Amherst Man Gets Guns Back

April 15, 2013 Updated Apr 16, 2013 at 6:33 AM EDT

By WKBW Internet

April 15, 2013 Updated Apr 16, 2013 at 6:33 AM EDT

AMHERST, NY (WKBW) - On the same day an Amherst man got his guns back after being wrongfully targeted under the NY SAFE Act, two new provisions of the controversial gun law go into effect.

After a quick inspection of each pistol and his signature, David Lewis walked out of the Amherst Police headquarters with the seven pistols he was forced to turn-in earlier this month after mistakenly being identified as having "mental health" issues under the New York SAFE Act.

"I was really given no indication what was going on, what I could have done wrong, what people thought of me," said Lewis, while holding the box with his firearms and clips inside.

State Police and the Erie County Clerks office are pointing the finger at each other over who is responsible.

State Police say they provided the county with the name as a possible match under the new law, and that they should have followed up with an investigation.

"We have a name that comes up on a David Lewis with a 10 year date range on a date of birth, and we look in our files and we come up with two different permits in two different counties that could match this criteria," explained State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico.

That other man named David Lewis in another county was also found to not have mental health issues after he was forced to turn in his firearms.

Lewis' attorney, James Tresmond, says that his clients rights and privacy were violated and that he will be filing a federal lawsuit.

"It's a privacy case, it's a civil rights matter and we will be joined by the NY Civil Liberties Union in our pursuit of this matter," said Tresmond.

Tresmond also claims that his law firm has been contacted by several area mental health professionals who have had their patients' medical records subpoenaed by the state in an effort to identify other gun owners who could possibly have their firearms removed.

It's a charge that state police deny, but the claim will be part of the lawsuit Tresmond files in the next few weeks.

Still, for many, the damage has been done, and Tresmond fears that many people who need to seek mental help will not because of fears of losing their firearms.

"Mental health professionals since day one have been calling us about that," added Tresmond.