A New Jersey man is waiting to find out whether he'll ever get his guns back, after the government seized his firearms and ammunition under the state's new red flag law at the behest of his former doctor who sued him for defamation.
What are the details?
On Sept. 25, police confiscated guns from the home of Alfred Conti, 56, after a surgeon who operated on him, Dr. Matthew Kaufman, and Kaufman's attorney, James Maggs, called authorities to complain that Conti called the lawyer acting agitated.
Conti had been in pain following the neck surgery Kaufman conducted on him, and had an ongoing dispute with the physician. After Conti wrote negative online reviews against Kaufman's practice, The Plastic Surgery Center in Shrewsbury, Kaufman and Maggs sued Conti for defamation over the summer.
Even after being sued, Conti called Maggs twice, begging for Kaufman to treat him for his pain. In the second phone call, Asbury Park Press reported, "Conti used expletives and threatened to bring the police and media with him to force Kaufman to see him. He also said he knew where Maggs and Kaufman lived."
The attorney had recorded the conversation, and played it in court during a hearing on Thursday.
Conti's lawyer, Jason Seidman, asked Maggs if Conti directly threatened to inflict violence. Maggs conceded that he did not, but said that after Conti mentioned knowing where Maggs and Kaufman lived, "that, to me, was something that made me very alarmed."
Officer Dan Campanella with the Rumson Police Department also spoke at the hearing, telling the court that when police served the order to take Conti's guns, "He was very cooperative in assisting us and his conversation with us. As far as (discussing) what had occurred, he maintained that he never threatened anybody and has rightful grievances with both parties."
Cam Edwards of Bearing Arms wrote an assessment of the Conti case, saying, "Here's a man in a dispute with his doctor over what he believes was a botched surgery, who has made no threats against anyone, but who still may lose his right to keep and bear arms along with his good health."
"It doesn't appear that Conti's had any trouble with the law, and even now hasn't been charged with a crime, much less convicted of anything," Edwards continued, adding, "Still, one dumb comment about knowing where the doctor and his attorney live may cause him to lose his Second Amendment rights for the rest of his life."
As the Asbury Park Press noted, the Conti case serves as a test for New Jersey's red flag law, which was signed into law in September. Another hearing for Conti has been scheduled for Dec. 12.