referral involved in Matter of Douglas L.B., 2014 NY Slip Op 24104, was the first made to his court under the Safe Act. The statute requires mental health professionals and others in authority to report to the Division of Criminal Justice Services a person “who is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others.”
According to Burns’ ruling, Douglas L.B. acknowledged his guilt to a treating clincian in September 2013. Health records subsequently subpoenaed by the county court revealed that Douglas L.B. had a history of depression and anxiety dating back 20 years.
Burns said that while the SAFE Act provides no guidance on how courts should respond to such reports, Penal Law §400.00 provides that no gun licenses shall be issued to applicants who lack “good moral character” or who have suffered from “any mental illness.”
Burns held a hearing on the permit revocation at which Douglas L.B., representing himself pro se, said he did not believe he was a threat to himself or others. But Burns said that both Douglas L.B.’s history of mental illness and his admission to exposing himself to a child provided “ample basis” and “good cause” for revoking his pistol license.