A 70-year-old New York veteran spent months fighting to get his guns back after being wrongfully targeted for confiscation after a bureaucratic screw-up labeled him mentally ill.
Don Hall, who served in Vietnam, said police showed up at his house late one night with an order to take his guns. Hall said he was surprised by the order and didn't have any idea why it declared him "mentally defective." When he told police he hadn't ever had any mental issues, they told him he must've done something to trigger the state's restrictive New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act.
"They said that they never did this to anybody that they didn't know why they were doing it," Hall told Syracuse.com. "I said ‘well, I don't know why.'"
The police then took six guns from Hall—four long guns and two handguns.
Hall and his lawyer believe the confiscation was the result of a report filed under the SAFE Act, as police told Hall the night of the confiscation. However, the New York Office of Mental Health told Syracuse.com the confiscation was initiated under federal law, which requires hospitals to report when somebody has been involuntarily committed. Either way, Hall said nobody would tell him what he was supposed to have done wrong or listen to his claims of innocence.
"I was guilty until I could prove myself innocent," Hall told the publication. "They don't tell you why or what you supposedly did. It was just a bad screw-up."