A New York father has had his firearms all but confiscated after the Suffolk County Pistol License Bureau suspended his pistol license indefinitely over a perceived threat made by his 10-year-old son and two of his classmates at school.
John Mayer, of Commack, N.Y., told TheBlaze that the incident occurred on March 1. It was like any other day, the father explained. He put his son on the bus and sent him off to school.
Later that day, Mayer got a call from school officials at Pines Elementary School informing him that his 10-year-old son and two other students were talking about going to a boy's house with a water gun, "paint gun" and a BB gun. There had reportedly been a school yard pushing incident the day before involving the boys, excluding Mayer's son, and they were seemingly talking about getting even in some way.
Mayer told TheBlaze that a teacher overheard the students talking and informed the principal, who then immediately called police and filed a report. He said the principal told police something to the effect of, there's a "kid with a gun, ready to go." Mayer maintains that no serious death threats were made by the students. The Hauppauge Public School District has not returned several messages left by TheBlaze, therefore, it is not clear what they are claiming was said.
School officials then "interrogated" the boys, Mayer explained. It was later determined that the 10-year-old boys did not have access to a BB gun, paintball gun or any actual firearms.
The school's principal later informed the father that his son would be suspended for two days for the incident. But the ordeal was far from over.
Mayer said police officers were then deployed to his home where he was advised by officers that they might have to confiscate his firearms, which he says were all properly stored and secured. "I just couldn't believe what was happening," he told TheBlaze.
The following Monday, Mayer got a call from the Suffolk County Pistol Licensing Bureau. He was reportedly told that his license would be suspended and police would arrive at his house the next morning to retrieve his handguns. Acting quickly on the advice of his attorney, Mayer transferred all 15 of his handguns to his friend to prevent them from being confiscated. He also transferred his long arms to a local gun store out of fear that police would attempt to confiscate them as well.
However, that hardly fixed the problem.
Mayer's pistol license has been suspended until further notice and he says officials have informed him that the suspension could last until his son moves out of his home. His son is only 10-years-old, meaning it could be eight years or longer before his license is restored.
"All my handguns are gone," Mayer said, letting out a sigh of exasperation.
"We've grown to such an absurd point now with firearms where kids can't even be kids," he added. He also brought up the fact that there are now students getting suspended for pointing their fingers like "firearms."
A spokesperson with the Suffolk County Police Department told TheBlaze that the incident is still under investigation.
"The Suffolk County Police Department Pistol License Bureau is conducting a complete and thorough investigation into the matter. Based upon the investigation, his license has been suspended," the spokesperson told TheBlaze in an email. SCPD declined to provide any additional information.
Mayer's lawyer, New York firearms attorney James Murtha, told TheBlaze that Mayer does not have any history of mental illness or criminal behavior. He also noted that Mayer's son does not have a history of violent behavior.
"We understand that in this day and age things can get perceived wrong," Murtha said. "But we are talking about a child making silly comments. And now a man's constitutional rights have been dramatically violated."
Gun rights "mean nothing at all in New York," Murtha lamented. "Firearms are thought to be some really evil thing here."
In New York, he explained, a citizen can be a denied a pistol license if the pistol licensing department determines that person doesn't have "good moral character," an undefined term:
Eligibility requirements for the issuance of a pistol license in New York are set forth in Penal Law §400.00(1). Briefly, an applicant must (1) be twenty-one years of age; (2) of good moral character; (3) have not been convicted of a felony or serious offense; (4) state whether he has ever suffered from mental illness or been confined to an institution for mental illness; and (5) not had a pistol license revoked or who is not under a suspension or ineligibility order issued pursuant to CPL 530.14 or Fam. Ct. Act 894-a.
"A clear message has to be sent that the government can't treat citizens this way," he added. "Firearms are not frightening. Not a single one of my firearms has ever put on a pair of shoes, run down the street and killed somebody."
Mayer is now pushing for New York to adopt legislation similar to Maryland's S.B. 1058 or the "Reasonable School Discipline Act of 2013." He says it would protect the rights of students and parents.
The legislation prohibits a principal from "suspending or expelling a student who brings to school or possesses on school property a picture of a gun, a computer image of a gun, a facsimile of a gun, or any other object that resembles a gun but serves another purpose."
The bill also prohibits a principal from suspending or expelling a student for making a "hand shape or gesture resembling a gun." The law does, however, reinforce a principal's right to discipline students for performing "a direct act of violence against another student."
Mayer first brought his story to the popular firearms website LongIslandFirearms.com, where he is a respected member, according to the site's operator. The website is currently accepting donations to help cover Mayer's legal fees.
Because we have not heard the police or school officials' whole side of the story, this story may be updated. TheBlaze will continue monitoring and investigating this developing story.
This story has been updated.