Retired cop sues New York State for confiscating guns after insomnia treatment

A decorated retired New York cop who served in the U.S. Navy is challenging New York's tough new SAFE Act gun control law, claiming in a lawsuit that his guns were confiscated after he was mistakenly diagnosed as mentally unstable after he sought treatment for a sleeping problem.

Donald Montgomery's lawsuit contends that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state officials violated his Second Amendment rights when his guns were seized after a brief hospital stay for insomnia. Montgomery, a cop for 30 years and a U.S. Navy veteran, brought the lawsuit in Rochester Federal Court on Dec. 17, according to the Daily Caller.

The SAFE Act became law with little public debate after Cuomo convinced lawmakers that New York needed to do something after the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

Montgomery was the owner of four guns -- a Colt .38 handgun, a Derringer .38, a Glock 26 9-mm. and a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380.

His troubles started when he visited a Long Island hospital in May complaining of insomnia. He was discharged with a diagnosis of "depression, insomnia" and then returned a short time later for a 48-hour stay. The lawsuit says that during that visit, staff erroneously listed him as an "involuntary admission," triggering the SAFE Act reporting provision. Those deemed at-risk for owning guns by mental health professionals have to be reported and their names entered into a database.

The lawsuit claims Montgomery should not have been reported because he was not a threat to himself or others. The suit says a hospital psychiatrist told him "You don't belong here" and "I don't know why you were referred here."

The Daily Caller reports that on May 30, a week after his hospital stay, Suffolk County sheriff's deputies confiscated Montgomery's guns. His pistol license was then suspended in June and revoked three months later.

Montgomery is demanding in his lawsuit that the state issue written notification to all individuals whose names have been collected in the SAFE Act database.

Last month, the Syracuse Post-Standard found nearly 39,000 names in the database and that 278 of those were gun owners who were in danger of losing their firearms. The list of 278 included 16 in Suffolk, where Montgomery lived.